Frequently Asked Questions About
Commercial General Liability Insurance
How much does commercial insurance cost?
Costs can vary widely based on industry and are also determined by zip code and often payroll and/or gross sales. Request a free quote to get an exact number.
What kind of business insurance do I need?
Most business owners need General Liability Insurance at the very least. If you have any non-owner employees, you will need workers compensation insurance too.
What is a Certificate of Insurance?
A Certificate of Insurance is proof of coverage. It lists the type and amount of liability coverage you have and other policy information when a third party requests it.
Is business insurance tax deductible?
Yes. you can deduct the cost of commercial insurance premiums. The IRS considers insurance a cost of doing business as long it benefits the business & serves a business purpose.
Construction Insurance. Building contractors manage the construction of a new building or renovation to an existing building. Building contractors generally specialize in constructing single family homes or commercial buildings such as factories, offices, restaurants, or stadiums. Most have a set group of permanent employees, and then subcontract the remaining tasks to specialty subcontractors.
While firms whose employees do no actual construction work are commonly called "paper" contractors, they generally act as "prime" contractors for such tasks as framing carpentry, structural masonry, or metal building erection. Mechanical tasks such as plumbing, heating, and electrical are usually completed by subcontractors.
Once the land has been purchased and the design or architectural work has been done, the building contractor oversees the project from the site or land preparation, through excavation and laying of the foundation, to the completion of the building, including the interior finish.
Typically, the building contractor first turns the architect's design into specifications for work and materials, setting quality standards, scheduling the phases of the project, and dictating insurance requirements for the project as a whole and for the subcontractors. The contractor then gets bids (solicits competitive proposals) from potential subcontractors and suppliers. Together with the customer (the project owner), the building contractor awards the bids to the successful subcontractors.
The building contractor is also responsible for complying with all local and state ordinances, codes and zoning requirements, including purchasing the necessary permits and obtaining the necessary surety bonds.
With the right mix of construction insurance coverage types in place, you can reduce financial fallout from injuries on the jobsite, damage to equipment, and losses that result from other covered perils.
Construction insurance protects your contracting business from legal liability with rates as low as $27/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Risks Faced by Construction Companies
Construction companies and independent homebuilders, carpenters, and others working in the industry are under constant exposure to risks that can leave them financially liable for damages.
Some of the most common types of risks include property damage to the company's equipment or property, loss of income due to events beyond the company's control, injuries and illnesses experienced by employees, and liability risks when injuries or property damage causes loss for clients or other third parties.
The Role of Construction Insurance
Construction insurance is a type of insurance that can be the difference between losing money and turning a profit when you take on a construction job. It is vital that you make sure that you have quality construction insurance and adequate coverage before taking on work. The coverage that you select depends on a variety of factors, which include the company size, the number of employees you have working for you, and the specific type of construction work that your company performs.
Some of the types of construction insurance coverage you might consider include:
- General liability coverage. This type of coverage reduces financial risks for your construction business if you are deemed responsible for bodily harm or property harm to another person. General liability is usually required for all worker's in the construction industry in order to obtain a construction or contractor's license or permit.
- Builder's risk coverage. This is liability construction coverage for on-site damages that might occur on a job site that you are working on. Although the coverage provided varies by company, this policy may also provide coverage for construction materials that are on the site, prior to their installation. Limits for the construction insurance policy are based on the value of the completed structure, in most cases.
- Professional liability coverage. If you are a contractor who provides consultation, advice, or design work as part of the services rendered, then professional liability coverage can protect you from any allegation of wrongdoing if the advice or consultation goes south. Also referred to by the name 'errors and omissions' coverage, this insurance type covers any claims against you if your advice, design, so on, causes the recipient of your services a loss.
- Income loss coverage. If you experience a business interruption that results in loss of income due to a covered peril, this type of coverage can provide monetary help for up to a year.
- Worker's compensation. requires this valuable coverage if you have employees. This provides coverage for employee losses due to accident, injury, illness, or death. It can also pay medical costs.
- Commercial auto coverage. If you use a vehicle in the course of doing business in, then that vehicle should have auto coverage specially designed for commercial use. This coverage pays for losses by both you and anyone involved in an accident that you or your employees cause.
Business Owner's Policies for Construction Businesses
A BOP, or business owner's policy, is often an appropriate type of construction insurance coverage. If you have a small business, this policy, which combines multiple coverages, may be right for you. To qualify, you should generate $5 million or less in revenue annually and hire no more than 100 employees. These construction insurance policies generally provide:
- General liability coverage to pay up to $1 million in losses due to injuries or damages incurred by a third party.
- Medical payments for injuries to people on your property.
- Property coverage for damage to your business' property and equipment.
- Business income loss for business interruption and work stoppage.
- Equipment breakdown coverage for mechanical breakdowns.
- Rental vehicle insurance for losses to a rented or borrowed vehicle.
Cost of Construction Insurance
A variety of factors determine the cost of your construction insurance premiums. The type of work that you do, the amount of work that you do, the number of employees you have, and your history of claims all factor into your costs. If you construct high-value buildings or other structures or you develop land from the ground up, your costs may be increased. In some cases, you will pay a particular percentage of your expected sales as a premium, with monthly payments to follow.
Construction Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposures at the contractor's premises are usually limited due to lack of public access. Equipment or materials provided by subcontractors are not stored at the building contractor's office location. At the job site, the building contractor is ultimately responsible for all injuries or property damage that results from construction operations, including those that are due to the acts or omissions of subcontractors.
Lack of adequate communication between the different subcontractors can cause hazardous working conditions, especially if blasting or similar hazardous operations take place. Heavy machinery used for excavation may cut power lines, disrupting service to other homes or businesses in the vicinity. Welding presents potential for burns or setting the property of others on fire if not conducted safely.
The contractor's employees can cause damage to the client's other property or bodily injury to members of the public or employees of other contractors. Tools, power cords, and scrap all pose trip hazards even when not in use. If there is work at heights, falling tools, or supplies may cause damage and injury if dropped from ladders, scaffolding, or cranes. Failure to protect equipment, building materials, and property of others left at job sites from theft and vandalism may result in a subrogated loss.
Construction sites create attractive nuisance hazards, particularly to children who enjoy climbing and vandals after operations have ceased for the day and on weekends. Safety barriers such as perimeter fencing should be used to control access to the jobsite.
Contractual liability exposures are very high for building contractors. While it is important to control physical hazards, the absolute key to successful performance is likely to be management of contractual language. Catastrophic financial losses and expensive litigation may arise if the building contractor fails to verify that subcontractors' certificates of insurance are accurate and the limits are adequate for both liability and workers compensation coverages.
In addition, the building contractor and project owner must be included as additional insureds on the subcontractors' policies. The specific terms of the additional insured status may play a significant role in who pays for a loss.
Completed operations exposures are high due to the injury and property damage that can result from improper interpretation of building plans, use of materials that do not meet the quality standards required by design specifications, inadequate construction techniques, or lax supervision of the acts of subcontractors. Hazards increase in the absence of proper record keeping of work orders and change orders, as well as quality control inspections and signed approval of the finished work by the customer.
Workers compensation exposures vary based on the size and nature of the job. When an executive supervisor is only reviewing and giving oversight, the exposure is clerical with some jobsite inspection. However, if actual construction work is done or supervisors remain at job sites continuously, the exposures increase to those encountered by each type of worker on the project.
Control of the jobsite is the responsibility of the building contractor, who may be held responsible for any injuries of subcontractors on the job. Verification that every subcontractor carries adequate workers compensation coverage is important.
Property exposures at the building contractor's own location are usually limited to that of an office. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating, and air conditioning systems. If the building contractor is a paper contractor, there will be no yard storage of building materials or equipment since there are no operations other than paperwork.
If the building contractor is involved in framework or masonry, lumber or bricks may be stored on site, increasing the exposure to fire, inclement weather, vandalism, and theft.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty. Background checks should be conducted prior to hiring any employee. All ordering, billing and disbursements must be handled as separate duties and annual external audits conducted.
Surety bond exposures arise from the clients' requirement that the general contractor obtain financial guarantees for the completion of projects and payment of labor and supplies. Inability of the contractor to qualify for these bonds due to their prior experience and financial condition may indicate a moral hazard.
Inland marine exposures may include accounts receivable if the contractor bills customers for services, builders' risk, contractors' equipment, goods in transit, installation floater, and valuable papers and records for project plans, clients', subcontractors', and suppliers' information. Builders' Risk is an important coverage for many building contractors.
Besides obtaining coverage for themselves, they may need to coordinate their subcontractors' coverages and terms so limits are adequate for the overall project. Subcontractors generally have their own equipment with independent coverage. The building contractor may arrange for the lease of larger equipment, such as cranes, for subcontractors to use, either with or without operators.
The contractual agreements between the building contractor and the rental firms determine who is responsible for any damage to the rented equipment. If the building contractor performs tasks at the job site, equipment may be subject to water hazards, overturn, drop, and fall from heights, or being struck by other vehicles. Materials and equipment left at job sites may be subject to theft and vandalism loss unless proper controls are in place. Copies of building plans should be kept at an offsite location for easier restoration.
Commercial auto exposures may be limited to private passenger only if executive supervisors simply travel from site to site. If the building contractor is also handling part of the construction, workers, equipment, and supplies may be transported to and from job sites.
Vehicles may have special modifications or built-in equipment such as lifts and hoists. Large materials such as air conditioners may be awkward and require special handling and tie-down procedures. Shifting of loads could result in overturn. If vehicles are provided to employees, there should be written procedures regarding personal use by employees and their family members. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained and the records kept in a central location.
Finding the Right Policy for Your Needs
Finding the right construction insurance is easiest when you work with a professional insurance agent who understands the construction industry. An agent who works with general contractors, heavy contractors, home-improvement companies, and specialized contractors such as electricians, plumbers, framers, carpenters, or masons is most adept to understanding your needs and helping tailor a policy for your needs. The agent can also help you compare quotes from multiple companies to get the right policy for your budget, based on the requirements you have and the individual perils that your business faces during day-to-day operation.
Small Business Economic Data & Insurance Regulations
Perhaps you have the next great idea for a product or service that you know will appeal to your local area. Maybe you want to contribute to the economic growth of your community. Whatever the reason is, if you're thinking about starting a small business, it's important to understand pertinent information relating to small businesses in the United States; namely economic information and insurance regulations. After all, if you want your small business to succeed, you have to understand the economic trends organizations of a similar size in your area.
Likewise, you want to ensure that your small business is well protected with the right business insurance and that you are in compliance with the rules and regulations that pertain to commercial insurance in your region.
Read up on economic statistics and insurance information that relates to small business owners in the United States.
Small Business Economic Data In The United States
Here's a look at some information that was compiled by the Small Business Association (SBA) regarding the economic data that pertains to small businesses in the United States:
- In 2015, small businesses in the United States employed an estimated 58.9 million American workers, or 47.5 percent of the nation's private workforce.
- Largest shares = fewer than 100 employees. The small businesses that employed 100 people or less had the largest share of employment amount small businesses.
- Employment increased by nearly 2 percent. In 2018, employment amongst small businesses increased by 1.8 percent, which is an increase of 1 percent from the prior year.
- Increase in proprietors. In 2016, the number of small business proprietors increased by 2.3 percent.
- In 2015, small businesses were responsible for creating 1.9 million net jobs. Organizations that employed 20 people or less had the largest gains, as they added an estimated 1.1 million net jobs.
- There were 5.7 million loans that were value less than $100,000 issued by lenders in the United States in 2016. These loans were issued under the Community Reinvestment Act.
- Small business owners that were self-employed at the incorporated businesses that they owned reported a median income of $50,347 in 2016.
- Small business owners that were self-employed at the unincorporated businesses that they owned reported a median income of $23,060 in 2016.
Small Business Insurance Information
In the business world, there are many risks faced by company's every day. The best way that business owners can protect themselves from these perils is by carrying the right insurance coverage.
The The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight.
Commercial insurance is particularly important for small business owners, as they stand to lose a lot more. Should a situation arise - a lawsuit, property damage, theft, etc. - small business owners could end up facing serious financial turmoil.
According to the SBA, having the right insurance plan in place can help you avoid major pitfalls. Your business insurance should offer coverage for all of your assets. It should also include liability and casual coverage. The SBA recommends the following insurance plans for small business owners:
- Commercial Property Insurance: In the case of an unplanned disaster - fire, flood, vandalism, theft, etc. - this type of coverage will help you avoid paying for the damage out of your own pocket. Even if you rent the property, you should still carry commercial property insurance.
- Commercial Liability Insurance: In the event that a legal situation arises - a negligence lawsuit, for example - commercial liability coverage will provide financial protection. It will cover the cost of legal defense fees, court fees, and even moneys that may be awarded.
- Commercial Auto Insurance: If you operate a vehicle for any activities that are related to your business - transporting and/or delivering goods, or meeting with clients - commercial auto insurance is legally required for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses.
Additional Resources For Contractors & Home Improvement Insurance
Learn about small business contractor's insurance, including what it covers, how much it costs - and how commercial insurance can help protect your contracting business from lawsuits.
- Air Conditioning Systems Installation Repair
- Builders Risk
- Cable And Satellite TV Installer
- Concrete Contractors
- Contractor Liability
- Demolition Contractors
- Dryer Vent Cleaning
- Drywall Contractor
- Electrical Contractors
- Excavation Contractor
- Fence Installation
- Fire Sprinkler Contractors
- Fire & Water Restoration Contractors
- Flooring Contractor
- Framing Contractor
- Garage Door Installer And Repair
- Glass Contractor
- Glazier Insurance
- House Cleaning
- HVAC Contractor
- Janitorial Cleaning Services
- Lawn Care
- Masonry Contractor
- Plastering And Stucco Contractor
- Propane And Fuel Dealers
- Rug, Upholstery & Carpet Cleaning
- Security Alarm
- Siding Contractor
- Solar Panel Installers
- Snow Plow
- Stone And Tile Installer
- Swimming Pool Contractor
- Tree Trimming
- Upholstery Shop
- Waste Haulers & Garbage Collection
- Water Well Drilling
- Welding Contractor
- Wildlife & Pest Control
- Window Cleaning
If a contractor wants to begin or stay in business, liability coverage must be obtained for the premises or operations, off-site locations and products/completed operations exposures. These coverages may be included as a part of a businessowners policy (BOP) or purchased in a commercial general liability (CGL) policy. Owners and contractors protective liability and railroad protective liability coverages may also be required in certain cases in order for a contractor to obtain a particular job.
Many contractors do not have the usual location-specific buildings and business personal property exposures. Their business property is more mobile and, therefore, better covered with inland marine coverage forms. However, for those larger contractors that own buildings and/or maintain business inventory there are many coverage forms and choices available to them.
Contractors use their vehicles to get to and from their workplaces and jobsites. They also use vehicles to transport equipment and inventory to those locations. It is important to cover the liability of these vehicles for injury or damage they may cause, as well as to provide coverage for damage to the vehicles themselves.
Employers are required to provide coverage for injuries sustained by their employees while on the job. Contractors must comply with these requirements but some try to avoid them by hiring subcontractors. These subcontractors may actually operate and qualify as employees. The relationship between a contractor and its subcontractors must be carefully evaluated in order to determine if workers compensation coverage is still needed.
Quotes from leading small business insurance carriers including: ACE, AmTrust, Chubb, Cincinnati, CNA, Colony, Employers, Evanston, Fireman's, Foremost, Guard, Hanover, Hiscox, Liberty Mutual, LLoyd's of London, Markel, MSA, Nationwide, Penn America, Philadelphia, Prime, Progressive, Scottsdale, The Hartford, Travelers, USLI, Utica First, Western World, Zurich & others.