How can general contractors be certain their subs carry the recommended insurance? Certificates of Insurance(COIs) offer this peace of mind. If you refuse to pay subs until they provide a COI, you leave your company at considerable risk. Do not let a sub start a job without a COI! Your superintendent should call you or your office to verify that you have a COI on file for all subs before any project begins.
For subs with whom you have long, established relationships, update your records once per year with a new COI 30 days prior to the policy expiration. Make sure you obtain a certificate of insurance for each “project.” This may protect you in case of cancellation of insurance during the project.
For new subs with whom you have just begun working, require a COI before the sub begins. It is best to ask for the COI directly from the agent. Then, every 30-45 days, call the agent of record to verify coverage and request a new COI. Pay close attention to any late notices and notices of policy cancellation you may receive. Follow up immediately to confirm the status of the policy.
When you have the COI in hand, look for a binder or policy number. If you see “TBD” in that field, call the agent (also listed on the COI) to request the actual policy number. Check for the policy expiration date, and be prepared to request another COI prior to expiration. Remember to check for coverage on auto, general liability, and workers’ compensation and be sure the proper limits of coverage are in force. While this might seem overwhelming, there are a variety of vendors available that specialize in helping you manage all of your subcontractor certificates.