What You Need to Know about Liability and Hiring Help
It can be very tempting to log into sites like Craigslist and find individuals who will do work around your house for next to nothing in fees, but hiring an unlicensed, un-bonded and uninsured company or individual could be like loading your home with ticking time bombs that home insurance won’t reimburse you for.
No matter how well you vet the references and experience of the individuals you invite into your home to work for you, you can never truly know how trustworthy they are. And if a valuable antique, electronic device, cash or piece of jewelry is missing after that individual has been in your home, you could be out thousands of dollars unless they are bonded.
A home insurance policy may not reimburse you for items that are stolen by people you hire to work in your home. But when that individual is bonded, the company that bonded them will pay for losses if the individual is convicted of theft.
Home insurance generally covers you if a visitor is injured in your home, but a maid, gardener or other service personnel is not considered a visitor and some home insurance companies will not pay claims if these individuals are injured while working in or around your home. That is why it is important to hire individuals or companies that have their own liability insurance coverage. Without that, you could get sued for lost wages, medical expenses and other damages.
As the home owner, it is still imperative that you offer all home service personnel a safe place to work both inside and outside the home because even if they have insurance, injuries that arise from your negligence may not be covered by their liability insurance and you could be sued.
For service providers like contractors, liability insurance is also important because they may hire several people to complete work around your home as part of the project, and if they don’t have a liability policy to cover them it simply exposes you to more personal financial risk.
Some service providers, such as contractors, may need to obtain a license to operate their business in compliance with state and federal laws. But that license does more than offer the wholesome comfort of compliance; it also insinuates that they know what they are doing when they work around your home and for skilled work, that is important. Your home insurance policy may not cover damages that extend from an unlicensed contractor’s shoddy workmanship and with damages including such all-encompassing possibilities as fires, this could put you in dire straits simply because you wanted to save some money.
There is no question that hiring unlicensed, un-bonded and uninsured help around your house exposes you to phenomenal financial loss that your home insurance policy may not cover, but remember—it’s not enough to simply ask the person or company that you hire whether or not they are licensed, bonded and insured. You need to call their insurance company and the bond company and check their license status through your state’s contractor’s licensing board in order to verify their claims, and cement your protection.
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