Want to lower the costs of your handyman insurance? Here’s a major tip: Your insurance carrier will most likely lower your premiums the longer you go without filing a claim. Call it a reward for risk prevention, a no claims bonus, or a no claims discount, but the bottom line -- no matter what you you call it-- is this: safety pays.
And if you can keep claims from occurring, you may end up saving a nice chunk of change to reinvest back into your handyman business.
Avoid Handyman Insurance Claims with these 5 Tips
Here are some additional ways to avoid handyman insurance claims, keep your premiums affordable, and put even more cash back into the coffer.
Tip #1: Safety First
It should come as no surprise that making safety your #1 priority tops our list of “handy” tips. If you focus on safety while performing repairs and maintenance at your client’s homes or places of business, you can reduce the risk of third-party injuries. In other words, you can reduce the likelihood of a general liability claim.
- Don’t leave power tools and other hazardous equipment unattended.
- Be careful with ladders, cords, and other tripping hazards.
- Secure objects that could fall and injure someone.
- Clean up spills immediately.
Creating a safe work space is essential to reducing the risk of an injury to someone while you work.
Tip #2: Handle Customer Property with Care
Damaging someone else’s property is more than just bad business, it could also lead to a general liability claim. But when you work inside other people’s homes for a living, the risk of damaging their property increases. When you are doing repair work or maintenance on someone else’s property (including appliances, furniture, or personal items), be sure to use utmost of care.
- Take pictures and/ or make note of condition of items before you begin work and after work is completed.
- Protect customer property in your work area: use tarps, drop cloths, move items safely away, etc.
Go ahead and lay down the drop cloth before you begin painting. Use a dolly to move a heavy piece of furniture, rather than sliding it across a hardwood floor. Cover furniture in a room to keep dust and dirt from settling on it. Going the extra mile in protecting your client’s appliances, furniture, and homes from potential damage can be the key to avoiding a general liability claim for property damage.
Tip #3: Hang Up and Drive
You spend enough time in your work truck that you could officially call it your office. But that doesn’t mean you should be taking calls, sending texts, setting appointments, or reading emails while you are behind the wheel. Distracted driving triples your risk of getting into a car crash.
Save the text, email, and phone calls for when you are parked and the engine is off. Safe driving habits not only save lives, they may also help you avoid commercial auto claims and lower your insurance premiums.
Tip #4: Increase Deductibles
For most insurance policies, you can reduce your premium amounts by increasing your deductibles. That means you save more money each month, but have a higher amount to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in when you do have to file a claim.
How does this help you avoid claims in the first place?
- Take the extra money you save on monthly (or annual) premiums, and set it aside in a savings account.
- Use the money you have saved for small incidents, rather than filing a claim for something you can afford to pay out of pocket.
- If you do have to file a claim, use the money you’ve saved on premiums to go towards your higher deductible amount.
Cash on hand doesn’t take the place of insurance protection. But it can help you avoid smaller claims. If you can afford to pay out of pocket for a small incident, it may benefit you. And if you have a large claim that does need to go through your insurance, saving the money you’ve saved on premium payments can help you pay a larger deductible amount.
Insider Tip: The right deductible amount for your handyman insurance is the one you can afford. Before you increase your deductible amounts, it’s a good idea to have enough cash on hand to meet your deductible payment. If you can’t afford higher deductibles, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to increase them.
Tip #5: Communicate Often
Call, text, email, private message, send a pigeon. In other words, communicate. Studies have found that increased communication between doctors and patients leads to less malpractice lawsuits. What does that have to do with your handyman business? Customers and clients who feel like they have been effectively communicated with are more likely to be satisfied with their service. (And less likely to take you to court for an actual -- or alleged -- mistake.)
The more you communicate with your clients, the more valued they will feel.
Not only that, but more communication will also reduce the risk of a mistake happening. Your client may have asked you to redirect a light switch to one wall when they really meant another. Having one more conversation about it may clear up the confusion… and leave you with a very satisfied client. Unhappy clients can lead to professional negligence lawsuits, and a claim against your professional liability policy. Communication may be the key to avoiding that scenario from happening in the first place.
You can’t always avoid an accident, and you may not always be able to avoid a claim. But you can take steps to reduce the risk of a claim happening. If you do, your diligence will most likely be rewarded. Less claims means lower premiums... and more cash in hand for you to grow your handyman business.