A certificate of insurance (cert) is one of the most commonly requested documents in contract bids. It acts as a snapshot of coverage to verify that a policy exists, and it lists key policy features, such as the effective dates of coverage, types of coverage included, and amounts of coverage. This little piece of paper can make the difference between winning a project bid and losing out on the job.
Often, a bid contract will require certain specifications to be listed on a certificate. Those may include additional insured endorsements or specific coverage language that is nontraditional or unacceptable on the cert form. Particular caution is needed when encountering such requests, because many states have enacted statutes that prohibit alteration of the certificate of insurance.
Although failing to comply with a contract bid’s cert requirements could mean losing the project, requesting and using a certificate that is incorrect, invalid or altered to add language that shouldn’t be on the cert can result in uninsured losses that far exceed the income earned on the job.
If you’re bidding a project that asks for non-standard items to be added to a certificate of insurance, check with your agent to see if the coverage requested is actually included in the policy. If not, inquire as to what the premium would be to add the requested coverage.
If you are needing to request a new or updated certificate of insurance, the easiest no-hassle way is to email your agent the original request with all the required information needed to be stated on the certificate. This way if there are any questions or any changes in coverage needed based on the request, your agent can get back with you to possibly avoid any changes or coverage gaps.
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