“Licensed and insured”. We see it everywhere. These are ubiquitous terms on most service company advertising, but what do they mean and why should you care? Knowing an educated consumer makes better decisions, we offer the following explanations for the terms, explain why they really are important to check out, and I’ll tell you how to do that.
- Licensing: The State of CT requires both residential and commercial builders and contractors to be licensed. There are separate licensing requirements for residential contractors, mechanical contractors (plumbing, electrical, HVAC), and general contractors. All are licensed through the CT Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), which also requires that licenses be kept current. You can confirm a license is legitimate and current by visiting www.elicense.ct.gov, select “Online Services” and then “Verify a License” search by license number or contractor name. CT also offers the CT Guaranty Fund which administers some recovery for homeowners harmed by construction contractors. Payment may be available from this fund if you lose money on a project performed under contract, where the loss results from specified violations of CT law by a licensed contractor. If you choose an unlicensed contractor at your home or business, you have no rights under the statute that created this fund.
- Insurance: There are two insurance types to focus on when selecting a vendor. Workers’ Compensation insurance protects homeowners from liability for injuries incurred while workers are present in their homes. If somebody is injured working in your home and is not covered by a Workers Comp. policy, you may be responsible for their lost wages and medical costs. General Liability insurance (GL) protects the homeowner for bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury. In the event there would be damage or loss to a home or structure due to a contractor’s negligence, your homeowner’s property insurance will likely not cover the damage. Most homeowner policies explicitly exclude damages caused by contractors. It would be necessary for the contractors General Liability insurance to cover this damage. If the contractor is not insured, you are at risk.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen instances where companies claim to be “Licensed and Insured” and it comes to light after an incident that they have a business license and auto insurance on their work vehicle. Neither offers you, the homeowner, any protection in the case of an injury or damage to your property. While the license is issued by the state, the insurance is backed by an insurance carrier. Contact information, for verification purposes, is listed on the insurance certificate; as is the expiration date of the policy.
Asking to see the license and certificates of insurance is your best protection against the unscrupulous. Reputable companies are happy to provide proof of their adherence to the laws and regulations designed to protect both you and them. “Contractors” that cut corners on licensing and insurance, and put that risk on you, are also much more likely to cut corners when working at your home; and who needs that.
Skip Wyatt owns and manages Mr. Handyman and HM Remodeling, Serving Fairfield and Westchester Counties. Mr. Handyman was founded in 2000 and has been serving CT and NY since 2004. They are a fully licensed and insured general contractor focused on your Home Repair and Maintenance, Home Improvement and Home Remodeling needs. Mr. Handyman Technicians are employees, not subcontractors, each has been background and drug screened and has a minimum of 15 years of paid experience. All their work is backed by a one-year service guarantee. By joining our HandyPlan, a loyalty program that is free of charge, our guarantee increases to two years!
Mr. Handyman’s service delivery is focused on Quality (skilled/experienced staff, guaranteed work), Service (live answer to all calls, on-time arrival, cleanup when done) and Convenience (Scheduled appointment times, one call solutions to most needs). You may reach Skip and his staff at 203-373-7717 to discuss your needs. We look forward to speaking with you!