Generally during warmer months we all have various companies work on our homes. From weekly mowing to window washing, roofing, siding, landscaping, etc. yet Insurance is a topic that candidly never gets discussed. We are more concerned with defining the work, finding a contractor, and getting them to start work. Insurance doesn’t take a backseat; it doesn’t take any seat. It gets ignored. But, we want you to think about it because it can help you avoid financial disaster. Here is how to approach insurance because in most cases, companies are NOT required to carry insurance, other than vehicle insurance. When hiring a contractor for ANYTHING, request that their agent sends you a certificate of insurance addressed to however title is held in the house. For example, most of us hold title in our house in our names: John and Irene Smith. Or John Smith and Irene Smith. But some of us hold title in a trust, like Smith Trust #123456. Just request that the certificate of insurance be addressed to how you hold title. Your monthly mortgage statement should be a good indicator of how your title lists ownership.
Here are some guidelines for what the certificate of insurance should indicate. It is typically a one page document showing the name and address of the contractor, its insurance carrier, and its insurance agent. Contractors are very used to being asked for these so don’t feel squeamish about requesting it. The certificate needs to show vehicle insurance (sometimes labeled as inland marine), General Liability, and Workmen’s Compensation Insurance. Next to each of these the policy number will be listed and the effective dates, much like how your car insurance card shows.
Understand this: YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THE CONTRACTOR CARRIES WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION INSURANCE. The less insurance a contractor carries the more you could get financially hurt if; God forbid, someone gets hurt while working on your home – or claims they were hurt working on your home.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission offers an easy to use online service that will verify if a contractor has Workmen’s Compensation Insurance in Illinois. Go to:
Click on the web address above. Then click on Employer Insurance Coverage Search on the right side of the page and follow the rest of the prompts.