General contractors call the shots in most construction projects, taking the lead in all important operations including coordinating subcontractors, supervising job sites, and many other responsibilities to ensure projects stay on time and within budget. The many risks involved with leading these projects make contractors insurance essential to protect the business against losses that may result from a lawsuit.
One of the common misconceptions of contractors insurance is that it only applies to general contractors. But subcontractors such as carpenters, roofers, landscapers, masons, electricians, plumbers, and other trades are all liable as well. Since they are often involved in complex business relationships, contractors need to be able to rely on an insurance company that has their best interests in mind.
Most contractors understand the common risks of construction projects, such as injury to subcontractors, not being paid on time, not adhering to timeframe agreements, and other risks that should be considered when drafting the general construction agreement. A contractor's insurance policy may include provisions for issues such as negligence and workplace safety.
Speaking of contracts, all contractors should carefully read every contract and even ask their attorney to review the agreement before they sign on the dotted line. Depending on the size and length of the project, certain clauses can hold hidden fees and liabilities for which the contractor is unclear. This oversight can ultimately result in a situation that isn't covered by contractors insurance and therefore becomes out-of-pocket costs that can seriously damage a business.
Whether you're a contractor or subcontractor researching business insurance, coverage typically involves general liability, commercial automobiles, workers compensation, builder's risk, tools and equipment, bonds commercial umbrella, and employee benefits.
Remember to keep the following risks in mind when you speak with your contractor's insurance company:
• Defective products: As a general contractor, you're responsible for all of the work performed by your subcontractors. So, what if, for example, your electrical subcontractor installs a kitchen light that catches fire and burns part of the ceiling? The manufacturer is ultimately responsible, but both you and the electrician will also likely be included in a costly lawsuit.
• Construction contracts: Everyone enters into a contract with the best intentions. But when things go wrong, fingers start pointing. As a contractor, you should make sure that the contract is reviewed by a lawyer to make sure your business has the right insurance for each and every job.
• Litigation costs: Whether you're a sole proprietor performing general remodeling, a specialty tradesman or anyone in between, you need to protect yourself from litigation by having a policy with an insurance company that has your best interests in mind.
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