Insurance options for springtime improvements

Susan Nichols-Alvis
Insurance Insight
Susan Nichols-Alvis
Staff Photo |

Springtime in western Colorado usually means home remodeling, new construction, fence fixing, cute little calves and a whole lot of yard work.

When you come in to our office this time of year, you might notice mud, grease, a little bit of, um, “pasture” or a combination of these on our tile floor. And we absolutely love it.

Contrary to what some folks think, work performed on or in your home by someone else is not covered under your homeowners insurance.

If you hire out remodeling, painting or other work around your home, be sure the subcontractor has liability insurance (more on this below), and that the policy is current.

Construction insurance is usually referenced to as Commercial General Liability (CGL), though some folks refer to it as business insurance. CGL also covers numerous other non-construction related risks such as appliance repair, oil and gas field operations, auto repair and trucking.

Ask your subcontractor for something called a Certificate of Liability Insurance. This piece of paper will reflect their name, their insurance company and agent name, and list the policies they have along with coverages. It will have the insurance agent signature at the bottom.

For new construction, make sure the company you hire specifically has framing liability insurance. There have been issues in the past with interior trim carpenters being insured for that trade, and not framing. Framing insurance tends to be more expensive because the risk is greater. Same thing with roofing insurance — it’s more expensive because of the risk.

And right about here is where something light hearted would be inserted to make sure you’re still with me. Oh, I know, did you know hard hats come in pink? I learned this a few years ago and would really like to acquire one, just because.

Building a new home and going to be your own general contractor? A Builders Risk policy is for you. This will cover the dwelling while it is under construction. It is also known as Course of Construction coverage. This insurance will not cover tools or equipment, nor does it contain liability coverage.

Your subcontractors will still need to carry their own insurance. Once the dwelling is complete, the policy will be written to a homeowners or commercial policy.

This is a brief overview of commercial insurance by Nichols Insurance Agency, where boots are welcome. Because insurance policy contracts vary from state to state and company to company, check with your insurance agent or professional with any questions.

Susan Nichols-Alvis is the owner of Nichols Insurance Agency in Rifle. You can reach her at 970-625-0411 or visit

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