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All parts of a house are important. But if we have to rank house parts according to importance, the roof will likely come out on top most of the time. We all need a roof over our heads, after all. Aside from being the most important part of the house, the roof is also the part that takes the most damage. It is the one that bears the brunt of the elements, from harsh direct sunlight to heavy rains or snow. That’s why it’s no surprise that the roof is often up for repairs or replacement.
The only people who can do decent roofing repairs or replacement are roofing contractors. You would want them to have skill and experience. But more importantly, you would want the roofing contractor working on your roof to have insurance as well.
So why do you need to make sure that your roofing contractor has insurance? Here are some reasons.
Insurance and license go hand-in-hand
A roofing contractor with insurance is almost always a roofing contractor with a license. Particularly in states that require roofers to have insurance before they can get their roofing license.
While a license is not necessarily a guarantee that the work will be top-notch, it gives you the assurance that you’re working with a professional who actually knows what he’s doing. A license is also something that a roofing contractor always puts at stake with every job. This means he should always do his best or he risks losing his license because of complaints of shoddy workmanship.
An insured roofer means you’re protected too
Roofing is one of the most dangerous professions in the world, for the most obvious reasons. They regularly work at a certain height, and one wrong step could mean an accident that could cause injuries not only to the worker, but to anyone on the ground as well. Property damage is a concern too. It could happen not only when a worker falls, but also when a tool flies off the hand of a worker and hits a parked car or parts of the property.
When your roofing contractor has insurance, you won’t have to worry about anything. Your roofing contractor’s insurance policy will cover medical expenses for injuries and/or the damage his workers may have accidentally or intentionally caused.
Also, your roofing contractor must have insurance because if they don’t have coverture by any policy, you will, in effect, be the contractor and therefore liable for any injury or property damage that may happen.
Lower costs in the long term
It’s understandable why some homeowners hire roofing contractors who don’t have insurance. Roofers without insurance tend to offer lower rates for their services. And there are homeowners who would jump at the chance to save some dollars to get get a roof installation, fix or replacement.
However, an uninsured—and most likely unlicensed—roofing contractor could cost you more money in the long run. Their finished work could have mistakes in it, which you will have to correct by hiring another roofing contractor. Also, as mentioned in the previous section, any injury or property damage that takes place with an uninsured roofing contractor at the helm will be your responsibility. You will have to pay for everything out of pocket if you don’t have the right insurance policy yourself.
Must-Have Insurance Coverage For Roofing Contractors
Whether you’re having initial roof construction, repairs, or replacement done, the roofing contractor you hire must have, at the very least, general liability insurance. This type of insurance typically covers the following:
Injury claims and court rulings. Liability insurance will come in handy in case the roofing contractor or his workers cause an accident that injures the client or any third party. Medical expenses, litigation costs, compensation awarded by the court, or even funeral expenses in case the accident leads to loss of life have coverture by liability insurance.
Property damage claims. Liability insurance also helps your roofing contractor pay for the cost of repairing or replacing any damaged property caused by the contractor or his workers while doing work on your home.
Job completion claims. In case the job your roofing contractor did isn’t up to par, you can file a claim for his liability insurance to partially or fully pay for the cost of fixing those mistakes.
Worker’s compensation insurance
As stated earlier, roofing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Any roofer could fall accidentally off the roof at any time. If roofing contractors had worker’s compensation insurance, then their medical expenses, lost wages due to the work-related injury. Also, funeral expenses in case they lose their lives while on duty have coverture by this policy.
We also said earlier that an uninsured roofing contractor who gets hurt or killed while working on your home would be your responsibility. As you are technically the contractor who should be providing the roofers working on your home the worker’s compensation insurance that they need.
Read more: Wondering, “Do I need an architect or a contractor”?
Verify your roofing contractor’s insurance
When you ask a roofing contractor if he has insurance and he says yes, don’t just take his word for it. That doesn’t mean you don’t trust him and that he’s a liar. It’s just that there’s too much at stake for you to not cover all the bases.
To verify if your prospective roofing contractor has proper insurance, ask for the name of his insurance carrier. As well as the name and phone number of his agent. Call the insurance company or the agent, and ask for a certificate of insurance. This should be enough proof that the roofing contractor you just interviewed actually has insurance coverage.
Whatever you do, never hire a roofing contractor who doesn’t have the right insurance policies. The lower rates he’ll be charging for his services might tempt you, but always keep in mind that the risks of hiring a roofing contractor without insurance far outweigh the “benefits” of having one with no insurance at all.