When you’re taking on a home renovation or dealing with storm damage, you’ll need to hire a contractor. But do you know how to find a contractor? Do you know what questions to ask a contractor to ensure they’re truly professional? Sure… you know you have to get multiple bids, and consider references and referrals. But the most important factor to investigate is their insurance coverage.
When hiring a contractor, it’s crucial to check for insurance and how it extends to employees or potential sub-contractors. If the contractor isn’t protected with adequate insurance coverage, you could end up getting sued if one of the workers gets injured at your house. And you may be held responsible. You can avoid a situation like this by doing a little research up front. Following are ten of the most important things to check up on when you’re looking for contractors.
Top 5 Tips for How to Find a Contractor
1.) Perform a Contractor License Check
It’s important to protect yourself by performing a thorough contractor license check to ensure you’re hiring a licensed contractor. Anybody can claim they’re a professional contractor, so ask to see their insurance policy. They should happily provide their certificate (or binder). You should see any hesitation or pushback as a red flag. Call the insurance company or agent listed on the binder to verify that the coverage is current and in effect.
2.) Check for Worker’s Compensation Insurance
One of the most important questions to ask a contractor is whether or not they have Worker’s Compensation Insurance. This form of insurance, which covers medical/rehabilitation expenses and lost wages for workers, will serve to protect you in the long run. If the contractor’s limits aren’t adequate, an employee or subcontractor may end up suing you if they get injured on your property.
3.) Check for General Liability Insurance
Costs associated with an accident on the job can be very expensive. A contractor’s general liability insurance covers property damage and injuries involving employees, clients and even bystanders caused by mistakes or negligence. When you’re looking for contractors, make sure they have this.
4.) Check for Builder’s Risk Insurance
It’s important that your home and materials are protected from damage at every point while under construction. Builder’s Risk covers the contractor’s interest concerning materials at the job site before they’re installed, materials in transit intended for the job, and the value of the property under construction until completion of the project. Your questions for contractors should include whether or not they carry this important coverage.
5.) Confirm Contractor is Registered
In order to monitor insurance coverage and complaints, home improvement contractors are required to register their business with the state via the Home Improvement Contractor’s Registration Act & Home Improvement Contractor Regulations. Contact the State Division of Consumer Affairs at 973-273-8090 to verify the person is a registered home improvement contractor. Also be sure to confirm your contractor’s licensing status with the New Jersey State Labor & Industries Department.
With so many regulations and requirements involved, you can feel at ease knowing you’re getting quality work from a trusted professional if you’ve done your research. For more information on how to find a contractor or recommendations of questions for contractors, contact your insurance agent.
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