The Dirty Little Secret of Insurance

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I had a lady call me this week to ask if I could come look at some vinyl siding. “For a price quote?” I said. “No, I had another company pressure wash it and there’s damage everywhere” she said. After a few minutes on the phone I agreed to look at the siding and sure enough it appears that the wrong cleaning agents were used or else they were misapplied and allowed to dry and the siding now has numerous very noticeable chemical stains all over the house. In my discussion with her she stated that the contractor who cleaned the house didn’t know what happened and wasn’t sure how to or if he could fix it. She told me that so far re-siding the whole house was the only seeming option but the company who did the cleaning had “insurance” and so she felt that filing a claim against his policy was what she would have to do to get her house re-sided.

That’s when I told her what I am about to tell you. Please pay attention to this: just because a contractor has liability insurance doesn’t mean you are covered against damage to your home. General liability insurance DOES NOT COVER THE WORK A CONTRACTOR DOES FOR YOU. Surprised? Many people are. You see GL insurance covers accidents that happen while a cleaning contractor is working at your home. For instance if in this above mentioned case the cleaning contractor had backed his trailer into her garage door it would be covered. Dropped a ladder on her car? Covered. Accidentally sprayed water through an open window and ruined a piece of furniture? Covered. Shot the nozzle off the pressure washer through a glass door? Covered. Uses the wrong chemical during the cleaning process and damages the surface? Not covered. Uses too much pressure and damages the concrete he’s trying to clean? Not covered.

At issue here is the coverage of workmanship not accidents. To have the work of a cleaning contractor covered they must have a rider on their policy known as “Care Custody & Control” which is what we carry as a part of our GL policy. It is a difficult addition to obtain because the cleaning contractor must show a substantial professionalism in order to have an insurance company essentially financially back his work. Not everyone can get it, but we have it just in case…

So, if you are thinking that just because someone advertises that they have “insurance” you are safe from trouble, think again. Hire a professional, check references and ask about the care custody and control provisions on their policy.

2 Responses

  1. Don D

    I agree with Sue’s comment – I really learned a lot from this – I had never heard of a “Care Custody & Control” rider before today.

    I guess this is just another reason to recommend Sonlight for any cleaning needs – gutters, siding, roof, windows, etc.

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