Firestopping refers to the use of building materials in items such as pipes, ducts, conduits, or cables to prevent the spread of flames, heat, or hot gases through penetration of fire-rated walls, ceilings, or floors. Firestopping is often performed by specialized firestop contractors.
If you’re a firestop contractor, you know that your customers hire you and trust your expertise. It’s also important for you to complete your projects on time and as promised, without mishaps. And most importantly, your work is expected to work as promised should a fire occur.
But if something goes wrong, the consequences can be devastating for you and for your customers. That’s why you need firestop contractor insurance to help you mitigate your risks and protect your business.
Why Do You Need Firestop Contractor Insurance?
Firestop systems protect against the passage of flames, deadly gases, and toxic smoke through openings that are created for penetrations, joints, and gaps in fire-resistive walls, floors, and floor/ceiling assemblies.
There are both active and passive firestop systems that can be installed in buildings. Both serve a specific purpose.
Active fire suppression includes mechanical systems such as sprinklers that are designed to extinguish fires after they have started. Passive fire protection systems contain fires within the areas in which they start, preventing loss of life by preventing smoke, hot gases, and flames from spreading throughout a building.
Having both passive and active firestop systems in place helps assure that occupants have time to exit a building before gases, fire, and smoke spread. If active systems fail, there is still a passive system in place to help protect lives.
Firestopping is, clearly, an extremely important part of a building’s construction. Firestop contractors face many of the same risks as other types of contractors (property damage, causing injuries on the jobsite, worker injures, etc.). What’s more, your work takes on particular significance because it is designed to protect people from dangerous fires. If a firestop system fails, it’s possible that you, the building architect, and other contractors who participated in the job could be sued and required to shell out huge financial payouts to injured parties.
Firestop contractor insurance protects your business from these and other risk exposures. When you work with an experienced independent insurance agent, he or she can find insurance companies who specialize in covering businesses like yours. You likely need a variety of property and liability insurance policies in order to be sure that you are protected.
General Liability Insurance for Firestop Contractors
Firestop contractors must carry commercial general liability (CGL) insurance. CGL insurance protects you from having to pay out of pocket for damage or legal fees if your services happen to cause damage to any of the homes or businesses you work on. It offers broad protection for a wide variety of negligence claims and lawsuits.
If, for example, a vendor slips and falls while delivering supplies to your business, your insurance will cover the cost of any related medical care, as well as any legal costs that may arise if the person sues you.
You face a variety of other liability risks as well. The equipment you use and the work that you do can be dangerous, and the process of installing firestop systems can result in damage to the building or even illnesses for residents or others on the premises. The customers, employees, or members of a customer's household can be injured by tripping or falling over tools, power cords, building materials, and scrap.
CGL policies also include product liability coverage. This covers you if one of the systems that you install is harmful to a customer or anyone else who comes into contact with it. Product liability insurance covers your financial responsibility for losses or injuries to a user, buyer, or bystander caused by a defect or malfunction of your product.
You also have “completed operations” exposures that are covered by your CGL policy. And let’s face it, if your work fails to actually do what it’s supposed to, you’re likely to face some serious repercussions. Depending on the nature of the failure, your CGL policy may respond.
Some clients may require proof that you have CGL coverage before they will work with you.
Your Need for Professional Liability Insurance
Any of the contractors involved in a given construction project may be held liable for problems with a firestop system. Owners, architects, design engineers, consultants, contractors, and suppliers can all be held responsible for bodily injuries or property damages that arise out of or related to the installation and design of a firestop system.
Although it’s often unclear who will be ultimately held responsible in these cases, one of the ways to protect yourself if you’re sued is with professional liability insurance.
Professional liability insurance can help you pay for lawsuits related to errors and omissions in your work. This may include errors in design work, breach of contract, non-compliance with the project specifications, breach of warranty, failure to warn, and other forms of professional negligence.
It can help you pay for attorney fees and court costs incurred to defend yourself, as well as any financial settlements or court-ordered judgements that you’re required to pay to the injured parties.
Property Insurance for Firestop Contractors
Firestop contractors need several types of property insurance to protect against property losses.
You likely have owned or leased office space or warehouse space where you perform administrative tasks and store all of your equipment, supplies, materials, vehicles, and more. Your physical space likely serves as a home base for your employees, and may be filled with valuable furniture, computer equipment, and other commercial property that is susceptible to theft, vandalism, fires, storms, and certain other causes of loss.
Commercial property insurance protects buildings and their contents, including computers, office equipment, furniture, and all of your commercial property (whether it is owned or leased) if it is damaged by fire, smoke, theft, vandalism, or some other covered peril. If, for examples, someone vandalizes the outside of your building, breaks in, and steals tools and equipment, your commercial property policy will help to pay for the repairs to your building, as well as the cost of replacing and stolen or damaged property.
If you sustain damage that forces you to temporarily close or relocate, business interruption coverage will reimburse you for ongoing expenses (rent, salaries, etc.) and lost income during the closure or relocation period.
You may also need additional property coverage for your business. Talk to your independent insurance agent about your need for the following.
- Flood or hurricane insurance: Your basic commercial property policy does not cover flood or hurricane damage. Talk to your agent about flood and hurricane insurance if you're located in an area that is prone to these events.
- Employee crime and dishonesty coverage: This protects your business from the costs of theft, dishonesty, and fraudulent acts committed by an individual employee or a group of employees. It provides coverage for forgery, alteration, theft, unauthorized electronic funds transfers, credit card fraud, computer fraud, money order fraud, and counterfeit fraud.
You also need coverage for your contractors’ equipment, tools, firestopping materials, and supplies that are in transit from job to job and that are in use or stored at a jobsite. Inland marine insurance covers these tools, equipment, and supplies as they are in transit.
Commercial Auto Insurance for Firestop Contractors
Your work crews travel from jobsite to jobsite in commercial vehicles owned by your business. Your commercial vehicles must be covered with commercial auto insurance. If one of your drivers causes an accident, it covers bodily injury and property damage that the driver is at fault for.
Commercial vehicle insurance covers your cars, trucks, and any other vehicles you use for business. In addition to liability coverage, it provides collision, comprehensive, and uninsured motorist coverage.
Your commercial auto insurance can be tailored to your needs, and your coverage and premiums will be based on how your vehicles are used and who drives them. Each vehicle owned by your business or used for business purposes can be listed separately on your business auto policy, with corresponding coverage for each vehicle that can differ depending on the vehicle’s characteristics and the coverage it requires.
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Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Firestop Contractors
Your workers may be exposed to a wide variety of accidents, injuries, and illnesses resulting from their work. They work on ladders and scaffolding, in cramped spaces, with dangerous equipment. They risk severe injury or death from falling, being struck by other objects, or being injured by the equipment and tools that they’re using.
If one of your employees gets injured while on the job, you’re responsible for paying for his or her medical expenses. What’s more, he or she may not be able to work until fully recovered, leaving the employee without his or her income.
Workers’ compensation insurance protects your employees and your business from the costs associated with work-related injuries and illnesses. It provides coverage for medical care and income protection for an injured worker while he or she is unable to work. Workers’ compensation insurance also helps protect employers from lawsuits by injured employees. .
How Much Does Firestop Contractor Insurance Cost?
Your costs for firestop contractor insurance will vary depending on the unique characteristics of your business, such as the location, the number of employees, the value of your commercial property (building plus contents), whether or not you own your building, and how many vans or commercial vehicles you own and operate.
Firestop contractor insurance could cost several thousands of dollars per year, or more. The amount of coverage you need and the deductibles you choose also impact your insurance costs.
Find and Compare Quotes
An independent insurance agent can work with you one-on-one to determine the types and amounts of coverage you need. Your agent can get quotes from multiple insurance companies so you can evaluate the cost and coverage options and make the best choice.
Benefits of an Independent Agent
Our agents simplify the search process for finding the right firestop contractor insurance. They’ll walk you through the handpicked policy options and explain the details and options.
Most importantly, they’ll be there for you when claim time comes. They know the ins and outs of the process and will make sure your claim is handled appropriately.
The Lowdown on Online Quotes
Online quotes can be tempting. They are fast and easy to get — but are they accurate? And are you getting quotes for the right coverage? For business owners, choosing speed over accuracy can cost you.
Online quotes can’t and don’t see the whole picture. They can omit important coverage that will leave you devastated if something unexpected happens. And they can leave out cost-saving opportunities that an agent can help you take advantage of.
Instead of getting an online quote, find an independent insurance agent now, and get one-on-one consultation and affordable options for the best coverage for your unique needs.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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