Company Logo

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

When you think of “workplace culture,” you probably picture casual Fridays or volunteering as a group. Having a positive workplace culture is certainly something that benefits businesses and helps with employee retention. But what some people forget about is that a “culture of safety” is an equally important type of workplace culture.

What Is a Culture of Safety?

Essentially what this phrase means is the attitude of all members of a company – from the bottom to the top – towards safety in the workplace. Cultures of safety can be positive or negative. In a negative culture of safety, workers, managers, and anyone in between do not respect the recommended safety measures. As a result, more accidents happen in a workplace with a negative safety culture. In a positive safety culture, everyone respects and obeys the safety rules and regulations without complaint, and less accidents and workers compensation claims happen. So how do you create a culture of safety in your business? Here are some helpful tips.

Engage in Continued Education

Safety meetings are a great occasion to maintain your employees’ safety education. It’s normal for people to forget what they learned the first week on the job in orientation safety training. If your employees’ work includes a significant physical aspect, the safety meetings are a great opportunity to review proper physical operations such as how to lift heavy objects or how to safely operate large machinery and equipment.

Look Into Near Misses

It may not have actually hurt anyone or resulted in a workers comp claim, but a near miss could be a full on accident next time. If an almost-accident occurs, put on an investigation to look into its cause and determine what could have prevented it. Then observe these new safety practices to reduce the possibility of that near miss becoming something more serious.

Reward Employee Reporting

In a positive safety culture, employees feel comfortable reporting safety concerns or hazards to management. Going along with this, the management must take the reports seriously and work to correct the situation. It can be important to reward employees who step forward about concerns they see on the ground, Often, these individuals are in the best position to notice safety hazards and as such should be listened to as a valuable safety resource.

Every business should work to create a positive safety culture, but accidents may still happen. Ensure your operation has the best insurance coverage to reduce losses in the event of an unfortunate accident or injury. Talk to your agent today to make sure your business is protected.

For some, it’s an easy question. You need commercial auto coverage when your business owns company vehicles – whether it’s one or an entire fleet. However this is not the only instance in which a commercial auto policy is recommended. If you often use your personal vehicle for work purposes, besides commuting, you just might need a commercial auto policy, too.

You Do Not Always Need a Commercial Auto Policy

As we previously stated, simply driving your own car back and forth to work is not a situation where you need to consider commercial auto insurance. Neither is giving rides to coworkers or taking your car out on a coffee run for the office.

What Kind of Use Might Necessitate Commercial Auto Coverage?

However, if you use your personal vehicle to transport tools or equipment to a job site, you should be considering a commercial policy. This is especially true if the tools and equipment are expensive and their damage or theft would put your company at risk. Another instance in which you might consider commercial auto coverage is if you use your own car to travel long distances for work, or to transport clients. Even a teenager who delivers food with his own car poses a liability to his company.

It Is Different for Rideshare Drivers

There is a slight exception in the case of rideshare drivers working for companies such as Uber or Lyft. Most commercial auto policies do not offer the coverage rideshare drivers require for their unique needs, although some insurers have started offering rideshare insurance.

It All Depends on Frequency

If you only occasionally use your own vehicle for work purposes, it is likely you will only need personal auto insurance. On the other hand, if your use of your own car for business needs is frequent and ongoing, you should talk to your agent about your options.

Commercial Auto Policy or Modified Personal Auto Policy?

Your insurance agent is equipped to advise you on whether you truly need a commercial auto policy for your own vehicle. Commercial auto coverage can be expensive, but it may be possible to modify your personal auto policy to take occasional business use into account. Otherwise, your Carnal Roberts independent agent can shop the market to find you the best quotes for commercial auto insurance.

Just like your home, your business can flood and potentially experience extensive damage. However, your business has a completely different set of risks than your home does. After a flood in your place of business, you could experience loss resulting from damage to records, inventory, equipment, and technology as well as other valuable property and assets. You also face a potential loss of business income in the time it takes to restore your facility – not to mention the cost of debris removal, cleanup, and restoration. Business owners can mitigate risk by developing a flood disaster plan and, of course, by having the proper insurance coverage in place.

Flood Damage Is Serious Business for Your Business

Flooding can be caused by many events, including heavy rainfall, overflow from rivers or ponds, or a breach in a levee or dam. Often, flash floods can occur with almost no warning. In regards to damage, floods do more than simply make everything wet. Flooding can cause structural and electrical damage. The flood water itself often contains sharp debris like metal or glass fragments or hazardous, unsanitary matter, and this water can contaminate anything it touches. Of course, if employees are present at the time of the flooding, their lives can also be in great danger.

Ask Your Agent About Available Insurance Coverage

Most standard commercial policies do not cover flood damage. However, some carriers offer coverage that is specifically tailored for business floods. The majority of these policies are provided through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The NFIP only covers commercial property, so you will need to ask your agent about adding flood-specific business interruption coverage to protect your operation against loss of income.

Create a Comprehensive Workplace Flood Disaster Plan

One of the most important ways you can prepare your business for the event of a flood is to keep copies of your insurance documentation and other vital documents in a location that will be safe from any potential flood damage; you can even keep these documents off site if you are able. In addition to important documents, you will want to keep a backup list of all employees’ contact information. The next step is to assess the risks your building faces – check all walls and seams for cracks, move valuable items from bottoms floors if possible, and consider installing a sump pump to help prevent water from getting inside your building. Finally, in the event of an emergency during work hours, you will need an evacuation plan that all employees are trained in.

In the Event of a Flood…

You will be grateful that you have insurance to lessen the impact of the damage. Reach out to your agent at Carnal Roberts Agency today to find out more about your options to get covered.