We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: certificate of insurance services are hugely important documents. If you’re not sure what a COI is or are still confused about the details, don’t worry; our team of industry experts is here to provide the support that you need!
Certificates of insurance (COIs) most commonly fill the role of providing evidence of someone’s insurance coverage. They do this by summarizing a policy in a standardized, one-page format that is easy for companies, policyholders, vendors/contractors, and insurance providers alike to parse through and understand.
COIs are important because they help businesses remain compliant and reduce their likelihood of dealing with costly claims. It’s important to verify the coverage of every new vendor you hire by asking them for a COI and ensuring that it meets your standards for a job.
In this blog, we aim to bust some common COI myths and provide helpful information so you can move forward in your journey with COIs with confidence. Let’s dive in.
Can I Make My Own COI?
Let’s begin with a classic COI misconception: you absolutely cannot make your own!
Insurance providers are notoriously particular about many things, but this is one that ultimately makes a lot of sense. When attempting to verify someone’s insurance coverage, you wouldn’t want them to be able to whip up a document that falsely depicts them as having coverage that they don’t. That’s why only insurance agents are trusted to issue these critical documents.
Upon receiving the ask for a COI from a hiring party, a policyholder looking to showcase evidence of their coverage will go to the insurer providing it for them and ask them to issue a COI. Then, upon its generation, they can provide this COI to their prospective hirer, and it will validly act as evidence of their coverage.
Why Do Companies Request COI?
The correct way to navigate through the world of COIs is to request them from every vendor and third-party service provider that you wish to work with.
Asking a vendor for a COI is referred to as “making a COI request.” This doesn’t have to be a hugely formal process, but a COI request form is the ideal way to lay out any requirements you have of the people that you choose to hire.
This makes COIs more than just an insurance verification tool but a helpful process for deciding whether or not it makes sense for two parties to work together based on their needs, level of coverage, and more.
How Do I Ask A Vendor For COI?
Now that we’ve explained how important it is to request a COI from a vendor so that they can work with their insurance provider to generate it, let’s get into the details of how actually to do so.
To ask a vendor for a COI, it’s a best practice to prepare a template that you can use for other COI requests in the future. Typically, companies produce these on the official company letterhead, and they’ll include the following details:
- An opening statement disclosing that they are asking a vendor for a COI and specifying which type of policy they need evidence of.
- Their vendor requirements, such as “must have a minimum coverage of…” or “must have coverage through…”
- A cordial closing expressing thanks for a vendor’s time.
Once the document is complete, double-check the details and ensure that you’re sending it to the right policyholder. You can send the request however you wish, although digital communications have become a popular method.
When Should I Ask For A COI?
Be sure to send your COI Insurance request ahead of when you’d like to begin working with someone. There’s nothing worse than taking a bet on someone without proper insurance verification, letting them start a job, and getting into a world of trouble when accidents are caused before compliant coverage is confirmed.
How Long Does It Take To Receive A COI?
Thankfully, it typically doesn’t take too long to receive a COI after your initial request. Here’s how the process goes:
- You (hiring/verifying party) meet a vendor you’d like to work with. You send them a COI request in order to do your due diligence and mitigate your level of liability by verifying their coverage.
- They (the policyholder/hired party) want to work with you, so they read your request and book an appointment with their insurance provider (or they do this whole thing digitally!).
- The insurance provider (for the policyholder for the policy in question) will read your request and ensure that the coverage meets your requirements. They’ll then generate an official COI and deliver it back to the policyholder, usually within a few days.
- The policyholder will return the document to you (who then officially becomes the “certificate holder”) for you to look over!
I Have a COI in My Hands… What Now?
Uncertain about what happens next? This is the part where you look at a COI and make sure that it meets your needs. Once verified, you can begin your business relationship with confidence that you won’t be dealing with unnecessary downstream risks in the future.
You’ll also want to make sure that you keep up this process for other future hires and create a strategy for all of the COI requesting, verifying, renewal, and management you may ultimately have to take on. Learn how myCOI makes all of this easy and can help you streamline your COI management efforts today. Call us today if you’re ready to hear more.