Small Business Tips for Your Handyman Venture
Everyone needs a repair person or handyman, at some point. If you are a handyperson and you are working at other people's homes for pay, you need handyman insurance. Even work like carpentry, plumbing, home maintenance, installation or electric work can fall under this category. Handyman insurance protects you from many of the specific risks of your trade. Handyman insurance is actually a package of coverage that you can customize to fit your needs when you have the right insurance agent to guide you.
Risks of the Handyman Trade
- Personal injury or property damage that you may cause others while working
- Damage to your tools and equipment during use, or while they are in transit from one job site to another
- Theft of equipment and tools
- Damage to the vehicle you use for business purposes, as well as injury to others you may cause
What Is Handyman Insurance?
Most handyman operations are small businesses. If you run a handyman service as an independent contractor or you have several employees, you will most likely need a business owners insurance policy, or BOP. If you have less then 100 employees and bill less than $5 million year, this type of policy may be right for you.
A BOP will typically cover the following:
- Business property: Damage to your own buildings and personal property
- Business interruption: Loss of income from a covered work stoppage
- General liability: Damage to the property of others or bodily injury to non-employees
You can also add relevant "floaters" to the business owners policy or as stand alone additions. These may include:
- Inland marine coverage: Covers owned or rented tools and equipment and tools in transit between job sites
- Crime or theft: Protects tools, equipment and vehicle in storage if stolen
Your agent would most likely recommend both of these coverages due to the nature of your work. Many handy people need a variety of tools and carry them from job to job in a truck or van. You need to protect your equipment from damage and theft.
Can I Carry Only General Liability Insurance?
If you do not have an office building or storage facility for your equipment and tools or do not need to insure payroll and operating expenses, you may be able to opt for a handyman liability insurance policy instead of the BOP. This would be a general liability policy that covers any bodily injury or damage you may cause to other people or their property.
Liability a big concern for repair workers, installers, painters and other home service people. Due to the use of power tools, electric saws and hand tools that can cause property damage or injury to others, it's a very good idea to have proper protection in place.
Check with an insurance agent to determine if you can carry just a general liability policy instead of full business owners coverage.
Do I Need Workers Compensation?
Workers compensation insurance covers you or your employees in the event of a work-related injury, illness or death. It also replaces a portion of the injured worker's income if a long or permanent absence is required for healing and rehabilitation.
Workers comp regulations vary by state. Carrying this coverage is usually not required if you are a sole proprietor, but in some states you must carry this coverage if you are in business, whether or not you have employees. If you do have staff, workers compensation is almost always required by state law. Even if you are a one-person operation, this coverage can protect you if you are injured and cannot work.
How Do I Insure My Vehicle?
Another important coverage to consider is commercial vehicle coverage. Whether you have a van or truck that you use specifically for commercial purposes, or you use your personal vehicle to drive to and from job sites, be sure to consult with a knowledgeable agent about whether you need commercial vehicle insurance. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners do not realize that a personal auto policy is often not applicable if an accident occurs while the vehicle is in use for commercial purposes.
A commercial vehicle policy will typically cover:
- Bodily injury and property damage liability
- Collision damage to your vehicle, regardless of fault
- Comprehensive, or "other than collision" loss, such as theft or damage from severe weather
You can add optional coverage such as uninsured/underinsured motorists insurance to protect you financially if you are in an accident caused by a driver who does not have sufficient insurance to cover your injuries or property damage.
Researching the Right Protection
Handyman insurance protection is a smart investment in your business if you do the right research and get a good policy that's matched to your needs and risks. You may need to do some research to locate the best insurer and policy package for you. Remember that each business is unique, and no one insurance policy is ideal for all people in your line of work. If you take the time to find an insurance agent you trust, you're all the more likely to find a policy that works for you.
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