Protect Yourself from Liability & Other Risks

Share This:

Not all contractors are created equal 

Protect Yourself from Contractor NeglegenceWhen it comes to choosing who you work with on your home improvement project, you may be thinking about how to get the best price but you should also be thinking about how to protect yourself from financial and non-financial risks.

MISTAKE – Many people assume that because a company is in business, they have the necessary liability insurance to cover the work they do.? In far too many cases, this isn’t true at all and it’s usually too late when a homeowner finds this out.? Assuming a contractor has adequate coverage for accidents and liabilities is a dangerous assumption to make because ultimately the homeowner can be found liable for any construction related accidents during the project or installation.  

Make sure you know whether the contractors you are considering are companies with a physical place of business or if they’re simply contractors who work out of their truck.  If it’s a company with a physical location, do they hire their own employees or do they contract the work out to independent contractors?  Also consider whether they are a local company. Contractors will drive long distances to write contracts but may not be as willing to drive those same long distances if you need service on your products.

The answers to these questions can have a huge impact on whether you are liable if a worker is injured on the job. Choosing the right contractor can also protect you from scams or shoddy work that you have to pay to have repaired.

In general, you are most protected from liability, scams, and shoddy workmanship if you choose a contractor that has a physical place of business AND hires their own employees.  Here are some reasons why this is the safest route:

  1. When a business hires employees, they are required to carry Workman’s Compensation  insurance to cover any medical costs in the event that a worker is injured on the job. Don’t put yourself at risk by overlooking this critical coverage because  your homeowner’s insurance may not cover these expenses.

  2. A contracting business is required to carry General Liability insurance.  In the case of damage to your property by the company’s employees, the company’s General Liability policy covers the cost of repairs. These repairs would not typically be covered by your homeowner’s insurance if your contractor did not have General Liability insurance.

  3. When you make your down payment to a contractor that has a physical business location, especially a local one, it is highly unlikely that the company will, or even could, “take your money and run”. With a local, physical business you have some assurance that you can always find and contact them.

  4. With a company that hires its own employees, the company itself is responsible for quality control in materials and workmanship . The company remains responsible throughout and after a project is completed and the workers are gone. With independent contractors, it can be difficult to get resolution if you have issues or problems once the job is complete and they have their money.

  5. Likewise with project scheduling; an independent contractor may be juggling multiple jobs but can only be on one jobsite at a time.  This slows down your project and can make you that your project is not getting the attention it deserves. Working with a company that hires employees allows them to dictate where and when their crews work, giving you the assurance that your project will be completed in a timely manner.

Home Town Restyling has been serving the Iowa communities of Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Hiawatha, Marion, and Dubuque for over 25 years from their location in Hiawatha, Iowa.

If you’re considering a contractor for an upcoming project, call us today at (800) 397-0026.  We’d be happy to discuss options, project estimates and advise you on how best to approach your home improvement project.  You can contact us for more information or if you’re project time frame is right around the corner, you can request a free estimate today.