What is a Certificate of Insurance?

When does a Business need a Certificate of Insurance?

A certificate of insurance is a document that is used to provide info about specific insurance coverages. The certificate is issued to one entity and provides information about the insurance coverages another entity has secured. The certificates are usually required as part of a contract between a business, a contractor, and a subcontractor. A certificate of insurance can be offered for General Liability, Business Auto, Umbrella, and Workers Compensation.

Certificate of Insurance

What is Included with a Certificate of Insurance?

The certificate of insurance includes the type of insurance coverage that has been secured, the limits of those policies, and the named insured.  The certificate will also include whether there is an Additional Insured or Waiver of Subrogation associated with any of the policies included in the certificate. It should include detailed information about the company or person who receives the certificate that includes full address, contact name, email address, phone number, and fax number.  When requesting a certificate be sent to another entity, the more information you provide the better.

Who Might need a Certificate of Insurance?

Typically a certificate of insurance is needed when a business hires a general contractor for a job or a contractor hires a subcontractor to perform a specific part of a job. The certificate is provided as proof the business or the general contractor made sure the contractor or subcontractor they are interacting with has coverage in place at the time the work was done. It is important to always ask a contractor for a new certificate every time you work with them. Just because someone had coverage in place in the past does not mean they still have coverage. If a business or a general contractor hires a business who does not have proper coverage in place, the business or general contractor will take on the liability for damages in most instances.

What a Certificate Holder Needs to Know?

Certificates of Insurance are not common for most people in most walks of life. Unless you work in accounting, make purchasing decisions for your company, manage promotional events, or oversee contractors; you have probably never seen a certificate of insurance. A certificate of insurance is a document used to provide information about specific insurance coverages secured by one person within a contract. The certificate verifies insurance coverage has been secured, the types of coverage secured, and the limits of those policies. Also, it will include the insurance carrier, the policy number, the named insured, and the policy effective dates. Now that you know what a certificate of insurance is, here are some tips to remember when you are a certificate holder.

Business Meeting with a certificate holder.

Who is the Certificate Holder?

Being a certificate holder means that you are given proof that insurance is in effect. One of the most common examples of a certificate holder is when a business partners with contractors on a project and it is part of the contract for the contractor to carry their own particular coverage. Here are some additional examples of the types of businesses who frequently need to have certificate holders:

  • Food Truck
  • Yoga Instructor
  • Promotional Events
  • Owner/Operator Truck Drivers
  • Lawncare/Landscaping Companies
  • Maintenance/Janitorial Services Companies

What coverage does the Certificate Holder have?

One common misconception about a certificate holder is that they are not covered under the policy mentioned in the certificate. The certificate is just verification that the other party in the transaction has the required coverage. The person, people, or business covered under the policy is provided on the certificate. It may include both the named insured and the additional insured depending upon the specifics of each policy.

Engineering Contractors need to have a certificate holder when entering into a contract.

What Other Parties are Involved with a Certificate of Insurance?

The holder of a certificate of insurance is a third party to the insurance relationship. The insurance carrier and the named insured are the two primary parties involved with the insurance coverage. An additional insured can be added if it is necessary. Partnering with an independent insurance agent is the best way to determine how to best navigate these issues.

What Types of Coverage Frequently Need a Certificate Holder

 General Liability

General Liability Insurance needs to be provided to a ceritificate holder because it is the primary coverage that protects the business or person from third party liabilities for damages. This is essential when hiring contractors, because if a business hires contractors and fails to make sure the contractor has adequate insurance, the business can be liable for damages caused by the contractor.

Business Auto

Business owners who have employees who operate a motor vehicle as part of their job need to secure proper insurance. If the business owns the vehicles being used the policy is commercial auto. If the employee is driving their personal vehicle or a vehicle rented by the business, the correct policy is hired and non owned auto. This may be needed when a business is providing transportation for a special event like a limousine driver for a wedding.

Umbrella Coverage

Umbrella Insurance Coverage is also referred to as Excess Liability Coverage. Umbrella Insurance provides additional liability coverage above the limits of other existing policies. A certificate holder may need umbrella coverage added to the certificate because the contract requires a certain level of insurance limit for the contract to be valid.

Workers Compensation & Employers’ Liability

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is often referred to as the ‘Exclusive Remedy‘. It is called the ‘Exclusive Remedy’ because the coverage provides medical expenses and some lost wages for employees who are injured on the job. Employers benefit from the peace of mind they cannot be sued for injuries to employees who are hurt because of normal business operations. A Certificate Might be requested because the state laws and regulations require contractors to carry workers comp coverage in order to engage in certain types of work or contracts. The certificate proves the certificate holder made sure the contractor was up to date on all necessary coverages.