Handyman Insurance: building a strong foundation of protection

Posted by Matt Simon on May 26, 2016

Being a handyman professional, you're likely referred to as a jack-of-all-trades.

You have a gift for analyzing a problem and finding a solution.  In order to tackle a variety of household maintenance and repair tasks, you must be skilled in a number of different trades.

From basic carpentry and construction skills, to knowledge of electrical wiring and plumbing, you’re probably called on for a variety of “odd jobs” or “side work.”

Although some of your work may seem minor, like fixing a leaky toilet or changing a light fixture, if you’re being paid for working in a client’s home, then you’re exposed to risk.

Risk of what you ask?

The risk of something going wrong while you’re at your client’s house or place of business that causes injury or damage to their property.

Or the more likely scenario, that something goes wrong after you leave, and you’re being blamed for the damages.

Like any other business, handymen need a variety of insurance coverages to protect their business in the event these types of claims occur. Additionally, rules and coverages can vary from state to state, so understanding Ohio handyman insurance is essential.

Commercial General Liability Insurance

For any handyman, a Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance policy is a must.  This coverage would protect you when lawsuits or financial losses occur.

Handyman General Liability insurance protects you from the specific risks of your trade, whether it’s carpentry, plumbing, home maintenance, installation, or electric work.

A typical CGL policy provides coverage for claims of bodily injury or other physical injury, personal injury (libel or slander), advertising injury and property damage as a result of your products or operations.

For example, you’re doing some odd jobs for a client, which includes some plumbing work. You were working on a leaky toilet, and when you completed your work, everything seemed to be working properly.

You wrap up in time to get home for dinner and just as you’re about to sit down to relax, you receive a panicked call from your client informing you that the bathroom has completely flooded, and there’s substantial damage.

Without a CGL policy, you or your business would be paying for these damages out of your own pocket.

As a safeguard against liability, CGL enables you to continue your normal operations while dealing with real or fraudulent claims of negligence or wrongdoing.

CGL policies also provide coverage for the cost to defend and settle claims.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial Auto Insurance is another important policy that all Ohio handyman businesses must consider because you’re relying on vehicles to get you from one client to another.

Whether you’re driving a personal truck that you use for business, or you have employees that you provide with a work truck, you still need Commercial Auto Insurance.

The trucks or trailers that you’re using to haul your equipment should be insured. Even if you’re using a personal truck that is covered through a Personal Auto policy, using it for business purposes could leave you without coverage in the event of a claim.

A Commercial Auto Policy can be used to insure vehicles for:

  1. Liability – this would protect the business owner in the event of an at-fault accident where the owner, or any employees, caused injuries to others while driving a company vehicle
  2. Physical damage to the vehicles owned by the business if they’re involved in an accident, stolen or vandalized
  3. Or both Liability and Physical Damage

For example, one of your employees could be on his way to a new project and they’re involved in a severe collision with another driver.

Your employee is at fault, there is extensive damage to both vehicles, and there will be medical expenses for both drivers.

Your Commercial Auto policy could cover the property damage to your vehicle as well as the vehicle your employee hit, the medical expenses, and any potential legal costs involved.

Contractor’s Equipment Insurance

In addition to the vehicles that you’re using to haul equipment, you’ll also need to insure the actual equipment.

The standard Commercial Property Insurance policy provides coverage for your equipment, but it’s only covered while it's on your premises.

For a handyman who routinely has most of his equipment away from an office premises, this can create quite a problem.

In order to protect these types of items that are regularly off your premises, you need an Inland Marine policy (also known as a Contractor's Equipment policy, or floater).   

For example, if you were to leave your table saw and some other miscellaneous tools at your client’s property for the night, and you returned in the morning to find they had been stolen, an Inland Marine policy would cover those costs even though it didn’t occur on your business premises.  A Commercial Property policy would not provide coverage.

Conclusion

Finding the best insurance policy for handyman businesses in Ohio, and figuring out the types of coverage needed to protect your business, can be confusing, time consuming and difficult.

However, handyman insurance is critically important, and a smart investment in your business… if you do the right research, and get a good policy that's matched to your specific needs and risks.

Remember, not all policies are created equal.

You probably wouldn’t go to your eye doctor instead of your dentist if you were having a toothache, right?  Just because they’re both doctors doesn’t mean they have the same skillset.

Just the same, you need an Insurance Advisor that understands your industry, your risks of loss, and how best to protect you and your business.

We can help.

We know the industry, we understand your needs, and we work with multiple insurance companies so we can deliver the insurance solution that’s perfect for your business, and your budget.

When you have confidence in your business insurance, you have greater peace of mind knowing that you can keep working to generate revenue, even when disaster strikes. 

To get started on your customized solution, contact one of our Licensed Advisors, or Request a Proposal and we’ll get to work right away.

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