hire a contractor you can trust

Before beginning repairs, check the personal liability section of your homeowners policy for specifics regarding injuries on your property or call your insurance company. Policies vary widely.

Instead of relying on your homeowners insurance for protection, make certain your contractor is bonded, licensed and insured and has documentation to prove that they have these three important credentials.

If a contractor is bonded, it means that you are financially protected if the contractor does not complete the job or it is completed poorly. Every state has specific licensing requirements. Verify that your contractor has been approved for the appropriate licensing in your state. Insurance covers any liability claims that may arise during a project, and you will not be held responsible for any injuries or damages.

When contractors claim to be insured, you should check that their insurance covers:
    1. Any bodily injury or property damage the company causes to you, your family and your property.

    2. Workman’s compensation for injuries contractors cause to themselves or their employees. Not all states require this for small contractors, so ask your contractor to provide you with a Certificate of Insurance and phone numbers you can call for verification that their policy is in effect, and it is in the name of the company you are hiring.

    3. Accidents involving the contractor’s own equipment, such as falling off a ladder. (Contractors using your ladder could claim it was your faulty equipment, not their clumsiness. This could lead to an insurance battle and a lawsuit. Don’t provide your contractor with anything of your own to use on the job.)