An integral component of the construction bidding and performance process is obtaining certificates of insurance (COI). Without a COI, a contractor is unable to begin work on a project. Clients, including residential property owners, commercial real estate owners, municipalities and public entities, and general contractors (GC), all require that contractors show proof of insurance. A COI verifies that coverage is in place. However, the COI is not the insurance policy and does not amend, extend, or alter the coverage afforded by the actual terms and conditions of the policy. It is for informational purposes only.
For example, when you submit a bid to win a contract or job, the entity seeking to hire you will request that you include a COI with your bid. Or if you are a GC who frequently hires subcontractors to collaborate on projects, you will request proof of insurance from each subcontractor.
The COI lists the contractor's name (the insured); the policy term, including the expiration date (to ensure coverage is place for the duration of the project); the policy limits; and any additional insureds if requested. Clients will typically ask to be named as an additional insured in order to extend a contractor's coverage to them.
Certificate Requests Must Be in Writing
At Gaslamp, we issue about 300 to 500 certificates daily, helping our construction clients get onto the job site as soon as they get the green light. In order to facilitate the COI request process, we recommend planning head to avoid any delays. Our goal is to get a certificate into your hands within a 24-hour turnaround.
We make it easy for our insureds to request a certificate. All you have to do is visit our website and click on "Request a Certificate" under Customer Service. Complete the information on the online form and submit it to us. One of our customer service reps will attend to your request. If there is any missing information or any change request, we'll reach out to you.
An alternative option for certificate requests is to email us at email@example.com. All the information that is on the online request form should be included in the email:
- Named insured
- Policy number
- Insured email
- Certificate holder/additional insured name/email/address/city/state/ZIP
- Indicate whether certificate holder needs to be named as an additional insured
- Describe type of work: new construction, remodel work, service/repair
- Attach any related documents needed for certificate/endorsement
Privacy Issues Are a Concern
Protecting your privacy is our main concern, which is why we require that COI requests be made in writing. We want to ensure that our clients are indeed requesting the COI. There are instances where a third party may want to file a claim against you and is seeking to learn the limits on your policy. Or a previous employee may want to pose as you and show proof of your insurance for a potential job. They may even use a PDF editor to modify a COI to get on a jobsite.
If one of your clients with whom you have signed a contract requesting a certificate calls, we will follow up via email with you to verify and get written approval to provide them a copy of your COI.
It's important to plan ahead so that you get the COI when you need it. You may need to make changes to your policy based on the contract's insurance requirements. For example, a project's insurance requirements may stipulate that you carry additional policy limits. It will take time to submit this change to underwriting, quote the new policy limits, and provide you with the additional premium amount for payment. If you are bidding on a contract, send us your insurance requirements immediately so we can provide you with the cost to change your insurance ahead of time.
Our Customer Service Department operates from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT, and we strive to deliver on your COI needs. Planning ahead and getting us the information in writing will make the process that much smoother.