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Bidding on projects? Get insured first

Jon Hogg
Bidding on projects? Get insured first

Mapping out your risk management strategy with a comprehensive insurance policy as its foundation in advance puts you on solid footing, and it’s one less requirement to worry about when bidding on projects.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: You bid on a tender, win the project, and then panic erupts as you realize you’re required to provide a certificate of insurance (COI), but you don’t have a policy yet.

Making a last-minute pitch to get an insurance policy can be problematic for several reasons. For starters, there could be a significant wait while your insurance provider weighs your risks and prices your policy that might fail to meet your deadline.

Or, you might not know what coverages your policy should have, which exposes you to financial peril if something goes wrong, and after filing a claim, you discover you’re not covered.

Often, an insurance broker can issue you a COI within 48 hours, but it’s recommended to request it at least a couple of weeks before you think you’ll need it. Of course, you also can adjust limits mid-term should a contract require it but starting with adequate coverage puts your business ahead of others and helps it appear more reputable.

So, if you regularly bid on projects, consider your risk management strategy, get a policy in place first and maintain continuous year-round coverage.

That is particularly true for snow removal contractors, for instance. If yours is a seasonal business, it may be in your best interest to insure your operations year-round because doing so will save you money on your premium.

How contractors’ insurance protects your business

Think about all the things that can go sideways during a construction project, such as:

Incidents that injure one of your employees or subcontractors or a passerby’

Theft of or vandalism to your tools and equipment or damages inflicted by an unknown person or persons to the structure you’re building.

A collision involving one of your work vehicles.

Unexpected events like a fire, flood or severe weather that damage your equipment or the jobsite.

Defective work that prompts a customer to threaten you with a lawsuit.

Disputes with your employees or customers over a project’s scope.

Pollution liability arising from your work or the land where the build is taking place.

Mapping out your risk management strategy with a comprehensive insurance policy as its foundation in advance puts you on solid footing and it’s one less requirement to worry about when bidding on projects.

Not all insurance providers are equal

Not all insurance providers offer the same coverage or cater to general contractors and construction companies. Moreover, they charge different prices for a policy too. 

That presents you with two challenges: getting the protection you need and at a reasonable price. In addition, you should know your insurance provider’s financial strength to ensure they can meet any claims you file. A business insurance broker can help you with all of the above.

Lastly, given the economic headwinds Canada is facing as it struggles to get a grip on the rate of inflation, there’s always the temptation to aim for the cheapest policy you can find.

That’s not the right way to protect your business and finances. Make getting the best coverage you can find the priority, not the cost of the premium. Reducing your coverage to save a few bucks ups your risk exposure significantly.

One lawsuit or incident could bankrupt you if your insurance policy and coverage limits are insufficient.

Jon Hogg is a licensed broker and team lead, digital solutions, contractors at Zensurance, Canada’s leading source for small business insurance. Get a free quote for your insurance needs by visiting

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