When you work with a client or another third-party, you may be asked for proof of insurance. Potential clients may ask you for proof of insurance for a number of reasons, but generally they want to know what risks you’re insured for, what policies you're insured with, and that you that have the proper coverage they're looking for.
What is a Certificate of Insurance?
A certificate of insurance is a summary of your coverage issued by your insurance carrier (or carriers). It is an information summary page showing you have been insured and for which lines of coverage. The document will name you (the insured), the insurance company (or companies, if you have different policies with different carriers) issuing the policy, the type of policy, and the effective period . The certificate won’t list all of your liability coverage and any exceptions in detail, it’s merely intended to provide an overview. A certificate of insurance is the best way to provide proof of insurance and demonstrate that you have the coverage they’re looking for.
Why do you need a Certificate of Insurance?
You may need to provide proof of insurance for a variety of situations, including:
- When signing a contract with a new client or contractor.
- When signing a lease for property or equipment.
- When verifying coverage for a homeowner
This goes in line with the idea that your certificate is your summary of coverage. In order to win the bid or be allowed on the jobsite, you need to show that you're properly insured should anything bad happen during the project. It also gives peace of mind to individuals that not only can they trust your work, but if something unusual does happen, they won't be in the poor house making up for it.
This three-step guide can help you get your certificate of insurance to whoever is requesting it promptly.
Step #1: Know the Minimum Requirements
Before requesting a certificate of insurance from your insurance provider, it’s important to understand the motivation behind the request. Certain third-parties may require that you have a certain amount of coverage before they can offer you a job. For example, a business may need you to have a liability policy limit of $1,000,000 before signing a contract with you to remodel a large commercial building. Get the minimum requirements in writing so that you know what you need for the job.
Step #2: Know What Your Liability Insurance Covers
If you’re concerned about whether or not you meet the minimum insurance requirements set by the third-party in question, review your policies or contact your insurance agent. You’ll want to make sure you have all of the coverage you need, and that your policy limits meet the requirements. If you don’t have the required coverage, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth expanding your insurance for the job. If you do decide to purchase more coverage, the first step is to contact your insurance agent to discuss your options.
Step #3: Request Your Certificate of Insurance
Once you understand the minimum requirements and are sure you meet them, here's how to get a certificate of insurance. Contact your insurance agent and provide the individual or company needing to be listed as certificate holder, as well as their address, insurance requirements, and any contact information. Your agent will be able to review the information, make sure you meet the coverage requirements. If everything checks out, you should be able to get the certificate fairly quickly. At Citizens General, we can issue your certificate the same day if you get your request in before 2PM PST. The easiest way to submit you request is through our certificate request page.
To dive a little deeper, you’ll need to provide your insurance company with certain information about yourself (the insured) so they can confirm your coverage and the third-party (the certificate holder).
- Your contact information
- Your policy number
- The certificate holder’s name
- The certificate holder’s contact information, including their address, fax, and/or email
- The information of any other individuals or companies that need to be listed on the certificate
- The job site and project information
- A copy of the insurance requirements or contract, if available
At some point, you’ll need to provide a client or another third-party with proof of insurance. When that happens, a certificate of insurance is the best way for you to prove that you’re insured and have the coverage you say you do. At Citizens, we make sure you can get your certificate of insurance quickly and easily, so you can get to work with no delay.