What Is a Certificate of Liability Insurance?

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Whether you run an auto shop or a beauty shop, you know that owning a small business often means you need to have the right paperwork in place. From time to time, you might need to apply for a professional license, file documents at city hall, or show other documentation in order to sign contracts.

A certificate of liability insurance is a document that proves you have General Liability Insurance or other policies. These certificates are one page long, certify your coverage, and list your policy's important features, including…

  • Coverage limits.
  • Expiration dates.
  • What the policy covers.
  • Additional insureds (i.e., contractors or non-employees covered by your policy).

To see what one looks like, check out this sample certificate of liability insurance.

When Do You Need a Certificate of Liability Insurance?

Small businesses often need a certificate of insurance when they…

  • Begin working with a big client.
  • Sign a contract.
  • Move into a new office and sign a lease.
  • Work as a contractor.

Say you run a catering company, and you're hired for a big wedding. We're talking a real bridezilla affair. The wedding planner has a classic type-A personality, who frets about every detail and freaks out whenever anything goes wrong. You've worked with him before, but the wedding planner still requires you to document that you have small business insurance.

In a situation like this, businesses you contract with want to know that if something goes wrong, you've got insurance. The wedding planner knows that the bride's family could sue him over bad food, problems with your service, or damage your employees do to the building. He requires that you provide legal documentation that proves an insurance company can cover a lawsuit if you're sued.

Other times, you might have to provide a copy of your insurance documentation so that a client can file it with their insurance company. Let's say you run an IT consulting firm. You're hired to oversee a client's network and build custom software for their sales department. The project will take months, and you'll be working at the client's office.

The client's insurance company requires documentation that you and your employees have Workers' Compensation Insurance and General Liability Insurance. Why do they want you to do this? Because the insurer wants to know that their client isn't responsible for covering your workers while they are working at the client's office. A certificate of liability insurance proves that these workers are already covered.

Do I Have to Pay a Fee to Get a Certificate of Insurance?

No, insurance certificates are free once you have coverage. If you get small business insurance through insureon, you can log on to our insurance portal and download a digital copy of your certificate anytime you need it. If a client needs a copy of your insurance certificate, you can get it ASAP.

I Need an Insurance Certificate. How Quickly Can I Get One?

If need an insurance certificate and don't currently have an active insurance policy, an Insureon agent can help. Submit an online small business insurance application, and our agents will send you a free, no-strings-attached insurance quote, usually within 15 minutes.

Once you look over your quotes and find the right policy, we'll get you insured and send you a certificate in a matter of hours.

If you already have an active insurance policy with insureon, you can download a copy of your certificate through your customer portal. If you are not an Insureon customer, feel free to download a sample certificate below.

Download Sample Certificate