The glass contractor industry consists of decorative glass and mirror installers, glazing contractors, glass cladding installers, stained glass installers, glass coating and tinting contractors, window pane or sheet installers, and glass installation contractors. These contractors work on new building construction and on improvements to existing buildings. If you are an independent glass or glazing contractor or if you own a business that subcontracts this sort of work, you will want to be sure to protect your business finances with a suitable glass contractors insurance portfolio.
Glass and Glazing Contractors in the U.S.: 2014 Industry Facts From IBISWorld
- There are nearly 22,000 glass and glazing contractor businesses operating in the U.S.
- These glass and glazing contractor firms employ approximately 68,000 people.
- The framing contractor industry generates about $11 billion in revenue each year.
Liability Insurance: A Crucial Part of Your Glass Contractors Insurance Portfolio
Without a doubt, the most important part of your coverage portfolio is liability insurance because, legally, you cannot work without it. It is required of those who want to be licensed and certified in some states. Those who hire you to do glass work on their building or project will demand proof of liability insurance before they will allow you to start the job.
If you are doing subcontracting work, the general contractor who hired you will most likely require that you name them as an additional insured on your liability policy for the duration of the glass installation job. Similarly, if you hire subcontractors to work for you, you should require them to name you on their liability policies. Through this hierarchy, coverage is complete all the way up the line of responsibility.
If you are sued, liability insurance protects your business finances by covering legal defense, court costs and financial damages, but you have to be sure you have the right types of coverage. Talk to your independent insurance agent about:
- Commercial general liability insurance: This insurance provides coverage for many of the liability exposures you face as a glass or glazing contractor. This insurance covers financial costs associated with injuries and property damage that you may cause to third-party interests while doing your glass work. What this insurance will not cover, however, is damage you cause to your own property or interests due to incompetence or other forms of negligence perpetrated by you or your employees. You may have minimum coverage amounts imposed on you by your client.
- Commercial auto liability insurance: As a glass contractor, you likely have a company-owned vehicle or fleet of vehicles specially equipped to handle transporting glass sheets. Often, they also include storage space and an area for working. For these vehicles, you would be required to carry a commercial auto insurance policy. In the event that your employees occasionally use personally owned vehicles to run work-related errands, a hired or non-owned vehicle insurance policy protects your business from liability charges if any employees are in an accident.
- Employment practices liability coverage: This insurance protects your business interests if an employee or former employee sues your glass contracting firm for an illegal business practice such as wrongful termination or discrimination.
- Umbrella insurance coverage: Because mistakes made on the job can result in serious property damage or injuries to others, the liability coverage limits provided by your commercial general liability insurance may not be sufficient to fully protect your business interests after an accident. Furthermore, many general contractors will impose minimum liability coverage requirements on subcontractors, and these requirements may exceed your insurance policy’s limits. This is where umbrella insurance comes in. It provides extra liability insurance for all of your liability coverage types and will pick up and provide coverage where your other insurance leaves off.
Workers' Compensations Coverage Is a Requirement for Glass Contractors
Workers' compensation insurance is required of employers by most states, but even if your business is located in a state that does not require it, you will need to carry this coverage. This is because the contractor or business that hires you will demand that you have it, as it protects them as well as you. Expect your client to ask you to obtain a waiver of subrogation, which can provide them with some protection in the event of a work-related injury.
Workers' compensation provides medical and lost wages coverage to your employees in the event that they are injured while on the job. It also provides a death benefit to survivors if a worker under your employ suffers a fatal injury while on the clock. As glass contract work frequently requires workers to use scaffolding and to work at great heights, the risk of serious workplace injuries is high, so it is important that you have this coverage to prevent the likelihood of lawsuits stemming from employee injures.
Of course, keeping your workers safe is your number one priority. An experienced independent agent can find you an insurance company that is experienced with workers' compensation for those in the glass contractors industry and that can serve as a resource for safety protocols.
Make Certain Your Business Property Is Insured
Glass and glazing contractors rely more on skills than on tools and machinery; however, you will have some tools and other business property on the job site, and you will want to be sure that this property is properly insured.
If you have been hired to do glass installation work on a new building that is being constructed, the general contractor who hired you will have likely purchased a builders risk insurance policy. This insurance covers property located at the job site including, in most cases, the business property owned by your glass contracting firm.
If you are doing glass contract work on an existing building, or if you are working on a new building but are not covered by a builders risk insurance policy, you may need to purchase an installation floater, which is part of inland marine insurance. This insurance covers the materials that are being installed as well as the property and interests of the contractor, both on-site and while in transit, and lasts until the installation is complete.
You may also want to talk to your independent insurance agent about extra expense insurance. This coverage can be useful to your business if your central location or administrative office is damaged by a covered event and you must rent temporary office space such as a trailer until repairs can be made.
Independent Agents Can Help Glass Contractors Get the Right Insurance
When you are building your glass contractors insurance portfolio, you are likely to have a lot of questions. An independent insurance agent in the Trusted Choice® network can provide you with the answers. These agents can help you determine what types of coverage are right for your business and can then shop around for competitively priced policies that meet your needs. It is easy to find a Trusted Choice agent with an office near you. Contact one of these agents today to learn more and to start comparing quotes.