What insurance should my residential painting contractor carry?

Steve Reutzel

Residential Painting Insurance is probably the last thing you think about when considering repainting your home. Most home owners concern themselves with the color, sheen, and finish of their desired aesthetic. Few consider the risks inherent in hiring a contractor to do the work for you. Without the proper insurance, you could be at a loss if things go wrong. To protect yourself from costly medical bills or lawyer fees ensure your contractor has the appropriate residential painting insurance.

Other important insurances include:

  • Professional Liability Insurance
    This level of insurance covers a contractor in the case of negligence causing financial losses.

  • Commercial Auto Insurance
    All vehicles the company uses and parks around your property should be fully insured.

Worker’s Compensation (WC) is the single most important insurance to look for when hiring a painting contractor. WC is required in most states to cover the contractor’s W2 employees in the case of injury on the job. Despite this legal requirement, contractors who subcontracts the crew working, meaning they are 1099 subcontractors versus a W2 hired employee, do not always check to see if those workers have WC insurance.

WC is expensive for the contractor to carry and maintain, but passing up this insurance coverage puts their customers at a great risk of financial loss. No one expects accidents or injuries to occur on the job, but painting can be dangerous and is regulated by OSHA due to the inherent risks to tradesmen.

If the contractor doesn’t carry WC and one of their crew is injured, the homeowner is responsible for the medical bills and any loss of wages experienced as a result. Most little contractors try to get around carrying WC due to the cost, and only carry liability insurance which is fairly affordable.

The safest way to hire any contractor is to make sure they use W2 employees (not subcontractors or 1099 employees) and they carry appropriate WC on all workers who will be on the job.

Ask for proof. A certificate of insurance will have a checkmark next to Workers Compensation if this level of coverage is included on all employees. If this section is not checked or does not exist at all, the customer should run, not walk, away from that painter.

Companies that advertise that they are fully insured include all of these insurances with the addition of full healthcare coverage for their employees. If the painters are subcontractors and not employees of the company, it is possible that none of the insurances apply to the people actually working in your home.

Why Do Painters Need Insurance?

You only want to hire painting contractors who are ready for anything. There are many scenarios that might include the use of the contractor’s insurance. Without the proper coverages, you could be at a loss with nowhere to turn for the reimbursement of damages.

Accidents happen, and while dealing with the accident alone is a headache, imagine having to fight a company to pay for damages who was not appropriately covered. That headache would quickly turn into a very expensive nightmare.

Ask your residential painting contractor for insurance information

There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself from hiring an under insured painting contractor.

  • Request to see all insurance documentation. This is a standard practice. If a contractor is reluctant to share this information with you, it could be a red flag. Otherwise, all applicable documents usually come already compiled in a folder or binder. They will include the insurance company, contact information and the painter’s policy number.

  • When you are reviewing the documents, ensure the through date covers your scheduled project. If the insurance expires before your scheduled project, request updated documents before the work begins.

  • Call the insurance companies and verify the company is still actively covered and at the appropriate level.

  • Ensure your contract states the appropriate level of insurance requirements.

Choosing a contractor to paint your home does not need to be an ambiguous process. ImageWorks Painting, INC strives to provide you with as much information as possible to protect you and your property from unnecessary inconveniences. We’re a hometown company and take pride in giving you the best possible residential painting experience. Contact us today to schedule your free estimate.

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