Insurance for Roofing Contractors
Roofing contractors install, repair, and re-roof residential and commercial structures. Installation of siding, gutter or insulating material, or minor incidental repair of chimneys may be a part of the operation. Operations vary depending on building height and whether the roof is flat or pitched. Typically a roof consists of a decking, often made of wood or metal, on top of which a covering is installed. “Flashing” made of sheet metal is installed at corners and joints or around chimneys.
Flat roofs may be “built up” from several layers of asphalt-laminated felt covered by asphalt and gravel. Other roofs are covered with shingles made of materials such as asphalt, wood, slate or concrete. Either type may be covered with rolled roofing of tar paper or heavy rubberised material.
In cases like this, whether it’s unintentional property damage (from muddy boots ruining a carpet to damage to the property itself), or missing deadlines on contracts, it’s important to make sure you’re financially protected from the possible consequences of various risks.
At Business Insurance Service, we understand not just the insurance industry, but the commercial sector too. Our brokers have years of experience and expertise in finding tradespeople from across all disciplines the right kind of Contractors’ All Risks and Contract Works insurance cover for tradespeople, giving both sole traders, SMEs, and large building contractors the protection they need.
What Insurance does a Roofing Contractor need?
Roofing can be a competitive and rewarding field, and years of hard work can help contractors establish a strong customer base and reputation. Roofing contractors invest their expertise, time and energy to build or repair roofs that will stand the test of time.
These challenges are magnified when you consider that risks related to property damage, equipment breakdowns, environmental factors and crime must also be addressed. The list below provides an overview of these risks and more—helping you identify potential areas for improvement in your risk management and insurance programmes.
There are certain liability insurance covers that every trades and construction company should have, or are legally required to have. Tradespeople insurance policies provide you with essential covers, such as Public Liability, Employers Liability, Contract Works and Tool Cover.
Minimum recommended cover on a Contractors Combined policy would include Machinery and Contents, Employee Dishonesty, Book Debts, Contractors Plant and Equipment, Contract Works, Goods in Transit, Public/Product Liability, Employers’ Liability
Other covers to consider could be Buildings, Business Interruption with Increased Expenditure, Computers, Employment Practices Liability, Environmental Impairment Liability, Excess of Loss/Difference in Cover Liability, Commercial Vehicle or Motor Fleet.
Property exposure at the roofing contractor’s location is limited to those of an office, shop, and storage of materials, equipment, and vehicles. Solvents, chemicals, or sealants used in operations may be flammable, requiring proper storage and separation from combustibles. If repair work on owned vehicles and equipment is done in the building, fire hazards may be high due to the presence of oils, fuels, and other combustibles.
When hot built-up roofing is done, any preparation work with hot tar and asphalt heated at the site increases the fire potential for both the insured and to neighbouring properties. Equipment and supplies stored outdoors have exposures to wind, vandalism, and theft.
Premises liability exposures at the contractor’s office or shop are generally limited due to lack of public access to the premises. At the job site, tools, power cables, and scraps all pose trip hazards even when not in use. Roofing equipment dropped during operations may cause serious injury to occupants or passers-by, or may cause serious property damage.
Wind or weather may damage the unfinished portion of the roof or the interior of the building during the installation process. Repair or installation using hot tar may be a fire hazard to the building or to neighbouring structures.
While most incidents that occur on a customer’s property would be covered under a public liability policy, property exposures are still present at the contractor’s office and workshop. Exposures can come from malfunctioning electrical equipment, flammable materials, weather and natural disasters.
Completed operations liability exposures arise from collapse, leak, or wind damage to a roof that has not been installed or repaired properly. Gradual leakage of water can cause mould or rot within the structure itself. Quality control and experience are important issues to evaluate.
Once a job has been completed, roofing contractors can be held liable if their work product causes bodily injury or property damage. While claims of smaller problems can often be resolved with a repair, larger issues may result in legal action. Completed operations cover can help protect a contractor in the event of such a claim.
Environmental impairment liability exposures are from the disposal of old roofing materials to the disposal of waste tar, asphalt, sealants and adhesives. Removal of asbestos tiles may be a concern, although it is typically non-friable. Documentation of the transport and disposal process is important.
The disposal of old roofing materials presents potential environmental liabilities, as these materials can create pollution. Environmental incidents are particularly concerning because they can cause harm to the surrounding community, involve costly clean-up and often cause damage to a business’ reputation.
Commercial Vehicle / Motor Fleet
The vast majority of roofing contractors depend on employees to operate vehicles for the company, creating motor vehicle exposures in the process. While important for daily operations (eg driving between worksites or transporting tools), the use of a vehicle can lead to potential accidents and major insurance claims. What’s more, if you allow employees to use their own vehicles for work, standard motor vehicle policies are often not enough.
If hot tar or asphalt is used, transport may be hazardous as overturn could result in damage to other vehicles. Age, training, experience, and drivers’ records, as well as the age, condition, and maintenance of the vehicles are all important items to consider.
Goods in Transit
Roofing contractors regularly transport equipment, tools and supplies to and from worksites. As such, any property that’s unique or valuable in transit, in your temporary care, stored at fixed (but movable) locations or used to transfer information represents transport exposures. Materials and tools can be damaged in transit from shifting loads or traffic collisions, or at the worksite from collision, being dropped or poor weather conditions. They can also be lost from theft, potentially creating costly losses. Cover such as goods in transit and stock throughput insurance can help fill these gaps.
Employers’ liability exposures can be severe. Workers can fall from roofs due to tripping or from sudden changes in the weather. They may also be injured by falling objects. Common hazards include injuries from lifting, cutting the flashing and other materials, and work with hand and power tools. The application of hot tar and asphalt can result in burns and eye, skin, and lung irritations.
Any time one of your employees is injured on-site, your organisation could be subjected to expensive employers’ liability claims. Common sources of worksite accidents for roofing contractors include falls from heights (eg roofs and scaffolds) and heat stress. Employees may also experience injuries related to equipment use; slips, trips and falls; and repetitive tasks that can cause musculoskeletal injuries. Everyday tasks can lead to accidents and, in turn, increased costs for your business.
No matter how careful your employees are, accidents can and do happen. These accidents create significant bodily injury exposure. Slips, trips and falls are common hazards in roofing operations. What’s more, because roofers work at heights with tools, people below are at risk of injury from falling objects. In the event of a bodily injury to an employee, client or third party, a roofing contractor could be forced to pay for medical costs and legal expenses.
What other risks does a Roofing Contractor face?
Other exposures include contractors’ plant and equipment, goods in transit, and contract works. Hoists, ladders, scaffolding and similar equipment may be damaged during transport to or from the jobsite by collision or upset, or during setup or use.
Tools and building materials may be subject to damage by dropping or loss due to theft by third parties or employees. Material being installed is highly susceptible to damage during handling or from wind or rain before installation is complete.
Risk Management Advice for Roofing Contractors
Owning a roofing contractor business can be physically and mentally demanding, and it’s a constant challenge to deliver exceptional service while maintaining profitability. Thankfully, assessing your exposures and taking the appropriate precautions can go a long way towards protecting your business. This proactive approach is particularly important when it comes to identifying and avoiding gaps in your risk management programme.
While the proper risk management practices can reduce certain exposures, no system is 100 per cent effective in ensuring an incident-free workplace. As a result, it’s all the more crucial to work with a qualified insurance broker to not only assess your exposures, but secure the appropriate cover as well. To learn more, contact Business Insurance Service today.
How can Business Insurance Service help Roofing Contractors?
Whether you’re a sole trader or a small to large company, your insurance portfolio has to be up to date and provide you and your business with the right level of protection. Rather than trying to find Contract Works Insurance or tradesperson insurance by hunting through countless websites, let us or our website do it for you.
We’re members of the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) and work with some of the largest and best-known insurance providers in the UK, including Lloyds of London for larger, more complex and high-risk customers. We’re fully regulated and committed to delivering a premium quality, trustworthy and reliable service to all our customers, regardless of size.
As preferred brokers working with some of the largest insurance providers in the UK, we have immediate access to a huge range of policies for businesses, tradespeople and construction companies. We provide our customers with a bespoke or package service, creating insurance portfolios that are specifically tailored to your individual needs, and your budget.