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Requesting and Understanding a Certificate of Insurance Form

September 22, 2023

When it comes to managing risk in business, having a clear understanding of your insurance coverage is crucial. Whether you’re a business owner, a contractor, or a service provider, you may need to request and read a Certificate of Insurance (COI). What is a Certificate of Insurance? Why you might need one? How should you request and decipher the information contained within this important document? Let’s dive in.

What is a Certificate of Insurance Form (COI)?

A Certificate of Insurance, often referred to as a COI, is a document issued by an insurance company or broker to provide proof of insurance coverage. It is typically requested by one party to demonstrate that another party (such as a contractor, vendor, or tenant) has a valid insurance policy in place. COIs are commonly used in various industries to verify insurance coverage and manage risk.

Why Might You Need a COI?

There are several situations in which you might need a Certificate of Insurance:

1. Full Contractual Requirements:

Many contracts and agreements require one party to provide evidence of insurance coverage to the other party. This is common in construction contracts, lease agreements, and service contracts.

2. Risk Management

Businesses often request COIs from their vendors, subcontractors, or service providers to ensure that they have adequate insurance coverage in case of accidents or liabilities.

3. Compliance

Some industries and professions have regulatory requirements that mandate the possession and provision of COIs as part of their licensing or operating procedures.

Requesting a Certificate of Insurance Form

If you need a Certificate of Insurance from another party, follow these steps to request one:

1. Identify the Necessary Information:

Determine the specific insurance requirements outlined in your contract or industry regulations. This includes the type of coverage, coverage limits, and additional insured requirements.

2. Contact the Insured Party:

Reach out to the party from whom you need the COI. This could be a contractor, vendor, or service provider. Explain your requirements and provide them with the details of what needs to be included in the COI.

3. Contact Their Insurance Provider:

The insured party will need to contact their insurance provider or broker to request the COI. They should provide the insurer with all the necessary information to generate the document.

4. Review the COI:

Once you receive the COI, carefully review it to ensure that it meets your requirements. Verify that the coverage types, policy limits, and additional insured endorsements match the contract or industry standards.

Reading and Understanding a COI

A Certificate of Insurance may contain several key elements that you should understand:

1. Insured Party Information:

This section typically includes the name and contact information of the insured party, which is the entity covered by the insurance policy.

2. Certificate Holder Information:

This is your information, as the party requesting the COI. It should include your name, address, and any other relevant details.

3. Policy Details:

This section provides information about the insurance policy, such as the type of coverage, policy number, and effective dates.

4. Coverage Limits:

It outlines the maximum amount the insurance policy will pay for covered claims. Ensure that the coverage limits meet your requirements.

5. Additional Insured:

If you are named as an additional insured, it means you have certain rights under the policy. Review this section carefully to understand your level of coverage.

6. Cancellation Provisions:

This part explains the conditions under which the insurance policy can be canceled. It’s essential to be aware of these provisions to ensure ongoing coverage.

7. Special Provisions:

Any additional terms or special provisions specific to the policy may be included in this section.

Requesting and reading a Certificate of Insurance form is an integral part of managing risk and ensuring compliance in various business transactions. By understanding the key components of a COI and following the proper procedures for requesting one, you can protect your interests and ensure that all parties involved have the necessary insurance coverage in place. Always consult with legal or insurance professionals if you have any doubts or concerns regarding the contents of a COI or its implications for your business or contractual agreements.

Sablich Insurance Group is licensed in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
©2023, Sablich Insurance Group
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