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What happens if a contractor gets hurt at your house?

by: Kirsten Land on July 7th, 2018 about Residential Roofing, Roofing Advice

Roofing is an industry that involves some risk of injury, whether that’s from falling off a ladder, getting injured when tearing off or putting on a roof, suffering a dog bite on a job, or some other injury. So what happens if a roofer (or any other contractor) gets hurt at your house?

You might be thinking, “Well, that’s not my fault.” But if the roofing company or other contractor doesn’t have the proper insurance in place, that worker could end up suing you to cover the cost of their healthcare and lost wages.

That’s why it’s important to make sure any company you hire to work on your home is properly insured. But what does that really mean? First, there are two types of insurance they should carry-workers’ compensation and general liability.

Worker's compensation

Workers’ compensation is what covers an employee who gets injured on the job. Accidents happen, even to people who focus heavily on safety. Workers’ compensation by the employer takes care of the medical bills in the event of an accident, which means a worker is far less likely to sue you as the homeowner to cover the cost of medical treatment.

General liability

The second type of insurance is general liability. It’s a broader coverage that protects you and your home. Let’s say an employee gets injured by falling from the roof and through the ceiling of your living room. Not only is the employee injured, but your home is damaged. While that repair may be pretty basic for the company to fix, more significant damage can happen, whether from an electrical contractor who starts a fire in your home or a rainstorm that pops up right as we tear off your roof.

If the contractor doesn’t have general liability insurance or enough cash to cover the cost of the repairs, you may end up filing a homeowner’s claim to cover that damage. If that were to happen, that contractor would probably go out of business, but you’re still stuck with the bill.

How do you check?

So how do you know if someone’s properly insured? In the state of Oklahoma, you can check their Construction Industries Board (CIB) number and ensure they’re in good standing. The CIB regularly verifies both workers’ compensation and general liability insurance for registered companies, so if they have a CIB number and are in good standing, their insurance should be sufficient.

The other option is to ask the company for proof of their insurance. If they refuse to show you paperwork to prove their insurance coverage, it’s probably time to find a new contractor. The industry standard for general liability coverage in roofing is a minimum of $1 million, although many roofers (including Land Enterprises Roofing) carry more than that.

Some trades are heavily regulated and must prove their level of insurance to a board of some kind, but other trades don’t have any regulation at all. We require the same level of insurance from all of our subcontractors to ensure both their employees and our customers are protected at all times.

Before a contractor does any work on your home, be sure to verify their level of insurance so you’re not facing a legal battle with an injured employee.

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