Slate contractors primarily sell, install, repair, and maintain slate roofing and other exterior surfaces. Roofing contractors of any kind face a wide range of business risks, from employee injuries to causing property damage or injuries to third parties. What’s more, you risk loss to your property and equipment while your employees are out on the job.
Slate contractor insurance is critical for protecting your business from financial losses when your property is damaged, your employees are injured, or you’re sued for some type of negligence. An independent insurance agent can help you find the right business insurance coverage for your unique needs and budget.
Why Do You Need Slate Contractor Insurance?
Slate roofing is beautiful, durable, and functional. But it also has drawbacks that can heighten your risks. Slate roofing is extremely heavy, making the risks to your employees much greater than even the risks to a traditional roofing contractor. It may take up to two employees to lift a single slate shingle into place, all the while creating the possibility of injuries for everyone involved in every project. Because of its weight, slate can also cause damage to other structures of the building if it is not properly built to handle the excess weight.
There are a lot of other things that can go wrong on any slate roofing project, and the risks to your business are ever-present.
- What if a fire damages your shop, warehouse, or showroom?
- What if you damage a client’s home or personal property?
- What if you damage another contractor’s work?
- What if a worker falls off scaffolding or a roof and is seriously injured?
- What if your tools, equipment, and materials are stolen, lost, or damaged?
- What if you or an employee cause a homeowner or another individual to be injured, whether at your showroom or a jobsite
Worse yet, you could do your work exactly as promised, but still be sued by a cranky homeowner who can't be pleased for some type of failure or error. For these and many other reasons, you need slate contractor insurance to protect your livelihood at times when things go wrong.
Liability Insurance for Slate Contractors
Slate contractors face risks from all sides. You can run into trouble at your showroom, in a customer’s home or commercial building, driving to and from a jobsite, while you’re working, or after a project is completed.
You likely have multiple employees doing work in various locations. They likely drive your trucks, use your tools, and perform work in your name. Accidents can happen, property can be damaged, and people can get hurt.
Any time you perform work for and around the general public, you face a serious liability risk. In your line of work, property damage and injuries are not uncommon, and you need to be prepared to pay when you're at fault.
Several different types of business insurance policies can help.
- Commercial general liability (CGL) insurance: This protects you from the costs of liability claims and lawsuits. It can help you pay for property damage, medical bills, and attorney fees, court costs, settlements, and judgments. Most states require contractors to have a valid contractors liability insurance policy in place to get licensed, to bid on jobs, and to conduct any kind of construction operations on a roof.
You probably have at least one if not multiple trucks or work vehicles that you use to transport tools, equipment, and employees to and from jobsites.
- Commercial auto insurance: This covers your vehicles and drivers in the event of an accident or other types of vehicle damage.
Talk to your independent insurance agent to see if you need excess liability coverage, which acts as an add-on to the liability limits in your CGL, commercial auto, and other business liability policies.
- Commercial umbrella insurance: This can cover you for claims that exceed the limits of your other liability policies.
You might also want to consider professional liability insurance. This coverage may be appropriate for your business if you consult with customers and recommend specific products or treatments. It's designed to protect you from the high cost of legal claims if advice or recommendations you provide result in a loss for your customer.
Property Insurance for Slate Contractors
In addition to protecting your clients when things go wrong, you need to protect your own property, as well. If you have a showroom, an office space, or a warehouse, you need to be able to pay for repairs if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, smoke, vandalism, or severe weather.
What’s more, you need to protect your tools, equipment, and materials while they are in transit and while they are at a jobsite.
Talk to an independent insurance agent who can help you decide which of the following types of policies you need to protect your business property.
- Commercial property insurance: This covers your office space, showroom, warehouse, or other buildings and their contents from losses due to fire, theft, vandalism, wind, hail, and other losses that can occur.
- Business interruption insurance: This reimburses you for lost income and helps pay for certain ongoing expenses if you are temporarily unable to operate due to a covered loss (fire, weather, vandalism, etc.).
- Inland marine insurance: This protects your equipment, tools, portable computer equipment, and other supplies from theft, loss, or damage while they are in transit to and from worksites. It is especially important if you store your tools and equipment in your truck or other vehicle.
- Tools and equipment floater: This can normally be added to your property coverage. It covers any leased or owned specialized tools and equipment for your slate contractor business.
- Builders risk insurance: This covers your business property (tools, equipment, building materials) while at a construction site. It also covers the structure that is under construction.
Protect Your Employees with Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Keeping your employees safe form workplace injuries and illnesses should be a top priority. Your employees are exposed to a wide variety of injuries, including falls, heavy lifting injuries, crushed fingers and limbs, repetitive motion injuries, and more. These injuries can be debilitating, costly, and lead to decreased productivity and time away from work. Excessive workplace injuries can be financially devastating for your business.
Workers’ compensation: This coverage is required for most employers. It provides coverage for medical bills and lost wages when accidents or illnesses happen in the workplace.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits to injured workers regardless of who is at fault for an injury. If an employee crushes his hand while installing a slate shingle, workers' comp pays for medical expenses whether the employee was careless or you provided a faulty tool.
An experienced independent agent can help you learn about the workers’ compensation requirements in your state.
Do Slate Contractors Need Construction Bonds?
Construction bonds, or surety bonds, are also essential protections for contractors and those with whom they do business. Bonds are essential to finding, securing, and performing work on all kinds of construction projects, and are often required by the project owner in order for your bid to be accepted. They serve as a guarantee for various aspects of the bidding process and construction contract.
There are several different types of construction bonds or contractor bonds, and each guarantees a different aspect of the bidding process and the contract.
- Bid bonds assure the project owner that the contractor can obtain a performance bond should the bid be accepted.
- Performance bonds, or called completion bonds, promise that the contractor will perform the job as agreed upon in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract.
- Payment bonds promise that the job will be completed free of all liens (all subcontractors will be paid in accordance with the contract). Payment bonds can be obtained individually or together with a performance bond.
- License and permit bonds are often required by state, municipal, or federal ordinance as a condition for engaging in a particular business or exercising a particular privilege. Examples include performance bonds, payment bonds, customs bonds, tax bonds and warehouse bonds.
- Maintenance bonds are usually obtained for larger projects. They promise that the job will be completed free of defects for a specified period of time.
How Much Does Slate Contractor Insurance Cost?
Insurance for slate contractors can range from several hundreds of dollars per month to thousands. It depends on:
- The size of your business
- The number of employees
- The types of tools and equipment you own
- How many trucks and drivers you have
- The size and scope of the projects you take on
If you are a sole proprietor with a few employees, working primarily on small residential jobs, you can expect to pay far less for your business insurance than a large slate contractor with a showroom, multiple employees, and the ability to work on large industrial or commercial projects.
Ultimately the types and amounts of coverage you need to adequately cover your risks will dictate the cost of your coverage.
Find and Compare Quotes
An independent 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 slate contractor insurance. They’ll walk you through the handpicked policy options and explain the details.
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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