Painters insurance is expensive. It is actually much more expensive then many other trades. The justification I have been given by several different insurance companies is “because most painters work at tall heights”. This may be true because one of the few trades with higher work comp premiums then painters is roofers.
It may be because of the expense that so many painters either don’t have coverage or they say they do when in fact they don’t. Many states mandate that contractors have adequate coverage. It varies from state to state but there is a flourishing market in fake insurance certificates. So how do you as a consumer protect yourself from the fakers?
It’s easy! I just mentioned insurance certificates. That is a document stating basic business information like business name and address and most importantly it will state the type and amounts of coverage the business has and when it expires. The fakery comes into play when a business has a forged copy of a insurance certificate that they show to the customer, should they ask. This is a huge gamble by the business i.e. painter and most customers don’t ask about insurance coverage and when they do they just drop it when they are told “we are fully insured”.
I had a customer one time that did ask about what insurance coverage we had. He went on further to ask about the name of the insurance company and after a few more questions I stopped him and pointed out how his line of questioning was unusual coming from a customer. Well he was an insurance agent and he went on to tell me a horror story about a contractor flashing a fake insurance certificate that happened to have a big accident while working on his home. It wasn’t a painter it was a roofer.
To protect yourself all you need to do is request an insurance certificate. An authentic certificate is issued directly from the insurance company to you. You can have it mailed, emailed, faxed, etc. By eliminating the middleman (contractor) you eliminate the fakery. An extra layer of protection is to call the insurance company and verify the coverage. This is a good idea if the email comes from firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.
So what you are looking for is liability and workers compensation coverage. The liability coverage covers damage to your home or belongings and the workers compensation takes care of medical coverage for employees on the job should they become injured. Most states exclude business owners from carrying workers compensation coverage on themselves but by law they must have it on employees. A one man show may have liability coverage but no workers compensation coverage. That’s legal. Should that person get hurt while working on your property there is no safety net to cover him or you. If there are employees the workers compensation is mandated. Don’t buy the line that the employees are “sub contractors” and excluded. When there is a problem all that sub contractor nonsense goes out the window.
Accidents related to paint contracting work are rare but they do happen. No one is immune to accidents. The best course of action is to make sure the coverage is there before any potential problems occur.