HVAC contractors make sure that individuals, families, and businesses can regulate the temperature inside their homes and buildings. Should a heater break down in the middle of winter, or an air conditioning unit need preparation for summer, HVAC contractors are there to make sure customers can be as warm or cool as they'd like. Working on other people's property and with expensive equipment can be risky, so is your business properly prepared in the event of an accident?
Whether you're a residential or commercial HVAC contractor, an independent insurance agent can obtain HVAC contractor insurance quotes from multiple insurance companies so you can find a competitive rate. The agent can advise you on which contractor insurance policies provide adequate protection for your business.
What Risks Does an HVAC Contractor Face?
When you're providing a service to someone else, working on someone else's property, and working with a variety of tools and equipment, there's a lot at stake. As a contractor, you're responsible for what happens before, during, and after a job, as well as your customers' property that you're working on.
What would happen to your reputation and business if any of the following happened and you weren't properly insured?
- While working on a customer's heating unit, you accidentally make a hole in the wall.
- You or an employee slips and falls while on the job and needs stitches.
- You work on a heating unit and make a mistake and it results in a fire in the customer's home.
All of these scenarios can be costly to your business, so making sure you have the proper insurance means a mistake or accident won't cost you your entire business.
Start Your Business off with Workers' Compensation Insurance
As an HVAC contractor, your work is all about your employees. You don't have a storefront with people coming in and out, but you do have employees traveling to job sites, working in people's homes or in business buildings, and running a variety of risks of bodily injury. In addition, employees are working with complicated materials and units and run the risk of getting cuts, burns, and other injuries.
Most states require business owners who have employees to carry workers' compensation insurance. Even if your business isn't located in one of these states, it's a very good idea to have it.
By covering medical expenses, lost wages, and even death benefit payments to family members in the event that an injury is fatal, this insurance shields your business from the risk of liability lawsuits related to workers’ injuries.
An experienced independent insurance agent can help you find a workers' compensation company that will understand the risks faced by your HVAC contractor business and that can provide you with tips for worker safety.
Continue to Build Your Insurance Portfolio with Liability Insurance
At the very least, your business should be covered with liability insurance. It provides protection against claims of property damage or bodily injury. It pays for the costs of third-party medical care or property repair. It covers your legal defense if someone sues you, and pays claims or judgments up to the limits of your policy.
Talk with your independent insurance agent to discuss the following coverages in your liability insurance:
- Coverage for completed operations: Imagine if you were called in to repair a heating unit and you accidentally exposed a wire that led to an electrical fire, causing a fire in the customer's home. The homeowner could sue you for the cost of the damage to the house. This would cover your liability in that situation.
- Product liability coverage: A client asks for a cleaning supply for their vents and has an allergic reaction. Product liability coverage protects you if you get sued.
- Premises liability coverage: Chances are you have an office. If a customer or subcontractor is in your office, slips and falls, and needs medical attention, premises liability coverage will step in.
- Commercial auto insurance: If an employee is driving to or from a job site and gets in a car accident, commercial auto insurance will cover the damage.
- Umbrella insurance: Insurance companies impose limits on how much liability coverage they are willing to offer. If you feel that your limits are too low, you can supplement your portfolio with umbrella insurance, which provides you with extra liability insurance for all of your policies that include liability coverage. Talk to your independent insurance agent to discover just how affordable this extra coverage can be.
Additional Insurance Coverage for HVAC Contractors
Now that you've got a solid foundation of coverage, you'll want to work with your independent agent to determine additional insurance policies that your business can benefit from. This includes a variety of coverages to protect your property.
Your business property can be very expensive to replace, so it is important that you purchase the right insurance policies to get coverage against loss, damage or theft. Be sure to look into:
- Property insurance: Your business property will be covered as part of your business owners insurance policy. This insurance covers your business building or buildings and their contents against loss or damage caused by a covered event. Coverage typically includes rented or owned office buildings, warehouses, storage facilities, garages and other buildings, as well as office equipment, computers, inventory and, in most cases, tools and equipment.
- Equipment breakdown insurance: If you rely on expensive power tools or equipment to get the job done, a malfunction can really affect your bottom line. This insurance provides coverage for repair or replacement, as well as the cost of renting temporary equipment until repairs can be completed.
- Inland marine insurance: This insures your tools and equipment while they are being transported to and from your job sites, as well as while they are being used on-site. This coverage is particularly important if you store your tools and equipment in your truck or work van.
- Extra expenses insurance: If a disaster strikes and causes significant damage to your central office, you will, fortunately, still be able to continue operations, since HVAC jobs are done off-site. However, you may find that you need to rent temporary office space where you can handle administrative work until your main office is repaired. This insurance absorbs these extra costs so your business doesn't suffer a financial hardship.
- Employee dishonesty insurance: If an employee should steal any equipment, tools, or cash from your business, or burglarize a customer's house, this insurance will pay for any financial damage related to the event.
Commercial HVAC Contractor Insurance
Policies are different for small vs. large commercial contractors. Sometimes, for large projects or those that might take more than a year to complete, a contractor will have a wrap-up and purchase commercial contractor insurance (liability and building risk) that covers all subcontractors.
Of course, this means bids for the job from subs come in a bit lower, since their commercial contractor insurance is covered. This is done for large commercial projects, such as the construction of school buildings or football stadiums.
Let an Independent Insurance Agent Help You Build Your HVAC Contractors Insurance Portfolio
Building a suitable insurance portfolio for your business can be a complicated process. By ensuring that you have all the coverage types you need and that you have purchased sufficient amounts of coverage, you can protect your business finances from losses that could potentially bankrupt your company.
An independent insurance agent in the Trusted Choice network can provide the answers. These agents can help you build a suitable insurance portfolio designed to cover your business’s unique exposures. Find an agent near you to start comparing quotes on various HVAC contractor insurance policies.