What Is a Certificate of Insurance?

A certificate of insurance (COI) includes many details about your business insurance policy, including the name of the primary named insured, the policy’s effective date, the type of coverage provided, and your policy limits.

Businesses often hold multiple insurance policies, so they can have several declarations pages, in addition to their workers’ compensation Information Page. The COI is a one-page document that summarizes the coverages and acts as proof of insurance.

Your client will look for specific information on your certificate, such as:

Where Can I Obtain a Certificate of Insurance?

When you bind a new insurance policy, your insurer may provide a COI.

Contact your agent when you need one. The insurer will also issue a new COI for each client you have.

Some businesses require their subcontractors or vendors to add them as an additional insured. If this is the case, call your agent.

When Would I Need to Provide a Certificate of Insurance?

If you are an independent contractor or run a business that provides services to others, you will need to provide a COI to each new client. Many companies require subcontractors and vendors to provide a COI before any work can start.

Why Do Companies Require Certificates of Insurance?

When a company hires a subcontractor or vendor, it wants confirmation that those businesses have workers’ comp and liability insurance. That way, in case of an injury, illness, or property damage, the hiring company does not take on excess risk.

For example, employers are required by law to provide benefits to employees who are injured on the job, and companies often fulfill these obligations with workers’ comp insurance. A florist employs gardeners, retail workers, and event coordinators, and pays a workers’ comp premium based on those job classifications. Occasionally, a florist needs to hire a plumber to maintain the shop’s irrigation system. For the temporary job, adding the plumber to the florist’s payroll and workers’ comp policy would be a costly and inefficient solution. Instead, the florist requests the plumber’s COI and rests assured knowing that there is coverage for the plumbing team.

When Should My Business Request a Certificate of Insurance?

If your business uses subcontractors or vendors, you should request a COI for every new contractor you hire. Additionally, you should monitor existing certificates on file to ensure that no policies have lapsed or expired.

An independent agent can help business owners understand which products can best meet their needs.

The information and descriptions on this site are general in nature. The coverage afforded for a particular loss depends on the specific facts and the terms, exclusions, and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any policy, as the policy controls coverage. Coverage options, limits, discounts, deductibles, and other features are subject to underwriting criteria, state availability, and effective dates. Coverage provided and underwritten by NJM Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, 301 Sullivan Way, W. Trenton, NJ 08628.