What is a certificate of insurance?
A certificate of insurance is basically a form from your insurance company that verifies that you have the coverage you say you do. It’s not part of your policy and it doesn’t change your coverage. It just gives details about your insurance so that your client knows that you have the financial security to protect them from the fallout of any negligence or claims on your part. Most of the time the entity requesting the certificate wants to know about your liability insurance, but a lender, for example, might want to see proof of property insurance.
Oftentimes, a contract will require that the contractor hold certain levels of insurance. The certificate is the client’s way of checking that you have the necessary coverage for the job. They’ll want to see the certificate before any work is started.
Pro tip: Keep in mind that the “insured” referred to is you. The certificate holder is the entity that wanted to see proof of insurance.
How do I get a certificate of insurance?
The certificate will be issued by your business insurance agent or broker. To secure a copy, you’ll have to reach out to them and request it. (Although there may have been a copy included with the papers you were given when you got your insurance.)
However, don’t be surprised if the client wants to get the certificate directly from your insurer.
What is included in a certificate of liability insurance?
The certificate of insurance will probably be separated into different sections – one for general liability, one for commercial auto, and one for umbrella insurance (a.k.a. excess liability.) These sections give details such as whether your policy is claims-made or occurrence and what types of vehicles are insured.
The certificate should give the following details:
- Name of the insured
- Name and address of the insurer (and other details)
- Policy type and limits
- Type of work the insured does
- When the policy will expire
- Name and address of certificate holder
- The insurer’s obligation (or lack of obligation) to notify the certificate holder if the policy is canceled before its expiration