Insurance companies set premiums based on how much they are likely to spend to pay claims. It stands to reason, then, that the best way to control premiums for your roofing business is to avoid claims if possible, and to limit the cost of any claims that you do make. Great! But what kind of claims should you be watching out for as a roofing contractor?
Our commercial insurance partners have experts with years of experience dealing with roofing claims, and we asked them to break it down for us. What are the most common claims for roofers? Well, it’s not that simple. They had a few questions too:
Most roofing contractors specialize in two ways:
First, you likely specialize in either residential or commercial roofing. This makes a big difference in the number and kind of claims you are likely to make.
As a roofing contractor, you take the greatest of care to ensure that all the work you do is done to the highest quality standards. This is key to reducing the likelihood of claims. Unfortunately, claims sometimes happen anyway. For example, if you replace a roof, and six months later, your customer finds water damage that was caused by water getting in through the roof, you will likely get pulled into the claim, and most courts would assign at least partial liability to you, even with no evidence that your work was substandard.
The other factor that affects the likelihood of claims is whether you work on brand new construction or re-roofing/repairing roofs on older buildings. Whether you are a residential or commercial roofer, working on existing structures is more likely to lead to claims. The reason is that working on an existing structure requires you and your employees to work around existing structures and even existing roofs that may be outdated, worn and/or improperly installed by someone else. The chances of flaws or weaknesses in a rebuilt or repaired roof are much higher than in a brand new one.
You are working on a commercial job using torch on membrane to re-roof an older warehouse. A worker leaves the torch untended for a moment and it ignites some dried leaves. Workers are able to get to safety, but the fire spreads to the entire roof, destroying all of your roofing materials and tools and damaging the old wood roof. Firefighters are called, and extinguish the fire before it spreads beyond the roof, but their work causes additional water damage to the building.
|Your lost equipment and materials:||$65,000|
|Damage to the building:||$125,000|
As mentioned above, the most common insurance claims for roofers are related to fire. To reduce fire risk:
(Our thanks to Steve Schmelzle from RSA Insurance, one of our trusted contractors insurance partners, who agreed to share his expertise for this piece.)
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments below! Mitchell & Whale is a fast-growing insurance brokerage in Ontario, striving to make insurance _not suck_ one customer at a time. Give us a call today to discuss any of your insurance needs at 1.800.731.2228.