General Contractor Insurance Requirements: Everything You Need To Know


Bryan Huynh

- Updated February 21, 2024

General Contractor Insurance Requirements: Everything You Need To Know

As a contractor, you understand the inherent risks associated with your job. From on-site accidents to property damage and potential lawsuits, numerous pitfalls can jeopardize your business. This is where contractor insurance becomes a necessity.

Contractor insurance provides essential protection for your business, offering peace of mind in the face of unforeseen circumstances. It helps cover expenses related to property damage, medical costs for job-related injuries, and even shields you from costly legal disputes. Without proper business insurance, your venture could be vulnerable to financial ruin.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into everything you need to know about contractor insurance, including its coverage and how to select the right policy for your specific business needs. If you're a contractor seeking to safeguard your business and mitigate risks, continue reading to make informed decisions and protect your valuable assets.


General Contractor Insurance Requirements

If you're a general contractor, understanding the insurance requirements is crucial. It's worth noting that these requirements can vary by state, making it essential to research and familiarize yourself with your state's specific laws and regulations. By doing so, you can ensure compliance and make informed decisions regarding your insurance coverage. Stay informed about the insurance obligations that apply to you as a general contractor, and be prepared to meet the necessary requirements according to your state's guidelines.

Now, onto the big question -- is insurance required for general contractors? The short answer is: it depends. Some states require contractors to have insurance, while others do not. But even if the law doesn’t require it, having insurance is still a good idea to protect your business from potential risks and damages.

So, what kind of insurance do you need as a general contractor? There are a few basic types of insurance that are typically required or recommended for contractors:

General Liability Insurance: Having this particular type of insurance coverage can provide essential protection against financial loss in the event that you are held accountable for property damage or bodily injury that transpires during your work. In most cases, it is highly recommended, if not mandated by state law, to obtain this insurance. By securing this coverage, you can safeguard your business, mitigate potential liabilities, and ensure financial stability in case of unforeseen incidents. Don't overlook the importance of this insurance and the peace of mind it can bring to your professional endeavors.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance: This specific insurance type provides coverage for medical expenses and lost wages for employees who sustain job-related injuries. It's important to note that the requirement for workers' compensation insurance may vary depending on the state, with some states mandating it for all businesses, including contractors. By understanding the regulations applicable to your state, you can ensure compliance and protect both your employees and your business from potential financial risks. Prioritize the well-being of your workforce and mitigate liabilities by obtaining the necessary workers' compensation insurance tailored to your specific business needs.

Commercial Auto Insurance: When utilizing vehicles for your business operations, it is highly likely that you will require commercial auto insurance to provide protection for your vehicles as well as to address any potential liability arising on the road. Safeguard your business assets and ensure comprehensive coverage by obtaining the necessary commercial auto insurance tailored to your specific needs. Don't overlook the importance of this insurance in mitigating risks and promoting the smooth operation of your business. Obtain commercial auto insurance today to protect your vehicles and minimize potential liabilities while on the road.

How can you determine what insurance requirements your state has for general contractors? A good start is checking with your state’s Department of Insurance. They should be able to provide you with information on the specific insurance requirements for contractors in your state. You can also speak with an insurance agent specializing in contractor insurance to help you navigate the requirements and find the right coverage for your business.

Why You Should Purchase Insurance Even If It’s Not Required

Insurance is a crucial aspect of any business, but it’s vital for those in the contractor industry. The reason is that this line of work comes with inherent risks that could lead to property damage, bodily injury, or even legal action.

One of the biggest risks for contractors is the potential for injury on the job site. Construction work often involves heavy equipment, sharp tools, and working at heights, which can lead to severe injuries if proper safety measures aren’t taken. Suppose you or one of your employees gets injured on the job. In that case, workers’ compensation insurance can help cover medical expenses and lost wages, which can otherwise be a significant financial burden.

Another risk to consider is the potential for property damage. Accidents can happen, and if you cause damage to a client’s property or neighboring property, you could be held liable for the cost of repairs. Without insurance, this could mean significant out-of-pocket expenses that could jeopardize your business financially.

Along with the property damage and injury risks, legal action is possible if a client or other party feels your work has wronged them. If you’re found liable, this could lead to costly legal fees and damages. General liability insurance can help protect you in these situations, covering legal expenses and potential damages awarded to the plaintiff.

Overall, the contractor industry can be risky, and having insurance is essential to protect yourself, your employees, and your business. Without proper coverage, you could jeopardize your livelihood and financial future. So, while insurance may seem like an added expense, it’s a small price for the peace of mind and security that comes with being adequately insured.


What Does Insurance Actually Cover?

Basic policies usually cover a range of general liabilities, including:

Bodily injury: This covers any damage that happens to an employee, client, or third party either on your business premises or on a client’s property while you’re providing a service. For example, if a client trips over some equipment while you’re working on a job.

Medical payments: This covers medical bills that arise as a result of injury claims. For example, if a client requires surgery due to an injury that occurred on a property you were working on.

Property damage: This covers any damage that happens to your client’s property or to that of a third party while you’re providing a service. For example, if you accidentally damage the floor while working on some cabinets.

Advertising liability: This type of coverage kicks in if a business or third party suffers financial damages due to a false advertisement. If someone sues you for libel, slander, or defamation because of something you said in an ad, this coverage can help protect you. For example, if you make a false statement about a competitor in a commercial.

Your specific coverage will depend on your chosen policy and declared limits. So, reviewing your policy carefully is crucial to understand what is and isn’t covered. And if you have any gaps in your coverage, specialized insurance can help fill those in.

Tips When Shopping for General Contractor Insurance

When shopping for insurance as a contractor, it’s essential to tailor your coverage to the specific risks associated with your type of contracting work. As a general contractor, your insurance needs may differ from those of an electrician or a plumber. Once you’ve identified your specific risks, you can search for policies that cover those risks.

It’s also essential to compare policies from multiple insurance providers to find the best coverage at the most reasonable rate. Look for providers specializing in contractor insurance, as they will be familiar with the unique needs of your business.

When deciding on the type and level of coverage you require, general liability insurance is a must for most contractors. Still, you may also need other types of coverage, such as workers’ compensation, commercial auto insurance, and professional liability insurance. Ensure you comprehend what each policy covers and how much coverage you need.

Pay attention to the policy details and exclusions and read the fine print to ensure you understand what is and isn’t covered. Before purchasing a policy, make sure to ask any questions you have.

To find insurance providers, search online for contractor insurance providers, or work with a licensed insurance broker specializing in contractor insurance. Your industry association or trade organization may also provide recommendations. Check with your state’s licensing board to determine if there are any specific insurance requirements for contractors in your area.

Union Impact on Insurance Coverage

Do unions matter for general contractors? It depends on the union and its collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the contractors. Some unions may have a say in the insurance coverage that general contractors need for their workers. For instance, a union representing construction workers may negotiate with contractors to provide health, disability, or life insurance benefits for their members.

However, in most cases, it’s the general contractor’s responsibility to obtain insurance coverage, and the union may only require proof of such coverage as part of the CBA. The union won’t typically have a direct hand in choosing or purchasing insurance policies for the contractor.

It’s worth noting that some unions may offer group insurance plans or other insurance programs as a perk of being a member. But these programs may not cater specifically to general contractors and may not cover all the risks associated with contracting work.


Cost of General Contractor Insurance

Wondering how much you’ll need to shell out for general contractor insurance? On average, it’s around $90 per month or $1,090 per year for policies with $1 million limits that cover third-party injuries and damages. But remember that the cost can vary greatly depending on the services you offer, the coverage you need, your business equipment and property, your location, revenue, claims history, number of employees, and vehicles operated.

Best General Contractor Insurance Companies

Keep in mind that determining the "best" insurance is subjective and depends on your specific needs and priorities. To assist you in making an informed decision, here are two recommended top choices for your consideration:

Next Insurance

Next is a great insurance company for general contractors for several reasons. They offer low premiums, making liability coverage accessible to even the most cash-strapped independent contractors. For instance, professional liability insurance can cost as little as $220 per year, and some low-risk independent contractors can get general liability for as low as $11 per month. In addition, Next has an instant quote and online application process, making it easy for contractors to get coverage quickly.

Another significant advantage of using Next for general contractor insurance is their live certificate of insurance, which you can easily update with additional insureds and share instantly from anywhere. This feature saves you time and hassle, as you don’t have to wait for a paper certificate to arrive in the mail.

Although Next offers fewer endorsements than other insurance companies, they make up for it with excellent pricing for liability insurance. The company provides a 10% discount for bundling two policies and offers other discounts that can help contractors save up to 25% on their premiums.

Overall, Next is an excellent option for general contractor insurance, thanks to their low premiums, same-day coverage, and live certificate of insurance. They even have an A- (Excellent) financial strength rating from AM Best and had fewer complaints with the NAIC over two years based on the company’s size.

Biberk Insurance

Biberk is an insurance company under the Berkshire Hathaway Group, which means that it has the financial strength to cover any claims you may have. It has been rated A++ (Superior) for financial strength by AM Best, which gives peace of mind knowing you’re covered in case of any incidents.

Biberk offers affordable pricing, with professional liability policies starting at around $300 annually. It also provides an easy and quick application process for instant coverage with just a few simple questions. Many customers have given excellent reviews of the company on third-party sites, showing that their service is highly regarded.

You can choose from various policies, including professional liability, general liability, and cyber liability insurance. If you have business premises, you can tailor a business owner’s policy to fit your needs. The company also offers dozens of endorsements for customization.

While Biberk makes it simple to access your certificate of insurance, it’s important to note that adding an insured can result in additional premiums. Some other insurance companies allow you to add unlimited insureds for free.


Protect Your Business with General Contractor Insurance: It’s Worth the Investment

Investing in general contractor insurance is like having a safety net for your business. You never know when something unexpected might happen, and having insurance can save you from financial ruin.

A good insurance policy can cover your bases and help you avoid costly legal battles, including bodily injury, property damage, or advertising liability.

Companies like Next and Biberk offer affordable rates and quick coverage, making it easier than ever to protect your livelihood. So don’t wait until it’s too late - get covered and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your business is safe. After all, accidents happen, but with the right insurance, you can keep them from becoming disasters.

About The Author

Bryan Huynh

Bryan Huynh

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh is a dedicated Product Tester & Writer. Just as insurance has your back, Bryan works to review and inform you about the wide range of insurance products available, ranging from business, auto, health, home, pet, to life insurance.

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