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July 27, 2011 7:21 PM   Subscribe

Contractor, roofing, insurance.

We're getting a few estimates on repairing or replacing a tin roof. One of the contractors expressed some concern about getting on the roof in its current state. His own insurance should cover any injuries if he agrees to go up there and then something goes wrong, right? What do I need to ask to make sure that he's a properly licensed/insured contractor? How do I verify it?
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
 
Your contractor should provide you with proof of his/her insurance (workmen's comp, comprehensive liability, etc -- not, like, car insurance), including the name of the company and a contact number for them.

If they don't have that, don't hire them.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:42 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


You can check their license status with the Contractors State License Board's website if you are in Caliornia. I'd independently verify their insurance and bond by calling the company.
posted by slidell at 7:56 PM on July 27, 2011


Is it only one contractor who's labeling your roof as more unsafe than usual?
If so, I'd really check his insurance out-- could he be trying to set you up for a bogus claim?
posted by calgirl at 8:35 PM on July 27, 2011


Check the contractor's status with your state's licensing board. They should have a contractor's license if your state does such a thing. If they do NOT, then you need to verify with their insurance agent their level of liability insurance and worker's comp. They will be able to provide you with proof of insurance and good standing with your state's authorities upon demand.

Anyone who cannot supply these documents or feels that it's out of the ordinary to supply them, yet expresses concern about being on your roof when they're about to strip it down, does not need to be on your roof.

Once they are on your roof, make sure that you are there during the entire process and outside watching. (Pitch an umbrella and beach chair if you need to; I always find that a good mindless book and a cold drink makes the process go fast.) They should be roped in and have proper OSHA-approved harnesses and ladders. They should strip your roof to the decking, inspect the decking, put in a rain barrier, and put in the metal roof. If these things do not happen, especially the roped in, ESPECIALLY if the workers do not speak english, stop the job and ask for the super.
posted by SpecialK at 8:54 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


What you're going to want to do is ask for what's called a "certificate of insurance". Your contractor will know what this is. These are documents issued by insurance agents on behalf of their insureds which serve as proof of insurance. You're looking for two things: liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance. They'll probably have these through the same company, but make sure you ask if one of them is missing. The liability insurance will cover any damage they do to your property, and workers' compensation insurance will handle any injuries to their employees.

This is an entirely routine request, and if the contractor gives you any grief about getting one, don't hire him. If he can't provide one, don't hire him. Insurance agents provide these things for free and can usually come up with one within a few hours of being asked.
posted by valkyryn at 5:04 AM on July 28, 2011


I was always a little embarassed to ask for the insurance paperwork (as if it were some kind of implied criticism? whatever...) but just do it. You need it for your own peace of mind, and it shows them you're not a total n00b -- while also calling their bluff in case they're not actually insured.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:55 AM on July 28, 2011


One thing to do is make providing the certificate of insurance part of the bid. Most of the general contractors I've dealt with include that as part of the boilerplate stuff along with the part where the contractor will be responsible for all building permits necessary. If they don't have that on their actual bid contract that you sign, ask them to rewrite it with it included. Other things to look for on the bid: that the contractor will handle disposal of all waste/trash from the project and what the payment schedule will be. A common payment structure is something like 5% when you sign the bid, 15-25% at the start of the project, most of the rest of it at various milestones through the project (eg "completion of demolition", "completion of framing", "completion of shingling"), and a final 5% or 10% after everything is done.

Since it's a roofing job, check that any work involving the gutters will be included with this, too.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:20 AM on July 28, 2011


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