What is contractors insurance?
Being a contractor means dealing with a host of potential hazards. Contractors must navigate risks related to workplace mistakes, equipment theft, car accidents and more. One of the most effective ways that California contractors might mitigate risks such as these is by purchasing contractors insurance.
Contractors insurance policies are package commercial policies designed for businesses and professionals in the construction industry or trades. Policies offer a variety of customizable coverages.
Which California businesses should have contractor insurance?
Contractor insurance is a good option for most contractors in California, and also for many tradespeople. Both general and specialized contractors may want to consider this type of policy.
Some examples of different contractors and tradespeople that commonly purchase these types of policies include the following:
- General contractors and developers
- New construction teams
- Renovation crews
- Demolition crews
- HVAC techs, electricians and plumbers
- Roofers, carpenters and stonemasons
- Landscape architecture experts
While many of these businesses could benefit from a contractor’s policy, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all policy that will address everyone’s coverage needs. An insurance agent with a background in contractors liability insurance and associated coverages can assist in finding a contractors policy that provides the best protection for your specific work.
What insurance coverages are available to contractors?
A variety of protections are available within contractor policies. Some common coverages often included within policies are:
- General Liability Coverage: Might cover everyday accidents causing harm to a third party, potentially including incidents at the contractor’s premises, a customer location or a job site.
- Commercial Umbrella Coverage: Might cover extended liability risks, where the associated legal costs and settlement exceed another liability coverage’s limits. May supplement one or more contractor liability insurance protections.
- Commercial Property Coverage: Might cover tools, equipment, supplies, fixtures, furniture and electronics stored at a contractor’s location. Usually also covers the facility itself if owned by the contractor.
- Inland Marine Coverage: Might cover tools, equipment and supplies while they’re taken to and from customer locations/job sites.
- Contractors Equipment Coverage: Might cover tools, equipment and supplies while they’re at customer locations/job sites.
- Equipment Breakdown Coverage: Might cover unforeseen breakdowns of essential equipment, which requires immediate repair for a contractor to continue working.
Contractors liability insurance coverages, such as general liability and commercial umbrella, typically cover legal costs and settlements associated with any covered claims. Payments are normally made when a covered claim is filed, and before a lawsuit is ultimately ruled on. This better allows contractors to secure legal assistance for their defense against the lawsuit.
A specialized insurance agent can provide more detailed information about various contractors liability insurance coverages and these other protections.
What type of commercial auto coverage should contractors get?
In addition to the coverages mentioned, most contractors also need some form of commercial auto coverage for their work vehicles. Contractors may get any of several different auto coverage solutions:
- Personal Auto Policy: Typically used to insure self-employed contractors’ vehicles that are used for both personal and work driving. While this option is only suitable in limited cases, like when a self-employed contractor has a single vehicle, it’s often the most affordable solution.
- Commercial Auto Policy: Typically used to insure one or two smaller vehicles, such as work vans, pickup trucks or duallys. Normally only for vehicles that are owned and registered by the business (as opposed to personal vehicles owned by the contractor themselves).
- Commercial Truck Policy: Typically used to insure larger trucks, such as box trucks, lowboys, concrete mixers, dump trucks, tractor-trailers and similar. Again, these trucks are normally owned by the business.
- Commercial Fleet Policy: Typically used for insuring five or more commercial vehicles, often regardless of the vehicle’s size. Often the most cost-effective way for larger businesses to insure their many vehicles.
- Hired and Non-Owned Policy: Typically used to insure vehicles that aren’t owned by the business, such as employees’ vehicles or rented ones. Generally only provides liability insurance for the vehicles, essentially being a contractors liability insurance coverage for when non-owned vehicles are used. Employees tend to be responsible for insuring their vehicles against damage still.
How can California contractors get contractors insurance policies?
If you’re a California contractor seeking the right contractors insurance policy for yourself or your business, get in touch with the independent insurance agents at Heffernan Walton Insurance. Our dedicated agents will work closely with you to find a policy that gives your business the robust protections it needs.