How do you get a certificate of liability insurance (COI) for your company?
A certificate of liability insurance is a document that proves your company has liability coverage. Your insurer issues you this certificate with your insurance policy – and you can also download a copy online whenever you need it.
Where can you get a certificate of liability insurance?
Whether you currently have business insurance coverage or not, you can typically get a certificate of insurance by following just a few easy steps:
Need business insurance?
If you don't have a policy, you can purchase business insurance and get your COI the same day. Most small business owners that buy insurance through TechInsurance get a certificate of insurance within a few hours of purchasing coverage.
To buy an insurance policy:
- Complete our free online application.
- Compare quotes and choose a policy.
- Pay for your policy and download a certificate.
Already a TechInsurance customer?
Once you've bought an insurance policy with TechInsurance, you can easily request a certificate of insurance online.
- Log in to your TechInsurance account.
- Select the "Certificates" tab.
- Click the blue "Request certificate" button.
You'll receive the certificate by email either immediately or within a few hours. If you need proof of insurance right away, call your account manager to speed up the process.
When does your company need a certificate of liability insurance?
The people you want to work with may ask your company to prove it carries the proper business insurance. You may need to show your commercial insurance certificate to:
Sign a client contract
A client may ask your company to provide a certificate of liability insurance when signing a contract. These clients want to make sure you have liability insurance coverage in case anything goes wrong – otherwise, the client could get stuck footing the bill in a liability dispute.
Example: A computer repair business signs a one-year contract to repair and maintain the computers at a university. The university requires the business to secure a general liability insurance policy to protect against accidents that damage computers or cause injuries.
Land a new project
Even if your clients don't ask for proof of insurance, you might want to provide it anyway when you bid on a project or approach a new client. Proof of a liability policy reassures potential clients and can make them more willing to work with you.
Example: A small IT consulting company purchases errors and omissions insurance (E&O) to attract new clients and protect against claims of professional negligence. Providing an E&O insurance certificate wins the company another big client because another consulting business was uninsured.
Sign a commercial lease
If your company rents commercial space (like a shop, office, or warehouse), your landlord might ask for your general liability insurance certificate in the lease terms. Commercial general liability insurance protects you and the landlord if a customer files a bodily injury or property damage suit.
Example: A small IT training company rents an office in a commercial complex. The landlord requests that the company provide a general liability insurance certificate.
Work as an independent contractor
When a staffing agency or a business hires you as an independent contractor, they might ask for proof of liability insurance. A certificate of liability insurance shows you have the resources to handle any liability disputes on your own – so the agency or business won't be dragged into any lawsuits between you and another party.
Example: A staffing agency provides a software company with an IT consultant to manage a top client. The relationship between the consultant and client sours and the client files a professional liability lawsuit against the consultant.
The agency required the consultant to carry insurance, so both the agency and the consultant are protected during the lawsuit.
How much does it cost to get a certificate of liability insurance?
Policyholders don't have to pay anything to prove they have liability insurance. Certificates of insurance are completely free, so you can provide proof of insurance at no cost to anyone who needs to see it. Just make sure your policy is active and you're up to date on your insurance cost payments.
It’s not as difficult as you might think to find affordable small business insurance. From comparison shopping to bundling policies, learn how you can save money and still protect your business.
What is included in a certificate of liability insurance?
A commercial certificate of insurance form includes:
- Date the COI was issued
- Policy effective date and expiration date
- Policy number
- Insurance provider
- Who it covers
- Type of insurance
- Policy limits
If you receive a form from a vendor or subcontractor, check it over to ensure:
- The business name on the form matches the vendor.
- The policy expiration date does not come before the completion date of your project.
- It includes general liability insurance at the very least, as well as workers’ compensation insurance.
- The coverage limits meet or exceed the limits on your own insurance.
View a sample ACORD certificate of liability insurance [PDF].
The certificate holder can add additional insureds to their policy
Certificates of liability insurance summarize your own coverage, but they don't protect your clients. If you wish to include a client or customer on the policy, you can add them as an additional insured.
Contact your insurance agent or broker and ask them to change your policy to include any additional individuals or businesses that you want to cover.
FAQs about certificates of insurance
Review answers to frequently asked questions about COIs.
When do you have to update a certificate of insurance?
When details about your insurance coverage change, such as endorsements, policy limits, or an additional insured, you may need to acquire a copy of an updated certificate. This may be especially needed if you are required to provide proof of coverage to a client or landlord.
What if my certificate of insurance fails to fulfill contract requirements?
If your business contract or property lease required a certain amount of coverage and your current policy doesn't have a sufficient amount, then you will have to contact your insurer and ask them to increase your policy limits.
Once the limits have been increased enough to meet the coverage requirements, you can also ask your insurance company to send a new copy of the certificate of insurance so that you can provide proof that you have the required coverage to meet their business needs.
Will I need more than one certificate of insurance?
A certificate of insurance only provides proof of one type of coverage. This means that you might need to acquire different certificates of insurance in order to fulfill your coverage requirements.
These certificates could include:
For instance, if a contractor is asked to provide proof of general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance before they sign a contract, then they would need to present two different certificates of insurance, one for each policy, to the client in order to secure the job.
Am I able to get digital proof of insurance?
Yes, digital certificates are available to customers on TechInsurance through our online Customer Portal, which can also be found in "My Profile." Digital proof of insurance fulfills the same requirements as a physical copy of an insurance certificate.
If you run into any issues while attempting to download a digital certificate, you can also contact us and we can help provide it to you via email.