With DIY products and ambitious projects widely available online in posts and videos, more and more people are taking a swing at becoming a contractor in their spare time. For some, it becomes more than just a hobby. Working as a contractor may be more fulfilling for you than working a regular 9 to 5 job. Being a contractor means you’re the boss. You could own your own business, have business partners or just work solo. Being the boss means that you are on top! When you are the boss, you will have better working conditions, you set the start time of the work day, and there is no HR officer who will take notes while glaring at you. As a contractor, you’ll need insurance for your business. Good thing there is a type of insurance just for contractors! But why do you need contractors insurance? Here are 3 great reasons why you should invest in getting contractors insurance.
- Claims Protection
When you are a contractor, you are solely responsible for the area in which you do your work. If someone were to get injured within your area because of an accident or plain negligence on your part, you can expect that person to file a claim against you. This same responsibility applies to your employees if they were to cause any type of accidental or, in the worst case, intentional damage to the property area you are working within. Why do you need this protection? These types of claims could be big enough to completely shut down your business if you’re forced to pay for the damages out of pocket. To avoid the potential of disasters like this, you should consider taking a general liability insurance policy for contractors. Whatever potential financial liabilities you end up with, you can be reassured that the general liability insurance can cover them and help to keep your business from shutting down.
- Protection of Your Employees
It’s inevitable that workplace accidents happen. Hisk-risk contracting jobs like roofing are a step away from accidents happening. One wrong step while working on a roof and the accident could lead to a worker sustaining an injury. The injured employee has every right to file a claim against you since they were hurt while working on your jobsite. They can file a claim for their pain and lost wages due to recovery time. If you don’t have worker’s compensation insurance it’ll be a path of trouble. Almost all states require employers to get workers compensation insurance. This coverage is a win-win for all parties involved. Injured employees can get all the benefits that are due to them and it wouldn’t matter who is at fault for the unforeseen accident. On top of that, you will be spared from the cost and hassle of a potential lawsuit that the injured employee could have filed against you.
- Payment of Legal Costs
Here is a big one. Did you know that uninsured contractors often get hit hard by attorney’s fees, court expenses, and other legal financial expenses when some files a claim against them in court? In case of an interested party suing you in court, your contractors insurance policy should cover the legal costs that a lawsuit may entail. This gives you peace of mind when you go to work a new job with a new client.
Your workday should not be taken up with worrying about keeping your business afloat. When you have specialized insurance designed for your industry, you can keep the focus on doing your best as a contractor – as it should be.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never recover and re-open their doors after a disaster. It is in the best interest of your business to maintain both adequate insurance coverage and a disaster recovery plan so you’re prepared to bounce back when Mother Nature comes calling.
In 2019, there were 14 major weather climate disasters that totaled community losses exceeding $1 billion in the United States. This included flooding, tornado outbreaks, hail storms, droughts, wildfires, and tropical storms. If you find yourself in need of rebuilding after a similar event, it’s important to:
Stay on a short timeline.
If you’re a small business, you’ve got to communicate your closure to customers, employees, and stakeholders, then find a way to re-open within five days if you want to preserve the chance you will still be in business in a year. Penning a plan for a course of action for if your business becomes inoperational due to disaster is key. This includes a plan to protect assets and access important documents such as insurance policies, hardware inventory including serial numbers, business contracts, and employee records.
Document all damage.
Your disaster response plan should indicate which individual within the company is responsible for photographing, videotaping, and documenting physical damage to property to assist with an insurance claim.
Contact your insurance representative immediately.
A delay in communication can mean a delay in financial assistance, and a timely reopening is crucial to protecting the odds of your business making it long-term.
Take advantage of offerings from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA).
The SBA Office of Disaster Assistance offers low-interest loans for repairing or replacing real estate, inventory, machinery and equipment, and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in an event that has been declared a disaster.
Check your air quality.
Mold can grow anywhere oxygen and moisture are present. If your building hasn’t had the humidity under control for a few days, you haven’t had maintenance services, appliances haven’t been properly vented, or your roof has been leaking, you’ll want to make sure your work environment is safe for employees to return.
If necessary, move to an alternate location with access to duplicate data.
It’s more important that you continue operations than it is you wait to re-open operations at your current location. The more contact you can maintain with your customer base and employees, the better. Operating on a virtual server (also known as cloud hosting) or having access to a back-up of all company data off site can make this possible when necessary. This will allow your company data to be accessible from anywhere, rather than only at your original location.
Communicate your priorities to your employees.
First and foremost, take care of your people. You want your employees to hear that their safety is of utmost importance, whereas computers and carpet can be replaced. Keep in mind the financial strain a lapse in pay can cause an individual, and work to create a team mentality that despite the current struggle, the goal is to continue operations–or re-open as quickly as possible–for long-term success. The state may provide temporary assistance for employees who need support during the transition.
In this Internet age, it’s incredibly easy to purchase insurance online – directly from the carrier and without ever having to leave your screen. When you’re in charge of insuring a fleet of commercial vehicles, this option is surely tempting. You don’t have much time, and purchasing insurance direct online will save you both time and money, right? It’s probably not as simple as that. Sure, the DIY approach might save you some time upfront, but how much do you really understand about the process? You’re an expert in your business, so you should be working with an expert in the insurance field to get the coverage that best fits your needs.
You Get More Options
When it comes to your carrier and coverage options, there is a clear benefit to working with an independent agent. Whether you’re running a trucking company or a business with commercial vehicles, you’re already busy around the clock. You don’t have time to scour the internet for the best insurance. Instead of having to shop around on your own, your agent will do that work for you and provide you with choices, so you can get the coverage that is best for exactly what you need.
They’ve Done This Before
A good agent knows their stuff. They have assisted numerous clients with purchasing commercial auto insurance for their business vehicles, so they understand the ins and outs of the process. If you try to go it alone – especially if it’s your first time purchasing insurance for your business – you may find yourself lost or confused, without anyone to give advice. Using an agent ensures that you have someone taking care of you who knows what is going on at all times and can explain it to you in plain terms. And if you have to file a claim? Your agent’s support and expertise will be even more invaluable in such a potentially stressful time.
It’s a Personal Relationship
This can be one of the greatest advantages of working with an independent agent rather than purchasing insurance directly from a carrier. When you purchase coverage on your own, you may do it online and never speak to a real human. If you call the carrier, you will likely be connected to an employee in a call center. While it is possible to have a good experience with one of these employees, you won’t be able to build a relationship in the same way that you can with your own personal agent. Independent agents specialize in building an insurance portfolio just for you, so we understand the unique needs and challenges of your business in a way that a direct representative of a carrier may not. For your commercial auto insurance needs, the advantages of working with an independent insurance agent are clear.