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New roof and liability insurance
Old 08-15-2007, 09:40 PM   #1
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New roof and liability insurance

I am getting quotes on reroofing the house. Articles that I read say that I should make sure the roofing contractor has both workers comp and general liability insurance. The two low bids are from contractor A who has both types of insurance. The bid from contractor B is lower by $1400 but he has only workers comp insurance.

I am told by my insurance agent that my homeowners insurance should cover both types of issues and that my umbrella policy will extend the policy limits. He told me that workers comp covers the workers while they are doing roofing-related work but that the general liability would be needed to cover workers for non-work related injuries (like tripping over a hose,etc.)or the general public for any injuries on the property.

Contractor B says the major risks are from tearing up the roof and also
loading the new roofing material onto the roof and I think he said these are subcontractors who carry general liability insurance. We live next to
an elementary school which will probably be back in session while this work is going on.

Am I crazy for being tempted to go w/ contractor B?
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Old 08-15-2007, 10:02 PM   #2
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I am no expert in this area but General Liability insurance covers damage he may do to YOU! Frankly I think the contractor with both types of insurance would be the person I would choose. The fact that s/he has that may also reflect on the care they exercise in their work overall.

Worker's Comp is an absolute requirement.
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Old 08-15-2007, 10:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
New roof and liability insurance
I clicked on this post just to see how these subjects could be related...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
I am getting quotes on reroofing the house. Articles that I read say that I should make sure the roofing contractor has both workers comp and general liability insurance. The two low bids are from contractor A who has both types of insurance. The bid from contractor B is lower by $1400 but he has only workers comp insurance.
Am I crazy for being tempted to go w/ contractor B?
Sounds like you're adequately covered by either one, and there's not necessarily enough other information to decide which contractor is giving you better value for their price.

If the job is a $25K cedar shake roof then I'd go with "A" because $1400 isn't much of a difference and you can demand a bit more care & quality (or get a price break). If this is a $7K job then I'd be very hesitant to go with the guy who's bidding 20% lower. So I guess it works out to "A" in both situations...
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:56 AM   #4
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If you are concerned, ask to see the roofer's policy to make sure it is active and up todate. A reputable contractor should have no problem with this.
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Old 08-16-2007, 09:05 AM   #5
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If you are concerned, ask to see the roofer's policy to make sure it is active and up todate. A reputable contractor should have no problem with this.

Ask them for a certificate of insurance and call the company to make sure it is real. My parents did major renovations a couple years ago and were given a fake certificate of insurance by a contractor which they thankfully caught (and then fired him)

If you're unsure, talk to your homeowners agent and have him look over their certs.
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Old 08-16-2007, 09:10 AM   #6
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Worker's comp, home owners (which has a liability component in most cases), AND an umbrella ! That's alot of coverage ... take the lower bid; you'll need it to keep up with all the insurance premiums.
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Old 08-16-2007, 01:58 PM   #7
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Worker's comp, home owners (which has a liability component in most cases), AND an umbrella ! That's alot of coverage ... take the lower bid; you'll need it to keep up with all the insurance premiums.

So he should just take on the risk bare of one of the workers injuring themselves in his house?

Not a smart move. If a company doesn't care enough to insure themselves, imagine what care they're going to take on doing your roof?
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Old 08-16-2007, 02:56 PM   #8
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Frankly I question the advice given the home-owner's insurance agent. Most home-owner's insurance policies do no provide coverage of a Worker's Compensation nature. That is an absolute, drop dead, requirement for any contractor that would work on my home.

For the life of me I don't understand how my home-owner's insurance would protect me from damage caused by my contractor. Damage happens. I want to know that if damage occurred the contractor had an insurer standing behind him or her, and I would verify that the policy is in place at the start of work. I have heard that general contractors 'lock' that policy for the duration of the work.

The other insurance to consider is the warranty of the roofing material manufacturer. Have you checked to see that the contractor is an approved applicator? Verify this with the material provider and get it in writing!!

Maybe I am being anal here, maybe the project isn't a big one, but a roof is one of the sources of water intrusion. The cost of a installation that is slip-shod is much more than the difference in their bids. That is not to say that the higher bidder is the better installer.
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Old 08-16-2007, 04:44 PM   #9
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Thanks to all for the helpful replies. After I post this, I'm off to pick up copies of my H.O. and umbrella policies. As with Brat, I was surprised to hear my agent say that my policies had workers comp covered also . Perhaps there was some mutual misunderstanding on both our parts. I found a very old umbrella policy that appears to rule out workers comp specifically. Perhaps my H.O. covers it but only up to 100K? I'll chase that down. Anyway both contractors appear to have workers comp (though I'll have to make sure that's real as Saluki9 pointed out) so I'm more concerned now with my liability vs their liability policies.

Right now my impression is that their liability covers damage to my property
and to me which mine doesn't. I also have the impression that both of
our policies cover the workers (when not doing work stuff, like if they trip over a hose, etc.) , and visitors to my home .

My thinking right now is that if my liability covers the people and their workers comp covers that workers for on the job injuries, that I might be willing to take the risk for property damage. Both companies were rated very highly in a regional consumer report. If the difference in the quotes were much smaller, I would be less tempted to take the risk.

A mini analogy: car rental insurance
1) pay the cost of the daily insurance from the rental company or
2) use my auto insurance

In 1) I have to pay extra for the insurance, often a "large" number when compared to normal annual insurance rates/365day in yr but if I am in an
accident, it will stay off my personal auto insurance record

In 2) I don't pay extra for their insurance but I use my existing policy that
I am already paying for. However, if I get into an accident in the rental car, my personal auto rates will probably go up.

I'm guessing that most? people do 1)?

Of course in the roof case, we're talking liability and possible larger consequences.

A third roofer came today. If I'm lucky, he'll be the low bid w/ all insurance
in hand.
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Old 08-16-2007, 06:44 PM   #10
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their liability covers damage to my property
and to me which mine doesn't.
The contractor is not going to make a claim for this ... neither should you. Just hold the final payment until they correct any wrong doing.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
...
A mini analogy: car rental insurance
1) pay the cost of the daily insurance from the rental company or
2) use my auto insurance

In 1) I have to pay extra for the insurance, often a "large" number when compared to normal annual insurance rates/365day in yr but if I am in an
accident, it will stay off my personal auto insurance record

In 2) I don't pay extra for their insurance but I use my existing policy that
I am already paying for. However, if I get into an accident in the rental car, my personal auto rates will probably go up.

I'm guessing that most? people do 1)?

Of course in the roof case, we're talking liability and possible larger consequences.

A third roofer came today. If I'm lucky, he'll be the low bid w/ all insurance
in hand.
Maybe the third roofer has all insurance and is between the two on the low side. Check your condo assn rules about insurance provided by contractors.

Because DH and I rent cars regularly we buy a rider on our auto insurance to cover rental cars - it is cheap. If we have an accident we would probably be impacted even if we opted for the rental car insurance.

Don't forget the certificate from the roofing material provider if you are in any way counting on a roof warranty.
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