When you submit a proposal for a contract, you may be asked to provide an ACORD certificate of insurance. An ACORD certificate is proof that you have the amount and kind of liability insurance the client requires for the project. An ACORD certificate may also be requested by a bank or mortgage company for a property they hold the mortgage on, or by an equipment leasing company when they lease equipment for a project.
Do you have an ACORD certificate for your small business?
An ACORD certificate is so-called because it is governed by the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development, a non-profit organization that provides standardized forms and certificates for almost 90% of US property and casualty insurance carriers.
The certificate is a summary of the policy including policy limits, types of coverage, and effective and expiration dates. It provides all the information a client would need to determine whether or not you have the insurance they require. It’s presented in a standard format, so a client can compare the certificates from several potential vendors, creating a level playing field.
ACORD certificates are available for general liability insurance, property insurance, automobile insurance, aviation and aircraft insurance, and more. A requestor may ask for one or more certificates, depending on the types of insurance required.
Since an ACORD certificate is a standard document used by most carriers, an organization can quickly determine if a prospective contractor has the insurance company required for a particular project. A company or government agency can compare the insurance coverage that each bidder carries against the project’s specifications.
When you get liability insurance for your business, ask your agent for an ACORD certificate to keep on hand. You’ll want to be able to provide it to any prospective client who asks for it. Not only will it show that you have the insurance that your client requires, it will show that you are proactive and prepared for any scenario that may arise. Having an ACORD certificate ready to show upon request could differentiate you from other companies who are bidding on the same job.
It’s important to have the latest version of your ACORD certificate. Since the certificate form is updated periodically, ask your agent each year when your policy renews if there is a new certificate. If there have been changes in the last year, request a new certificate.
As a small business owner, you can require an ACORD certificate of prospective contractors, subcontractors, or vendors to determine if the people you are considering doing business with are properly insured.