Having a contractors general liability checklist handy will make the process of obtaining insurance much easier. Your agent or broker may seem to be asking you endless questions that you don't think have anything to do with obtaining insurance, but it is needless nonetheless in order to issue you a policy. By having a checklist with you while on the phone or in the office, the process will be as painless as possible.
Contractors General Liability Checklist
You are more than likely to be asked the following questions, with some requiring more or less follow-up questions depending on the type of business that you run.
- Name and address of your business. Have the complete address instead of a partial address.
- Own or rent your building? You may also need to know the year the building was built, the type of construction and whether there is any fire safety devises installed, such as a sprinkler system.
- Your current or past business insurance company. It's helpful to know the past or current company name, contact information and policy number. If you currently have insurance, knowing your policy limits and deductibles will allow you to obtain an accurate comparison premium.
- How is your business structured? Usually the answer is sole proprietor, partnership or corporation.
- If your business is a partnership, you will need to know all of the personal contact information for each partner. This includes knowing his or her social security number and birthday.
- How many years or months your business has been operating.
- If a partnership, how many years of experience working in the business each partner has.
- Your Federal Tax ID number (or social security number if you don't have a Tax ID).
- The nature of your business. Be able to describe what your business does, where the work is typically performed, and what hazards are usually involved.
- Past Insurance losses. This is only your business losses, not your personal losses. Be able to describe what happened, who was at fault and how much was paid out by the insurance company.
Having all of this information available will give you a comprehensive contractors general liability checklist.
Why You Need Liability Insurance
Besides being smart business to protect yourself again significant losses, you will also need liability insurance in order to be hired by the customer. You will likely be able to make a bid for the job before you have insurance, but you won't be able to work until you have insurance. The delay could cost you money or even cost you the bid.
Shop Around for Companies and Agents
While you probably know to shop around for insurance companies to obtain the best quote or the best claims service, you should also interview several agents before settling on one. Most often you'll have more direct interaction with the agent rather than the insurance company, so take as much care choosing an agent as you do a company.
Also, most of the time before you can start working; you will have to provide an insurance certificate that proves you have valid insurance. This must be an original certificate rather than a copy.
Your agent will be responsible for providing you with the certificate instead of the insurance company. If your agent is slow to issue you a certificate, it will delay your ability to start working and will make you look bad in front of your client or customer. Ask your agent how quickly he or she will be able to provide you with a certificate.