Certificates of Insurance
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What Is a Certificate of Insurance (COI)?
A certificate of insurance (COI) is issued by an insurance company or broker. The COI verifies the existence of an insurance policy and summarizes the key aspects and conditions of the policy. For example, a standard COI lists the policyholder's name, policy effective date, the type of coverage, policy limits, and other important details of the policy.
Without a COI, a company or contractor will have difficulty securing clients; most hirers will not want to assume the risk of any costs that might be caused by the contractor or provider.
A company that hires a contractor or another entity for services should obtain a copy of their COI and ensure it is up to date.
Understanding Certificates of Insurance
Certificates of Insurance is used in situations where liability and significant losses are of concern and require one, which is most business contexts. What is a certificate of insurance used for? Small-business owners and contractors often have a COI granting protection against liability for workplace accidents or injuries. The purchase of liability insurance will usually trigger the issuance of an insurance certificate.
Without a COI, a business owner or contractor may have difficulty winning contracts. Because many companies and individuals hire contractors, the client needs to know that a business owner or contractor has liability insurance so that they will not assume any risk if the contractor is responsible for damage, injury, or substandard work.
Validating a Certificate of Insurance
Typically, a client will request a certificate directly from the insurance company rather than the business owner or contractor. The client should confirm that the name of the insured on the certificate is an exact match of the company or contractor they are considering.
Also, the client should check the policy coverage dates to ensure that the effective date of the policy is current. The client should secure a new certificate if the policy is set to expire before the contracted work is complete.