If your business wants to avoid expensive litigation and costly insurance claims, you’ll need to become familiar with certificates of insurance.
A certificate of insurance, or COI for short, isn’t just any document. It’s a crucial element of keeping your company protected.
If you hire subcontractors, work with vendors, or deal with any third parties who could potentially expose your company to risk by causing injuries or damages while on the job, certificates of coverage insurance will become hugely important to your business.
To reduce the chances of being held financially responsible for claims and damages caused by non-compliant third parties, you must require them to 1) procure insurance and 2) prove their coverage status. How do they do this? You guessed it: through a certificate of insurance.
In this blog, we’ll cover the details that are necessary for certificates of insurance and how you can go about obtaining one. Follow along for COI requirements and best practices.
What Information Must Be Included in a Certificate Of Insurance?
A certificate of insurance provides essential details about a policyholder’s insurance coverage to a requesting party, such as a contractor, landlord, or other hiring party. The necessary information may differ depending on the requirements of the requesting party, but there are some standard items that typically show up in COIs.
Here are a few pieces of information that almost always must be included in a certificate of insurance:
- Policyholder information. This section of the COI typically includes the name and contact information of the policyholder, as well as the relevant policy or account numbers.
- Insurance company information. Policyholders will need to provide their insurance company or broker’s information to denote who is providing them with the coverage in question.
- Policy information. This is the section where all of the policy details will go, including but not limited to the type of insurance coverage, the policy limits (i.e. the maximum amount of coverage available under the policy), effective dates, and expiration dates. They’ll also need to provide the type of insurance they have, such as general liability, workers’ compensation, etc.
Here are a few pieces of information that sometimes must be included in a certificate of insurance:
- Additional insureds. If requested, a COI may include information about a party that is added to the policyholder’s insurance policy in order to receive coverage, also known as an additional insured. To add an additional insured to a policy, the policyholder will need to provide the name and contact information of the party, as well as any specific coverage requirements that they may have.
- Waiver of Subrogation. Sometimes, a COI may be required to include a waiver of subrogation or an agreement by the insurer not to seek reimbursement from a third party for a claim covered by the policy. This means that the insurer will waive their right to recover damages from another party that may be responsible for a loss covered by the policy. As an example, these waivers can be used to protect landlords to protect their interests should a loss happen. They are broadly used across any industry type.
- Endorsements. Any relevant policy endorsements, which are changes or additions to a policy that modify the terms and conditions of the coverage, must be included in the certificate of insurance as well. This will ensure that the requesting party is aware of any modifications to the policy that may affect their interests.
How to Get a COI or Certificate of Insurance?
As a business that works with subcontractors and vendors, to obtain their certificate of insurance, you will simply need to ask for it. Of course, managing several to several hundred COIs can be challenging and time-consuming. That’s where myCOI can help automate and optimize your COI management to ensure compliance across all hired parties.
It is crucial that all of the COIs you receive from various parties are complete and accurate so that everyone is adequately protected in the event of a loss. The requesting party of a COI should always review the certificate thoroughly and can always look at the actual insurance policy (rather than the COI, which is just proof of coverage) if needed.
If you are the subcontractor or vendor, your idea of getting a COI is a little bit different. Let’s discuss the steps required for obtaining a certificate of insurance as a policyholder.
If you are a third-party vendor or sub-contractor, first, you’ll reach out to your insurance provider, who can provide you with the necessary guidance related to obtaining your certificate. Next, you’ll give them the required information about yourself and your policy, as we’ve outlined above. After including any additional requirements, special instructions, or endorsements, you can request the COI from your insurance provider.
Once you receive the certificate, you should review it carefully. If there are any errors or omissions, be sure to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to have them corrected. Then, once you’ve approved the document, you’ll provide the COI to the certificate holder as requested, or your agent/broker can provide it directly to the hiring party.
Stay on top of Your Stack of Certificates with myCOI
We offer COI tracking solutions serving all kinds of industries – from construction to commercial and residential property management to franchise management to education, hospitality, retail, and more. Learn how we can help you stay on top of your COI management by booking a demo today.