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.
If you don't have a policy, you can purchase business insurance and get your COI within hours. Most business owners that buy insurance through TechInsurance get a certificate of insurance within two hours of purchasing coverage.
To buy an insurance policy:
Once you've bought an insurance policy with TechInsurance, you can easily request a certificate of insurance online.
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.
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:
Land a new project
Sign a commercial lease
Work as an independent contractor
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.
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 liability insurance 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.
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.
When a staffing agency or a business hires you as a 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 software company are protected during the lawsuit.
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 payments.
The cost of small business liability insurance primarily depends on which policies you buy. The most common policy, general liability insurance, has an average cost of $42 per month.
A commercial certificate of insurance form includes the date the COI was issued, who issued it, who it covers, the type of insurance, the policy limits, and other information.
If you receive a form from a vendor or subcontractor, check it over to ensure:
View a sample ACORD certificate of liability insurance.
Certificates of liability insurance summarize your own coverage; 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.