Buying Contractor Insurance Online [Ultimate Buyer's Guide]
There’s no doubt we’re living in the digital age. The number of things we can do online grows every day, from booking appointments to seeing our doctor and more. And it makes sense why—going online can save time and simplify a lot of tasks. But when it comes to buying contractor insurance online, a completely automated system isn’t always the best way to go. Let’s review the pros and cons of online contractor insurance and how you can find the right policy for your business.
Understanding Contractor Insurance
If you’re a contractor of any type, you likely need insurance, especially if you’re in an industry like construction. Contractor insurance is a policy or group of policies that helps protect you from the risks involved in your day-to-day operations. It typically includes:
That might not be all the insurance you need. Your specific policy can vary based on your scope of work, location, and contract requirements.
The Perks Of Buying Contractor Insurance Online
Business owners are busy people. You have enough on your plate without having to make a lot of phone calls or deal with an insurance sales pitch. That’s why buying contractor insurance online does have some advantages.
In our modern, digital world, we expect to be able to do most things online. It’s just convenient: You can do it on your own schedule, without having to deal with business hours, lines, or conversations with salespeople before you’re ready. You can research insurers and policies, compare prices, and purchase a policy whenever you want, 24/7. And there’s no more scheduling appointments or traveling to insurance agencies.
Speed And Efficiency
With online contractor insurance, you can also say goodbye to endless paperwork and long wait times. While your application will still need to be reviewed, the online process is typically much faster. And, you can submit your application in just a few clicks, so you can cover your business with insurance in no time.
The Problems With Online Contractor Insurance
While the convenience and efficiency of online transactions are undeniable, buying contractor insurance online isn’t all positives.
General contractors have very specific—and very different—needs. Your policy should be customized based on your state and local areas, the type of work you do, the number of workers you employ, whether you use any subcontractors, any insurance you may already carry, and a number of other factors. Traditional insurance agencies provide total customization based on your answers to their questions. Online platforms are improving, but most of them don’t yet fully replicate that level of customization.
No Professional Advice
The lack of customization also points to another challenge of online contractor insurance: the lack of interaction with a real human expert who can give you advice. Contractor insurance policies are complex, and it’s easy to overlook the details. It does take more time, but it’s worth it to talk to an experienced agent. They can lay it all out for you and help ensure you’re getting the coverage you need, while not getting stuck with any exclusions that you didn’t understand when you signed on the dotted line.
Poor Customer Service
While 24/7 availability is nice, the lack of access to a real human being can mean the customer service isn’t what it should be. Many digital platforms use chatbots and other artificial intelligence tools to answer questions generically, and it can be hard to get an agent on the phone. When you do, you might find you’re not talking to a real insurance agent at all, but a customer service rep in a faraway country. All that can add up to unhelpful responses.
Steps For Buying Contractor Insurance Online
Despite the challenges, there is a place for digital platforms in the insurance world. Just make sure you follow these steps if you’re buying online.
1. Identify Your Insurance Needs
Finding the best insurance is based on your business needs and your risk level. A solo contractor or one that doesn’t hire subcontractors will have different needs than a large, multi-state contractor. An electrician or a roofer will have a higher risk level in their job than a plumber or a handyman. Before starting your search, make a list of your potential risks and the coverages you may need.
2. Research Providers
Thanks to the magic of the internet, online contractor insurance providers seem to be popping up everywhere. But that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. You’ll want to research every provider, making sure they specialize in contractor insurance and have a good reputation in the industry. Find out how long they’ve been in business, whether they have experience in your industry and where they are based. Also check if you can easily talk to a knowledgable agent, and whether the agency will provide references.
3. Compare Quotes
One benefit of buying contractor insurance online is that you can easily request and compare quotes from each insurance agency that makes your final list. Read the fine print about what each policy covers and excludes, as well as the terms and conditions, to be sure everything meets your needs. Remember, the cheapest option isn’t always best. It’s more important to make sure you’re covered.
4. Understand Your Policy
Once you’ve chosen a quote, the agency will send you a full policy to sign. It’s important to read and understand this document just as you did your quote—because while a quote is only an estimate, the policy is legally binding. This is the time you’ll most want to talk to an experienced insurance agent (not a robot). Insurance policies are full of legal and technical jargon that can be hard to understand. Asking questions and fully understanding your policy can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
5. Make Your Purchase
Only when you fully understand what you’re signing are you ready to purchase your policy. For online contractor insurance, you’ll need to fill in your business and payment information, but you might also need to confirm with the provider via a phone call, which can make it less convenient. Once you’re confirmed, your coverage will typically start almost immediately.
The Perfect Compromise: Tech-Savvy Agencies
Thinking about buying contractor insurance online? The good news is that you can have the best of both worlds: An insurance agency that combines online convenience with real-world expertise and customization. You can easily get a quote, add or remove items from your policy, make other changes, issue certificates, and more, all online. But you’ll also have a seasoned insurance broker available to give you advice and build your policy with you.
An experienced broker is essential for things like navigating claims, meeting contract requirements, and designing strategies to protect your business. A broker gives you a big advantage over automated chatbots and low-skill call centers.
The Bottom Line
The truth is that at the end of the day, insurance is just a piece of paper and a promise. The most important thing isn’t the convenience or speed of buying contractor insurance online, but making sure you’re getting the coverage you need, from an organization that cares. At LandesBlosch, you can easily get a quote online, then speak to an agent to be sure your policy is customized to your needs. Our hybrid system ensures you get the best policy and customer service—with minimal robots required.
About The Author: Austin Landes, CIC
Austin is an experienced Commercial Risk Advisor specializing in property & casualty risk management for religious institutions, real estate, construction, and manufacturing.
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