Plumbing Insurance Policy Information
Plumbing Insurance. Plumbing is a messy profession, but it becomes messier still if you are working as a plumber and find yourself on the receiving end of a liability claim. For this reason, all plumbers, including small, sole proprietors working independently, need plumbing insurance. If you are a plumber, septic installer, pipe fitter or even a general contractor who works with other professionals to provide plumbing services, you are putting yourself, your business, and your assets at risk when you work uninsured.
Plumbing contractors install, service, repair, and replace piping and fixtures that connect to water mains or wells, gas utilities, sewers, appliances, sprinklers, and irrigation systems. Plumbers may offer services to the general public, or specialize in residential or commercial work, new construction or remodeling.
Plumbing operations involve cutting metal or plastic (PVC) piping to length and assembling it by means of threaded couplings, adhesives, or by soldering, brazing or welding. Some plumbing contractors provide retail sales of hardware and appliances, and offer remodeling services for kitchen and bathrooms. The contractor may offer 24 hour emergency service.
Life is uncertain, and things happen. You are putting yourself at risk for claims for damage you cause, equipment or vehicle damage, or injury to yourself and clients, among other risks. This is why you should have plumbing insurance.
Plumbing insurance protects your business from lawsuits with rates as low as $27/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Some states require specific types of insurance for contractors conducting business within their borders. This is oftentimes a condition of doing business, so check to see what licensure involves and if you are required to have particular types of insurance in order to perform your work as a plumber.
If you work as a general contractor, then you may need to purchase plumbing insurance insurance before you can work with or hire plumbers to work under you.
Sometimes property owners also require that contractors, including plumbers, show that they have insurance in force before they will hire you for a contract or job.
BOP Policies for Plumbers
There are several structures for plumbing businesses when it comes to plumbing insurance. The one that your business chooses should be based on the size of the business, the risks you face, and the amount of coverage you desire. A basic plumbing insurance policy for plumbers typically combines multiple coverage types in one, and is known as a business owner's policy, or BOP. BOP plans usually include:
- Coverage for general liability. This handles claims for damages and injuries that result from mistakes or accidents while you or your employees perform plumbing services.
- Coverage for property. This covers damage to your tools or equipment.
- Coverage for income loss. This insurance kicks in and pays if your business experiences a work stoppage, so you can stay in business and keep moving forward.
Other Coverage Types For Plumbers To Consider
These are not the only types of coverage that you need. You should also look for more extensive, broader coverage to completely ensure that you're protected from financial ruin. For instance, you might want to add:
- Commercial auto insurance. This is a type of insurance that works much like a personal auto insurance policy, but it's specially designed for commercial purposes. If you use one or more cars, trucks, vans or other vehicles in the course of business, this policy is essential. Personal auto insurance typically does not cover damages and losses incurred while you or someone else is acting in a business capacity.
- Worker's compensation insurance. This is a vital type of coverage for employees, since it pays for work-related medical costs due to injury or illness caused by the job. requires that it is purchased by employers for all employees - but owners can be excluded.
- Liability insurance. An extended liability policy sometimes called an 'umbrella' gives you even more protection beyond any coverage you already have. Always make sure you're covered by checking policy limits and going a bit beyond what you might need, just to be on the safe side.
- Additional policy endorsements. If you own a lot of machinery, equipment, and tools, then protect those with policy riders that protect the value, so you can get replacements when a vital item is stolen or becomes inoperable.
What is Covered Under Plumber's Liability Policies?
Before purchasing plumbing insurance, it is important that you review your policy and compare its coverages to your potential risks. You want to look for any gaps in your liability coverage or any policy exclusions that might leave you holding the financial bag if someone drops a lawsuit or claim in your lap.
Be sure that your policy covers:
- Damages that might be caused by you or employees when working on a new construction. This includes leaking water lines, work delays, building material damage and other potential scenarios.
- Pipe damage to existing pipes. In existing structures, replacing pipes damaged can be an expensive prospect. Be sure your policy covers you.
- Gas explosions caused by your work. If you damage a structure and cause a gas explosion, extensive damage can result. Check to be sure you're protected in the case of a claim against you.
Becoming a savvy plumber business owner means protecting what you have with the right amount of plumbing insurance and the policy limits that protect your business. Work with a licensed agent to find the best policy, the appropriate coverage, and any riders or police add-ons based on your individual needs.
Plumber's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposures at the contractor's shop or office are generally limited due to lack of public access. If there are retail sales, customers may slip, trip or fall while on the premises. Outdoor storage may present vandalism and attractive nuisance hazards.
Off-premises exposures are extensive. Plumbing work can be invasive, resulting in a high potential for property damage. The area of operation should be restricted by barriers and proper signage to protect the public from slips and falls over tools, power cords, building materials, and scrap. Plumbers can damage customers' premises when removing old plumbing and piping and installing new. Welding presents potential for burns or setting the property of others on fire if not conducted safely.
In enclosed structures, buildup of fumes from adhesives or sewer gases can result in bodily injury. Personal injury exposures include assault and battery and invasion of privacy. Background checks should be conducted for any employee who will have regular contact with customers. The use of subcontractors as well as any contractual liability exposures should be examined.
Completed operations liability exposures can occur if the plumbing or piping is not properly installed, resulting in leaks or water damage. Bacteria from leaking sewage connections can cause illness, as well as substantial property damage from hidden mold and fungus.
In larger jobs, such as sprinkler installation, accidental discharge or the failure of the system to operate properly represents a potentially catastrophic exposure from water damage or fire. If the plumber installs natural gas household appliances, poor connections can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Workers compensation exposures vary based on the size and nature of the job. Cuts, scrapes and even amputations from cutting tools may occur and become infected from contaminated materials or sewage. Back injuries, hernias, strains, sprains can result from lifting. Burns from welding operations can occur both at the yard site and job site. Welding should be conducted in well-ventilated areas to reduce the exposure to injury from fire, fumes, and vapors which can cause eye, skin, and lung irritations.
If the contractor does any excavation to connect to utilities or to install sprinklers and irrigation systems, bodily injury can result from digging and trenching. When work is done on ladders and scaffolds, there is a potential for severe injury or death from falling, being struck by falling objects, or adverse weather conditions. The absence of good maintenance of scaffolds, proper use of basic safety equipment, and strict enforcement of safety practices may indicate a morale hazard.
Property exposures may be limited to an office only or include retail sales, shop operations and a yard for storage. If the contractor constructs their own piping, the potential for fire or explosion increases due to sparks and flames produced by the welding process and storage of gas cylinders on premises. Welding involves the use of tanks of gases that must be stored and handled properly to avoid loss.
There should be basic controls such as chained storage in a cool area and the separation of welding operations either in a separate room or with flash/welding curtains away from flammables. PVC piping may release toxic fumes should a fire occur. Plastic piping typically uses adhesives that contain a flammable solvent. Handling and storage of flammables need good controls. If repair work on vehicles and equipment is done in the building, fire hazards may be much higher.
Crime exposure is primarily from employee dishonesty. Background checks, including criminal history, should be performed on all employees providing services to customers or handling money. All ordering, billing and disbursement should be handled as separate duties with reconciliations occurring regularly. Theft can be a high exposure if inventories of valuable metals, such as copper or brass, are stored.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable if the plumber offers credit to customers, computers, contractors' equipment, goods in transit, installation floater, and valuable papers and records for customers' and suppliers' information. Contractors' equipment includes employees' tools and equipment that may be rented, leased or borrowed from others for specific jobs.
The goods in transit exposure includes supplies (adhesives, caulking, welding tanks) and materials to be installed. Hazards in transit include shifting and oversized loads. Improper loading or inadequate tie down poses a serious loss potential. Oversized loads can be damaged by collision. Equipment at a job site can be damaged by drops from heights, weather damage, or by vehicles. Equipment and supplies left at job sites are subject to theft and vandalism.
Environmental impairment exposures arise from the removal, transport, and disposal of waste and old insulating materials removed from structures. As some of these materials may be contaminated with waste or include lead piping and asbestos insulation, disposal procedures must adhere to all EPA and other regulatory standards. Proper written procedures and documentation of all processes is important. Training and supervision of employees are critical.
Commercial auto exposures include the transportation of workers, equipment and materials to and from job sites. There may be transportation of hazardous waste to approved landfills. All drivers must be well trained and have valid licenses for the type of vehicle being driven. MVRs must be run on a regular basis. Random drug and alcohol testing should be conducted. Vehicles must be well maintained with records kept in a central location. Drivers may need a hazardous materials ("hazmat") endorsement to transport some waste and old insulating materials removed from structures.
Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification
- SIC CODE: 1711 Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning
- NAICS CODE: 238220 Plumbing, Heating, and Air-Conditioning Contractors
- Suggested ISO General Liability Code(s): 98482, 98483
- Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 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.