A certificate of liability insurance is a document that proves you have liability insurance coverage.
What is a certificate of liability insurance?
A certificate of liability insurance – also known as a certificate of insurance (COI) or an ACORD certificate of liability insurance – is a one-page document that proves you have liability insurance. It summarizes the key elements of your policy, assuring prospects and customers that your business is protected from common accidents. Insurance companies provide certificates of liability insurance for a variety of policies, including:
- General liability insurance
- Business owner’s policy (BOP)
- Errors and omissions insurance
- Professional liability insurance
- Commercial auto insurance
- Workers' compensation insurance
Download an example of an ACORD certificate of liability insurance [PDF].
Why do businesses need a certificate of liability insurance?
No business owner wants to get sued, especially if it’s because a vendor caused property damage or bodily injury. For this reason, companies want to know the firms they hire have their own liability insurance that would provide coverage after property damage or an injury.
For example, let’s say you own a carpentry firm. You recently received a verbal agreement to do a job for a general contractor who builds luxury homes.
However, before signing a contract, the contractor asks for a copy of your certificate of liability insurance. He requests it because he doesn’t want to be held liable if you or one of your employees causes property damage or injures a third party while working on his construction site.
Giving him your COI shows you are financially responsible and fully insured in case something goes wrong. After reviewing your certificate of liability insurance, the contractor signs the contract.
What does a certificate of insurance include?
A certificate of insurance includes:
- Your name and address
- The name of your agent and insurance company
- The start and end dates of your policy
- The types of coverage you purchased
- Your coverage limits
- Your policy number
How does a business get a certificate of insurance?
Small business owners who purchase a policy with Insureon can access their certificate of insurance online or with a mobile device immediately after purchasing a policy.
If you don’t have a policy, simply complete Insureon’s online application to compare insurance quotes. Our licensed insurance agents, who have worked with thousands of small businesses, can help you get the right insurance coverage at the best price, often the same day you contact us.
When did the insurance industry first develop a standard COI?
For much of the twentieth century, insurance companies basically took their own unique approach to policy forms. However, this confused agents, brokers, and customers and made life difficult for insurers.
Tired of the chaos, companies banded together in the 1970s to form the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD). They authorized ACORD to develop standard forms that everyone involved in the insurance industry could use. This included an ACORD certificate of insurance.
Thanks to ACORD’s pioneering work, America’s small business owners today can quickly and easily review their insurance and prove to their customers and business partners that they are financially responsible.
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