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A certificate of insurance is a business’s evidence of insurance coverage. It’s requested to prove the company has adequate liability insurance. As you may already know, a certificate of insurance is not part of the policy but rather proof of one.

What this means is that it does not add or remove anything from the original insurance policy. It’s just a summary of the insurance contract, standardized so that anyone can read it. As a contractor, you will often be required to provide a certificate of liability insurance as proof of insurance to either bid on or start a job.

What’s shown on Certificates of Insurance?

When you get your certificate of insurance, many things will be on a single page. To make things easier, here’s a quick guide to the most basic information.

  • Basic Information:
    • Insured’s name and mailing address.
    • Insurance agency’s name and mailing address.
    • The contact information of an insurance agent.
  • Insurance Policy Overview:
    • A brief description of the types of coverage including policy limits and whether the insurance coverage applies on a claims-made or occurrence basis.
    • If you also have commercial auto liability coverage, the certificate should indicate this as well. It should include the types of autos the policy covers.
    • Other policies like professional liability insurance or employers liability coverage should also have limits listed when needed.
  • Other Information:
    • Who the certificate holder is.
    • Information on what should happen if the coverage is canceled

Important Information about a COI

When you obtain a certificate of insurance, you may be requested to add the requester as an additional insured. Many business owners will have requirements in their contracts to make sure the insured covers the certificate holder under their liability policy. In this situation, the certificate holder may require a statement on the certificate proving the additional insured group or person.

Though it might have the coverage limits and policy numbers on it, this document should not be considered the policy itself. The insurance provider has created this document to serve as an overview and proof that the real insurance coverage exists and is valid.

Proof of insurance is not an endorsement of the policy. If you require an additional insured on the coverage, this is something that needs to be in writing on the insurance certificate itself. If you just add this information to the proof of insurance, it will not be considered part of the insurance coverage.

Always Talk to Your Agent

Your insurance company will know what’s best for you and your small businesses needs. If you have questions about what an acord certificate, certificate of insurance or proof of insurance is, they should be willing and happy to talk with you. If you need a copy of your certificate of insurance, your agent should be able to enable you to get one.

On the other hand, if you are looking for help getting a new insurance policy or are looking to switch to a new insurance company, we can help! When you get a policy through us, we make you get help any time you need it. You’ll also have online access to get the COIs when you need them!

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