Did You Check the Certificate of Insurance for Contractors Before Hiring a Roofer?

Homeowner Learning

Author:  Barbara Horwitz-Bennett | Septeber 29, 2023

When the roof is leaking, shingles need replacing or other problems arise that require professional roofing services, homeowners have a tendency to contract the fastest or lowest bidder. But before rushing into a project, it's essential to ensure that the roofing company you hire is licensed (if necessary) and has a valid certificate of insurance for contractors. Here's the documentation you should check for before hiring a new roofer.

Man wearing glasses and smiling while reading a piece of paper
A certificate of insurance for contractors and workers' compensation protects homeowners from being held accountable for injuries on a jobsite.

What Insurance Coverage Should Roofing Contractors Provide?

Every contractor should have full insurance coverage, including general liability — which covers property damage or injury to a nonworker — and workers compensation, which is mandatory in most areas.

Roofers can experience a number of jobsite injuries, from nail gun wounds to heatstroke and falling debris. Workers' compensation covers these on-the-job risks and more. On the other hand, general liability covers situations like accidental damage to your home from falling roofing debris or emergency care for someone who steps on a nail after the roofers have left the jobsite.

Additionally, if a mistake is made during a new roof installation or repair, the roofing company's general liability insurance will cover the cost of fixing the mistake. General liability coverage may insure $1 million per incident or a higher dollar amount mandated by the state or municipality.

Responsible, insured roofers tend to be more informed and familiar with safety standards and regulations, such as OSHA's guidance for roofers, and they take necessary precautions. This includes utilizing proper safety equipment, such as fall protection gear, and properly training workers to protect each other, their customers and their customers' property.

Ask for a Certificate of Insurance for Contractors You Hire

One way to easily check on your contractor's insurance is to ask for their certificate of insurance (COI). This document outlines the insurance coverage and insured parties in a short, easy-to-read fashion.

Keep in mind that not all states and provinces require roofers to provide proof of insurance, or to be formally registered with the local government. If you want your chosen contractor to provide proof of insurance, it's best to clearly state your requests when soliciting bids from roofing companies.

Ask About the Contractors' Roofing License

Along with insurance, homeowners should check that their roofer is properly licensed if the state requires it. A licensed and insured company offers expertise, proper training and knowledge of local building codes. If a roofer has successfully applied for a state license, that means they're a trained professional who can offer advice on roofing materials and repairs. Some states, such as Georgia and Florida, even require roofers to show completion of multiple roofing jobs and a specified number of years of experience to obtain a license. You can also ask potential roofing contractors if they are members of an organization like the National Roofing Contractors Association or a local contractors association.

It's important to be thoughtful and thorough when hiring a roofing contractor for the first time. Reviewing contractors' documentation is just one way to verify that your candidate is a reliable roofing professional.

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