The health and long-term viability of almost any business is heavily connected to its insurance policies. Because there are so many types of businesses in the U.S., the types of insurance policies that exist to protect businesses are also numerous. It can therefore be confusing to know which policies your business needs.
Construction companies and contractors have unique liabilities that require a thoughtful and detailed insurance coverage strategy. The specific policies your construction business needs can vary depending on the scope of each project and the characteristics of each project owner, but it can be wise to purchase the following:
1. Professional liability insurance.
Just about any business that employs licensed professionals—such as a physician’s practice, law firm, or accounting firm—carries this type of insurance that is sometimes referred to as errors and omissions insurance. As that name suggests, this insurance policy can step in when contractors commit errors that cause financial loss to clients. It often covers breach of contract, missed project deadlines, and services that were promised but not provided.
2. Workers’ compensation.
Some companies are not required to carry workers’ compensation for employees if the company employs a small number of workers (the exact amount varies by state). The elevated risk of injury on a construction site, however, means general contractors are hardly ever exempt. In Florida, contractors with one or more employees are required to carry this policy, which covers medical costs and partial lost wages when a worker is injured on the job.
3. Subcontractor default insurance.
In lieu of surety bonds, which are usually required for public construction projects, larger general contractors may instead purchase a subcontractor default insurance policy. This policy will pay the contractor after three things happen: a subcontractor defaults on its duties, the contractor selects a replacement subcontractor, and a deductible is paid by the contractor. The deductibles are often large, but the terms may be more convenient to contractors than those of many surety bonds.
4. Inland marine insurance.
This policy has nothing to do with water-related projects. It does cover movable property, equipment, and materials that may “float” or be transported between job sites. Generally, inland marine insurance covers equipment and materials that are in transit to or from a job site. This policy can fill in the gaps for property insurance, which covers many fixtures of a permanent physical location.
5. General liability insurance.
This policy is used by most construction contractors. General liability insurance usually covers losses in several different areas, including injuries incurred by non-employees on the project site, property damage to a client’s property, and even advertising injury. It can also cover legal fees that may associated with such incidents.
A construction contractor that has adequate insurance policies should be able to feel secure in the event of a covered loss. After paying your premiums on time and notifying your insurance provider of an incident, you have nothing to worry about, right? Unfortunately, the answer is not always clear.
An experienced construction attorney can fight for the outcome you and your business deserve in the midst of any disputes. Our firm would be happy to discuss your situation and advise you on sensible steps moving forward in a wide range of legal areas. Call us at (305) 227-4030 for a consultation.