Building your handyman business from the ground-up is no small job. You have the skills to tackle almost any job, from repair work to more complicated projects. You know more about painting, wiring, plumbing, and carpentry than most. And that’s just the beginning. Because as an independent contractor building your own business, you also have to know the ins-and-outs of details such as licensing, taxes, and insurance, too.
To help you out on that last point, we’ve decoded the insurance terms and policies that you need to know to successfully protect your handyman business.
Here’s your cheat sheet of handyman insurance terms, decoded.
Handyman Insurance Policies
These insurance policies provide a wide-range of protection for your handyman business, from the truck you drive to the tools you use, and from unexpected lawsuits you may never see coming.
An insurance policy which provides protection from lawsuits. General liability coverage typically covers lawsuits arising from third-party (non-employee) injury or property damage. General liability is considered a foundational policy, and the most basic coverage you need to operate your handyman business. You can’t always prevent an accident, but you can prevent a lawsuit from costing you big time if you have general liability protection.
An insurance policy which provides protection for your auto if you use your personal vehicle for work purposes. If you are relying on your personal auto policy to cover your auto, you may be surprised to hear it may not cover your “work truck.” For full protection against accidents and road hazards, consider adding commercial auto to your insurance policies.
Do you work with businesses or commercial clients? Professional liability is an insurance policy which provides protection from lawsuits arising from financial loss as a result of your handyman business. Your general liability policy may not cover you in the event your work causes an economic hardship to a client. If a third-party brought a lawsuit against you, professional liability insurance covers the costs of defending yourself, and any settlements or judgements you may owe. (Not every handyman will need professional liability coverage, but if you have commercial clients you may want to consider the protection this policy offers.)
An insurance policy which protects your tools and equipment while in transit from one client and/or project to the next. When your business is mobile, you can’t rely on property insurance to protect your assets and investments the same way as someone who does all their work in one place. With inland marine protection, your tools and equipment are covered from theft, damage, loss, vandalism and other risks as you transport them to different locations. A unique insurance policy which benefits handymen, contractors, and other skilled trades professionals.
Handyman Insurance Terms
Know the lingo. The following terms are often used when discussing your insurance policies and protection. Here’s a quick reference guide to keep you in the know.
Accident: An unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance; an unfortunate event. (Ok, we know that you already know what an accident is. But we’re including it because accidents are the primary reason you need insurance in the first place, right?)
Additional Insured: A person, party, or organization not included in your insurance coverage who is added to your policy at your request.
Aggregate Limit: The maximum dollar amount an insurer will pay to settle your claims in a given time period, such as a year or the entire period of your contract.
Certificate of Insurance: A document providing verification of your insurance coverage, such as policy types, numbers, and effective periods. Often provided to potential clients as “proof of insurance.”
Claim: A demand for payment from an insurance (or bond) provider for the estimated or actual amount of a loss.
Coverage: Protection against a specific risk or liability.
Deductible: The amount that will be subtracted from a loss which the insured (that’s you) has to pay.
Effective Date: The date your coverage starts on your insurance contract.
Endorsement: A form that changes or adds to the coverage in your insurance policy, such as limiting the scope of coverage, adding other parties, or clarifying coverage.
Exclusion: A provision in a policy referring to risks, hazards, circumstances, property, or other factors not covered.
Liability Limits: The sums in which an insurance provider no longer protects the insured on a particular policy. The maximum amount that a specific policy will cover for a claim.
Premium: The amount an insurer charges to provide policy coverage. Often paid as a monthly premium payment, but may also be paid at one time as an annual premium payment.
Subrogation: The insurance provider’s right to pursue legal action on your behalf against the party responsible for a loss or damage.
Quote: An estimate for the premium (amount) of insurance coverage based on the policy you select and information you provide when you request your handyman insurance quote. Citizens General can provide instant pricing when you request a quote online, anytime.
We know that insurance isn’t always the first thing on your mind when you are trying to build your handyman business. You are more focused on the job at hand, and lining up your next paying gig. But the right coverage can help you protect the assets you’ve invested in, such as your automobile, your tools, and your equipment. And insurance protection can help you hold on to the assets you’ve earned in the unfortunate event that an accident (and lawsuit) occurs while you work.
Don’t overlook this important part of your handyman trade, and you can continue to grow your business with the peace-of-mind that your assets are protected.