A certificate of liability insurance, or COI, is a document that summarizes the different types of commercial insurance policies a business has. It is important to know how to get a certificate of liability insurance because this way, we can demonstrate that we have the coverage we need to protect our business and the people who visit it. It is a way to generate enough confidence in suppliers and customers for our business to grow.
This document includes important information, such as contact information and the coverage limits of each policy in addition to the insurance company’s name, policy numbers, and expiration date. It focuses primarily on the commercial liability coverage our business has. This way, we show that our business is insured against claims for damages, injuries, losses, and other liabilities.
Business liability insurance is available in two types: general liability insurance and professional liability insurance.
Which companies need this document?
Obtaining this document benefits almost any business, and many are required by law to have it. This certificate is requested for many commercial activities because it proves that our company is prepared to cover claims such as bodily injury. In addition, it proves that we can cover damage to property or claims for personal injury, libel, or slander against our business.
Our company will likely need this document if we lease equipment or a new office. The certificate of liability insurance may also be requested if our company is contracted to provide a service to another company. The frequency with which we may need the certificate varies depending on our company’s industry and other external factors such as our suppliers and customers.
Cost and processing time
Liability insurance certificates are usually issued by insurers, although an insurance agent or broker can also issue them. Some insurers issue the certificates free of charge because it is not a legal contract of coverage but a proof of policy held by a company. However, insurers sometimes charge as much as $50 for each certificate.
Regarding processing time, some insurers include a COI within the policy documentation. In other cases, they only issue certificates upon request of the policyholder. We can request a certificate of liability insurance at any time, and most insurers will be able to deliver it to us in a matter of minutes in digital format.
How to obtain a COI for a company?
To obtain a certificate of liability insurance, we must follow a few important steps:
- Request information on minimum requirements: The first step is to request information about the minimum coverage requirements from the company requesting the certificate. The best thing to do is to ask for a written description of the liability coverages our company must have.
- Obtain our insurance policy: find an insurer that offers the coverages we need and explain that we need a certificate of liability insurance. We should contact an insurance agent or broker if we already have an insurance policy but do not know if we meet the minimum requirements. This insurance agent should help us evaluate our current policy and coverages.
- Additional costs: If our current insurance policy does not meet the coverage requirements, we should ask our insurer what changes we need to make to achieve coverage. We also need to ask for information on the additional costs the changes to our policy will generate.
- Request our certificate: Once our insurance policy has the coverage we need to obtain the job or lease the property, we should request that they issue our certificate of liability insurance.
What information should a certificate of liability insurance contain?
Most insurers issue the certificate on standard forms. These forms are published by the Association for Operations Research and Development or ACORD. However, some insurers prefer to use their own forms; in either case, the certificates must have information from our company’s commercial liability insurance.
- Name and address of insurance agent or broker
- Name, address, and full contact information for the company.
- List of insurers our company has policies with
- Coverage details: policy numbers, expiration dates, and coverage limits for each policy our company has.
- Description of our company’s activities, locations, and the vehicles that our business owns
- Name and address of the company requesting the certificate
- Signature of a person authorized by the insurer to issue the certificates.