Okay all homeowners, here’s a question… Are you insured? Of course you are. Homeowners insurance is a must before you even consider closing a home. But are home improvement contractors insured?
Hiring a contractor to do work on your home is sometimes a difficult task. Who are you hiring? And how to find a reputable company? Word of mouth and referrals seem to be the most common methods for both the host and the company. One person’s word and advice seem to hold the most value when contracting for service. However, you should thoroughly research each company before hiring a contractor to work on your property. Insurance, licensing and professional affiliations are all very important things to consider before allowing a contractor to work on your home.
Let’s look at the example below, a tree service company. Woodworking is extremely dangerous. If not properly or professionally completed, a limb or piece of wood may fall on a person, house or structure. Worse still, a tree climber could fall from a tree, be struck by a falling limb or branch, be cut by a working chainsaw, crush or tear a finger, or someone could run through a chipper. Yes, all of this happens more than you want to know in a given year in the tree care industry, even among top professionals. More commonly, these accidents can lead to lawsuits if the contractor is not properly insured.
To protect yourself and your residence as a home owner, it is absolutely essential to make sure that a hired service professional is properly licensed and fully insured for his or her business. You don’t want to die for a contractor being liable for injury or major damage to your property. Every year, many lawsuits are filed against homeowners due to work accidents caused by uninsured contractors.
Don’t consider hiring a neighborhood kid to prune your trees. Think about what might happen while doing the work; A child may cut off a limb that hits a high-voltage line and get himself killed. Yes, believe it or not, this is a true story just below where I live and more than it should be.
Instead of hiring cheap labor, get free estimates from a few reputable and insured tree care professionals. Workers’ compensation and liability insurance is extremely expensive for tree service companies, or any high-risk service for that matter. But it’s worth it to protect yourself and your home. Before renting, make sure you can get proof of insurance and licenses from the company. If the price is much lower than other companies that provide estimates, check with that company to make sure they can prove they have that liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Another important factor when hiring a company that does risky business is the safety culture. The company should have a full-time security professional on staff who holds regular security meetings.
The next time you hire a service professional for high-risk jobs like a tree service company, make sure the company is licensed, fully insured, and reputable. Choosing the right professional protects and protects you and your interests. Today, it’s more important than ever to be speculative and selective about who you hire.