Why You Should Hire a Licensed and Insured Contractor
There are a few things you should be aware of before you hire a remodeling contractor and begin a home renovation project. As a homeowner, you are liable for any injuries or damage that occur during the remodeling process if those workers are an uninsured or unlicensed. Hiring a licensed contractor offers many extra protections to the homeowner. A contractor cannot acquire a license without possessing a minimum amount of experience and must pass a business management test. The applicant also may be subjected to a criminal history background check, and must not have any unresolved contracting complaints outstanding.
- The state of Florida requires both residential and commercial builders and contractors to be licensed.
- There are separate licensing requirements for residential contractors, mechanical contractors, and general contractors.
- All are licensed through the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB), which also requires licenses be kept current.
- You can confirm a license is legitimate and current by visiting www.myfloridalicense.com. (Select “Verify a license,” and then search by license number or contractor name)
- The CILB also administers the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund.
- If you lose money on a project performed under contract where the loss results from specified violations of Florida law by a licensed contractor, you might be eligible for payment from this fund. (If you choose an unlicensed contractor at your home or business, you have no rights under the statute that created this fund)
You as a residential property owner have significant protections not available to persons utilizing an unlicensed contractor. Among them is the ability to file a complaint against the contractor’s license, in most cases, for a period of two years from the date of occupancy or date the last work was performed. This is your guarantee should the workmanship be below standard or in violation of existing codes.
About Insured Contractors
If the contractor is not insured, you are at risk. There have been instances where companies claim to be licensed and insured, and it comes to light after an incident that they have a business license and auto insurance on their work vehicle. Neither offers the homeowner any protection in the case of an injury or damage to your property. While the license is issued by the state, the insurance is backed by an insurance carrier. Contact information for verification purposes is listed on the insurance certificate, as is the expiration date of the policy.
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance (GL) protects the homeowner from bodily injury, property damage or personal injury. In the event there would be damage or loss to a home or structure due to a contractor’s negligence, your homeowner’s property insurance won’t likely cover the damage. Most policies explicitly exclude damages caused by contractors. It would be necessary for the contractor’s general liability insurance to cover this damage.
Like us, reputable contractors are happy to provide proof of adherence to laws and regulations designed to protect both you and them. Contractors that cut corners on licensing and insurance and put that risk on you are much more likely to cut corners when working on your home renovations.