Surety bonds act as a contract between a construction business or contractor, a client, and an insurance company. They guarantee the surety company will reimburse the client up to the bond amount if you fail to deliver the contracted services.
When you sign a contract with a client, they expect you to live up to your side of it. That includes finishing a project on time and as promised.
A surety bond, also called a construction surety bond, guarantees that your construction company will fulfill the terms of the contract. If your company is unable to do so, the surety bond claim is paid out to the client as reimbursement for their loss.
A surety bond is an agreement between three parties:
For example, a client might have bond requirements, such as a $10,000 surety bond, which you buy from an insurance company. When supply chain issues force you to drop the project, the bond company reimburses the client for financial losses up to the bond amount.
Unlike insurance, this amount must be paid back to the surety company.
There are several different types of surety bonds. They provide guarantees for various aspects of a project, from the bidding process to completion.
Construction businesses may need license or permit bonds to obtain a license or a permit, even before they start work on a project. These bonds guarantee that the company will comply with local laws and regulations.
Almost all states require plumbers and general contractors to be licensed. As part of that process, they're usually required to buy a contractor license bond in an amount specified by the state. For example, general contractors in California must carry a $25,000 bond or cash deposit in that amount to get licensed.
Contractors and businesses that bid on construction projects may be required to purchase a bid bond. If they win the construction contract but are unable to take on the project, the client is reimbursed the difference between their bid and the next lowest bid.
A performance bond, also called a contract bond, guarantees that your construction company will fulfill the terms of its contract. So if a contractor fails to complete the job, the client is reimbursed for any financial losses, up to the bond amount.
This bond guarantees that all suppliers, subcontractors, and other third parties will be paid for their contribution to a project. With this type of bond, the client knows the project will be completed without any money owed for supplies or labor.
Fidelity bonds, also called employee dishonesty bonds, are one of the key coverages in a commercial crime policy. If an employee at your commercial building company steals from a client, this bond will reimburse the client for their loss. Clients might require you to secure this bond before allowing your employees on their property.
While surety bonds protect your clients, you still need to protect your own business against common risks. Business owners and contractors in the construction industry should consider the following policies:
Commercial auto insurance: This type of coverage protects vehicles owned by your construction or contracting business. It typically pays for accidents, vehicle theft, and vehicle damage. If you use your personal vehicle for business, you may need hired and non-owned auto insurance (HNOA).
Contractor’s tools and equipment insurance: A form of inland marine insurance, this policy helps pay for the repair or replacement of a contractor's tools and equipment if they are lost, stolen, or damaged on route to or at the job site.
Professional liability insurance: Also known as errors and omissions insurance (E&O), this policy covers accusations of poor workmanship and oversights, such as a contractor missing a deadline for a project.
Builder’s risk insurance: This insurance policy pays for damage done to a structure still under construction, such as a fire or vandalism at a construction site.
Additional insured endorsement: This extends coverage to anyone other than the policyholder, and can be required by project owners, contractors, and subcontractors depending on the project or contract.
Are you ready to safeguard your construction or contracting business with commercial insurance, or get a bond to become a licensed contractor? Insureon helps contractors find affordable insurance coverage from top-rated insurance carriers with one easy online application today.
Once you find the right policy, you can begin coverage and get a certificate of insurance in less than 24 hours.