If you’re a residential roofer, you’re well aware that your business is fraught with risks. In fact, your job is one of the most dangerous in the construction industry. About 50 roofers are killed on the job each year in the United State, a fatality rate that’s double that of other construction workers. Nonfatal injuries are common as well.
And injuries are not the only risk you face. When you’re working at heights of 20 feet or more, even a falling hammer can seriously damage a client’s property.
Knowing how to protect yourself and your workers are critical in the roofing business. And knowing how to protect your assets from lawsuits is critical too. A solid business insurance plan can help you accomplish both. So, here’s a rundown of the kind of insurance a residential roofer usually needs.
General Liability Insurance
Of all the business insurance coverage available to a residential roofer, general liability insurance is, perhaps, the most crucial. First, it protects you against claims of property damage or bodily injury to nonemployees, including medical payments for injuries, regardless of whether you were at fault. Additionally, it includes completed-operations coverage. So if you install a new roof and it leaks due to your or an employee’s negligence, your insurance company will pay for the repairs. You’re even covered for damages caused by an independent contractor you hired.
General liability insurance also covers you in the event of a lawsuit alleging personal injuries, such as slander, libel, invasion of privacy or false imprisonment. It even covers copyright infringement and advertising injury. So, if you’re sued for inadvertently using copyrighted material in an advertisement or on your website, your insurance will pay to defend you in court.
Business Owner’s Policy
If you’re a small business owner with fewer than 100 employees and less than $5 million in annual sales, you may qualify for a business owner’s policy or BOP. This type of policy combines several different kinds of coverage, including general liability insurance. It also includes business interruption insurance, which will help pay your operating expenses for up to 12 months if you are unable to do business because of a covered event, such as a windstorm or fire. However, if you have no payroll expenses and don’t own or lease a building, a general liability insurance policy will probably meet your needs.
Chances are your state requires that you carry worker’s compensation insurance. But even if it’s not mandatory, this coverage is essential due to the hazardous nature of roofing work. Even in the most safety conscious employee can make an error in judgment and fall from a steep or slippery roof. Such accidents can be devastating, leaving the worker disabled for many months or even the rest of his life.
Workers compensation is no fault insurance. It pays an injured worker’s medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and a portion of his salary for as long as he’s unable to work. By doing so, it also protects you and your business from being sued by an employee who was injured on the job. Thus, it’s one of the best investments a residential roofer can make.
Additional Coverages You May Need
In addition to the above, you may want to speak to an agent about some additional insurance coverage such as those listed below:
- Inland Marine Insurance – This inaptly named coverage protects your tools and equipment while you’re transporting them from job to job. It will also cover tools that you store in your car or truck.
- Commercial Vehicle Insurance – If you own a truck or car that you use exclusively for your business, commercial auto insurance is a must. Your personal auto coverage will not cover you if you or an employee has an accident on the job.
- Tools and Equipment Floater – If you own any specialized equipment that you use on the job, adding this coverage may be a good idea.
- Umbrella or Excess Liability Coverage –As you gain experience and your reputation as a quality residential roofer grows, you may find yourself winning bigger and more lucrative jobs. And with the added risk exposure associated with bigger jobs on more expensive properties, your general liability insurance may not be enough. An umbrella policy is a relatively inexpensive way to increase the limits of your liability insurance and extend other coverages as well. For about $1,000 a year, you can typically increase your liability insurance to $2 million. You’ll also get higher limits on your commercial auto insurance, and employer liability coverage too. The latter is extra insurance that protects you in the event an injured worker sues you for negligence.
At the Carmoon Group, small business insurance is what we do. So, don’t waste time trying to figure out what business insurance you do and don’t need. Give us a call today and set up an appointment for your insurance review. Or just fill out our online form and we’ll get back to you right away.