Hiring a contractor to replace your roof, seal your driveway, remodel your kitchen or cut down some trees can be a bigger decision than you realize. The Murray Group wants to provide you with some tips on choosing a contractor so that you get the best quality work you can and there are no additional, unanticipated costs due to uncovered claims.
Unfortunately, many home owners find out after a loss that it can be costly to hire uninsured contractors, like a roofer or carpenter. It is incredibly important to make sure that your hired contractor provide proof of general liability and workers compensation insurance. The contractor’s general liability insurance will provide coverage for your property during the course of work and possibly after the work is done. Workers compensation insurance would cover your contractor’s injuries.
Let’s look at two scenarios. First, a roofer replaces your roof but the roof leaks six months after replacement because the roof replacement was not done correctly. The leak then causes some damage to your attic, which results in $10,000 of work to fix the damage. Is this covered by your NY homeowners insurance? The answer is that it probably will be if you have a well written NY homeowners insurance policy. But your insurance company will want to go after the contractor who did the original work and seek indemnification. This is great for you if your contractor had insurance because it will improve your loss history and potentially minimize any premium increases due to claim payments.
In our second scenario, a roofer falls off of your roof and is seriously injured. If he has workers compensation insurance, his injuries will most likely be paid for by that insurance policy. If he does not have workers compensation insurance, his injury attorney will very likely come after you to pay for the injuries. Your homeowners policy will pay if your negligence caused the fall, but it won’t if you were not negligent.
Here are some additional tips from Travelers Insurance, a company that we partner with for several of our NY homeowners:
- If you are hiring a contractor to repair damage already done, use your claim adjuster’s estimate as a benchmark for the cost of the project.
- Consider hiring local contractors whenever possible. If there is a problem with the completed work, it will be much easier to deal with someone who is local.
- Research your contractor’s reputation and service record. You can do this by contacting the Better Business Bureau.
- Don’t be pressured into making an immediate decision. Take your time and do your research.
- Make sure to have a comprehensive contract before work begins.
- Ask your insurance agent to double check the certificate of insurance that your contractor gives you. Sadly, some contractors have been known to provide false proof of insurance.
- Keep a job file.
At The Murray Group, we don’t provide our partners with just a NY homeowners insurance policy. We go beyond insurance as part of our trademarked LiveSECURE 365 process to educate our partners on issues like this. We request that you call us if you are hiring a contractor so we can provide you with the best advice possible. And, we will verify your certificate of insurance. If you would like to speak with one of our risk advisers on this topic, please call us at (518) 456-6688.
Live Secure 365,
VP, Risk Consultant
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