HVAC Contractor Insurance Policy Information
HVAC Contractor Insurance. Heating, ventilation & air conditioning contractors install, service, and repair air filtration and ventilation or airflow units within a building or structure, including vents, ductwork, and airshafts. Ventilation keeps interior air circulating and controls or removes moisture or unpleasant odors. While ductwork may be fabricated on site, measurements are generally taken and the ductwork is fabricated at the shop or by a third party, then returned for installation.
Contractors may also sell the units they install, or dismantle and remove outdated systems into component parts for salvage or disposal. They may install, service, and repair air conditioners. While air conditioning units are normally electric-powered, they are charged with different coolants, some of which may be quite hazardous.
While you're adept to the never-ending challenges that come along with your industry, what happens when the unexpected arises? Injuries, property damage, and malfunctioning equipment are just some of the emergencies that can happen. Unless you're prepared, these situations could end up putting you in a serious predicament. So then how can you prepare yourself for the unexpected? By carrying the right HVAC contractor insurance coverage.
HVAC contractor insurance protects your heating, ventilation & air conditioning business from lawsuits with rates as low as $37/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Is Insurance Important For HVAC Contractors?
Though you may be skilled and knowledgeable, there's no way to predict when problems will occur. You - or one of the worker's you employ - could damage a client's property; your commercial property could be damaged in a storm; a vendor could be hurt on your property, or an employee could sustain an injury. Those are just a few of the unexpected situations that could arise.
In any of these circumstances, you could be held liable. For instance, if someone is injured on your commercial property, not only would you be responsible for that person's medical bills, but if he or she filed a lawsuit against you claiming negligence, you could also be looking at costly legal fees.
With the right HVAC contractor insurance, you won't have to pay for the costs associated with an emergency situation out of your own pocket. In other words, insurance will protect you from financial devastation.
What Type Of Insurance Should HVAC Contractors Have?
There are several types of insurance policies HVAC contractors should carry, including the following:
- Commercial General Liability: At the bare minimum, an HVAC contractor should invest in a commercial general liability policy. This type of insurance safeguards you from third-party injuries, third-party property damage, installation and repair problems, and moisture damage, just to name a few things. For instance, if an employee damages a client's home or business while installing a ventilation system, you are responsible for the damages. A commercial general liability policy will cover the costs of those damages so that you don't have to end up paying for them out of your own pocket.
- Commercial Property: You should also consider carrying a commercial property insurance policy. This type of insurance covers the physical structure of your business, as well as the contents inside. For instance, if a tree crashes down on your business and damages the property, as well as equipment inside, a commercial property insurance policy will help pay the repairs to your building. It will also cover the replacement cost for the damaged equipment.
- Errors and Omissions: Also known as professional liability insurance, errors and omissions (E&O) insurance will protect you and your employees against any negligent claims that your clients may make. If you did not properly correct an issue with a cooling system and the customer's property was damaged as a result, he or she may decide to file a lawsuit against you, claiming negligence. Your professional liability policy would cover legal fees, including attorney and court fees, as well as any settlement that may be awarded.
- Workers Compensation: If you employ a staff, workers' compensation insurance is an absolute must. It covers your HVAC contracting business from liability that may be related to injuries and illnesses that affect your employees while they are working. If a piece of heavy equipment falls on a worker during the installation of a ventilation system and the employee sustained an injury, workers comp would cover the cost of medical care. It can also assist with missed wages while he or she is recovering.
How Much Does Insurance For HVAC Contractors Cost?
The cost of insurance for HVAC contractors depends on a variety of factors. The types of insurance you need, your company's location, the size of your business and the amount of coverage you require are just some of the factors that are taking into consideration when determining the cost.
HVAC Contractor's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposures at the contractor's office or shop are generally limited due to lack of public access. Retail sales increase the possibility of customers slipping, falling, or tripping. During installation at job sites, the electrical voltage must be turned off to reduce the risk of electrical burns or electrocution to others entering the area and turned back on after work stops, all while minimizing any disruption of electrical service to other homes or businesses in the vicinity.
Unprotected welding can result in bodily injury or set the property of others on fire. The contractor's employees can cause damage to the client's other property or bodily injury to members of the household, 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, cranes, or helicopters. Pressure-testing of boilers and other pressure vessels can result in explosions or fire.
Completed operations liability exposures can be severe due to improper wiring or grounding. When a heating unit malfunctions, the cause may be difficult to determine. Specialists may be required to determine whether it arose from improper operation and maintenance, faulty system design, faulty manufacture, or faulty installation. The absence of an aggressive quality control program that documents full compliance with all construction, material, and design specifications may indicate a morale hazard and make it impossible to defend against serious claims.
Hazards may increase in the absence of proper record keeping of work orders and change orders, as well as inspection and signed approval of finished work by the customer. Boiler work, LP gas units, and wood burning units have high products liability exposures. Improperly installed heating units pose potential injury to tenants and their customers within buildings due to exposure to carbon monoxide and other fumes or gases.
Environmental impairment exposures may arise if the contractor is responsible for the disposal of old insulation and the use, transportation, and disposal of fuels and related pollutants due to the potential for contaminating air, ground, or water supply. Old air conditioning equipment may contain PCBs. Proper written procedures and documentation of both the transportation and disposal process are important.
Workers compensation exposures vary based on the size and nature of the job. Both residential and commercial work involves lifting, work with hand tools, wiring, and piping. Cuts and puncture wounds from the fabrication and installation of sheet metal for ducts and vents, back injuries from lifting, such as hernias, strains, and sprains, electrical burns, slips and falls, foreign objects in the eye, and inhalation of fumes are common. Electrocution can occur from the use of high-voltage lines. Anytime work is done above ground, injury or death from falls and being struck by falling objects can occur.
Complications from the large, heavy machinery and their use, misuse, maintenance, and transport have unique hazards. Welding can cause eye damage and burns. If welding is done in confined spaces, proper ventilation and fire protection are essential to prevent injury to workers. In repair and reinstallation operations, workers may encounter lead dust or old insulation to be removed, some of which may include "friable" (easily crumbled) asbestos. Procedures must be in place to identify and handle this exposure.
Careful consideration must be given to the type of boilers, the fuel used, and the services the insured provides. Pressurized vessels present unique hazards with potentially severe losses.
Property exposures at the heating contractor's own location are generally limited to those of an office, shop, and storage of materials, equipment, and vehicles. Operations may include retail sales. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating, and air conditioning systems. If repair operations involving welding take place on premises, the exposure increases. Welding involves the use of tanks of gases that must be stored and handled properly to avoid loss.
The absence of basic controls such as chained storage in a cool area and the separation of welding from other operations may indicate a morale problem. Air conditioning and heating systems and their components may be targets for theft. Appropriate security controls should be taken including physical barriers to prevent entrance to the premises after hours and an alarm system that reports directly to a central station or the police department.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty. Background checks should be conducted prior to hiring any employee. All orders, billing, and disbursements must be handled as separate duties and annual external audits conducted. All items should be physically inventoried on a regular basis to prevent theft. Thieves may target copper cable.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable if the contractor bills customers for services, computers, contractors' tools and equipment, including ladders and scaffolding, hoists, and portable welders, goods in transit, installation floater, and valuable papers and records for clients' and suppliers' information. If large or suspended heating units are lifted by cranes to rooftops for installation or dropped into place by helicopters, the units could be damaged from drops and falls.
Since an accident may trigger both the equipment and installation coverages, as well as possible third-party liability, many contractors prefer to hire a crane or helicopter with a licensed operator. Contractors may rent, lease, or borrow equipment from others or rent, lease or loan their owned equipment to others, which presents additional exposure as the operator may be unfamiliar with the operation of the borrowed item. Goods in transit consist of tools and equipment as well as products purchased by the customer for installation at the job site.
Heating units can be of high value and susceptible to damage in transit, frequently requiring expertise in loading to prevent load shift or overturn. If units to be installed are delivered to the site in advance, the contractor will need an installation floater. Hazards to machinery, tools, or building materials left at job sites include theft, vandalism, damage from wind and weather, and damage by employees of other contractors.
Commercial auto exposures are generally limited to transporting workers, equipment, and supplies to and from job sites. If vehicles are used to deliver the heating and air conditioning units, special modifications or built-in equipment such as lifts and hoists may be required. Large heating systems may be awkward and require special handling and tie-down procedures. Drivers should be properly trained to prevent overturn and to navigate through high traffic areas.
Serious property damage or injury to employees of other contractors, passing pedestrians, or motorists can arise during loading and unloading equipment and materials. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained and the records kept in a central location.
Commercial Insurance For Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Businesses
No matter the price, carrying the right HVAC contractor insurance is a wise investment for your business. Speak to a reputable insurance broker that specializes in coverage for HVAC contractors to learn more about your options.
Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification
- SIC CODE: 1711 Plumbing, Heating, Air-Conditioning
- NAICS CODE: 238220 Plumbing, Heating, and Air-Conditioning Contractors
- Suggested ISO General Liability Code(s): 91111
- Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 5537, 5183
Description for 1711: Plumbing, Heating and Air-Conditioning
Division C: Construction | Major Group 17: Construction Special Trade Contractors| Industry Group 171: Plumbing, Heating And Air-conditioning
1711 Plumbing, Heating and Air-Conditioning: Special trade contractors primarily engaged in plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, and similar work. Sheet metal work performed by plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors in conjunction with the installation of plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning equipment is included here, but roofing and sheet metal work contractors are classified in Industry 1761. Special trade contractors primarily engaged in electrical work are classified in Industry 1731.
- Air system balancing and testing-contractors
- Air-conditioning, with or without sheet metal work-contractors
- Boiler erection and installation-contractors
- Drainage system installation, cesspool and septic tank-contractors
- Dry well construction, cesspool-contractors
- Fuel oil burner installation and servicing-contractors
- Furnace repair-contractors
- Gas line hookup-contractors
- Heating equipment installation-contractors
- Heating, with or without sheet metal work-contractors
- Lawn sprinkler system installation-contractors
- Mechanical contractors
- Piping, plumbing-contractors
- Plumbing and heating-contractors
- Plumbing repair-contractors
- Plumbing, with or without sheet metal work-contractors
- Refrigeration and freezer work-contractors
- Sewer hookups and connections for buildings-contractors
- Sheet metal work combined with heating
- Solar heating apparatus-contractors
- Sprinkler system installation-contractors
- Steam fitting-contractors
- Sump pump installation and servicing-contractors
- Ventilating work, with or without sheet metal work-contractors
- Water pump installation and servicing-contractors
- Water system balancing and testing-contractors
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
- Blacksmith & Metal Workers
- Builders Risk
- Building Cleaning & Maintenance Services
- Cable And Satellite TV Installer
- Chimney Sweep
- Contractor Liability
- Curtain Cleaners
- Door And Window Installers
- Dryer Vent Cleaning
- Drywall Contractor
- Electrical Contractors
- Environmental Remediation Contractors
- Fence Installation
- Fire Sprinkler Contractors
- Fire & Water Restoration Contractors
- Flooring Contractor
- Garage Door Installer And Repair
- Glass Contractor
- Glazier Insurance
- House Cleaning
- HVAC Contractor
- Insulation Contractor
- Janitorial Cleaning Services
- Lawn Care
- Paperhanging Contractors
- Plastering And Stucco Contractor
- Pressure Washing Contractors
- Propane And Fuel Dealers
- Rug, Upholstery & Carpet Cleaning
- Sandblasting Contractors
- Security Alarm
- Septic Tank Cleaning
- Siding Contractor
- Sign Installation & Repair
- Solar Panel Installers
- Snow Plow
- Stone And Tile Installer
- Swimming Pool Contractor
- Tree Surgeon
- Tree Trimming
- Tank Cleaners
- Upholstery Shop
- Waste Haulers & Garbage Collection
- Water Well Drilling
- Welding Contractor
- Wildlife & Pest Control
- Window Cleaning
A contractor that 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.
Physical damage coverage for tools, supplies and equipment, both on and off the contractor's premises, is a concern. Liability exposures at the premises of the contractor, and at the premises of the contractor's customer, must be properly addressed along with completed operations. Business insurance is very important as is workers compensation insurance protection for employees.
Contractors may work under a general contractor as a subcontractor in larger construction projects - like a new commercial site or residential subdivision. They can work on smaller projects directly with a home owner, usually specializing in renovations or remodels.
In business insurance speak, often called 'artisan contractors' or 'casual contractors', they are involved in many aspects of construction and contracting work – and include various trades and skills. Carpenters, painters, plumbers, electricians, roofers, tree trimmers, landscaping are just a few examples. They may do roofing, fencing, drywall, tile work and many other trades that involve skilled work with tools at the customer's premises.
An artisan contractor performs a single trade or job, and each has its own specialized liability needs with its own exposures to risk and accidents. Contractors liability insurance can offer coverage for bodily injury, property damage, advertising injury and medical payments.
Most artisan contractors should have commercial general liability at the very least, but many need broader coverages - like an umbrella to increase their limits of liability, inland marine policy to protect their tools, workers compensation if they have employees, and even commercial auto if they use vehicles for business purposes.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Contractors' Equipment and Tools, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Umbrella Liability, Automobile Liability and Physical Damage, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Business Income with Extra Expense, Earthquake, Flood, Leasehold Interest, Real Property Legal Liability, Accounts Receivable, Builders Risk, Computers, Goods in Transit, Installation Floater, Valuable Papers and Records, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practicesand Stop Gap Liability.