Who is the Cheapest “A” Rated Contractor’s Liability Insurance Company in New York and Connecticut?

One of the most common questions contractors ask is, “Who is the cheapest general liability insurance company?”

Well here is the dirty little secret — Utica First Insurance Company is, nine times out of ten, the cheapest contractor’s liability insurance company. The Utica First Artisan Contractors Liability policy is super cheap, starting at just over $400 in Connecticut, but cheap isn’t always best.

Thinking “cheap” can result in shoddy construction and workmanship.
It gets the job done, but how well does it hold up in the long run?

If you read my post here on who offers the best contractor’s liability insurance, Utica First did not even make the list. Utica First does not offer the broadest coverage. They have policy restrictions and requires an annoying policy survey. But when small contractors go looking for cheap coverage, Utica First makes the short list.

 

The Good

 

Price

Utica First’s price is rated, or based, on how many people are employed by the contractor. Quite frankly, this company has the lowest premiums I’ve seen for contractor’s liability insurance. The annual premiums have also been extremely stable year after year.

Blanket Additional Insured

The optional Blanket Additional Insured Endorsement allows you to get as many certificates of insurance as you need with no additional cost for additional insureds. What this means is, if you get into a job and determine that you need to hire someone else, you’re covered.

Payment Options

Utica only requires 25% down to bind coverage. Installment payments are billed 60 days apart for a total of 4 payments and Utica makes it easy to pay your bill. They accept credit cards and e-checks and you can pay online or over the phone.

Local

Utica First is based right here in New York. They are licensed in several states including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Stability

Utica First is A rated by AmBest and was founded in 1903. They built the company on the Artisan Contractors General Liability program.

Equipment Coverage

The optional Toolbox endorsement gives a lot of coverage for a minimal cost. For example, they offer the $10,000 Installation Floater and $5,000 Small Tools coverage.

Speed

Streamlined quoting allows for nearly instant quotes for contractor’s liability insurance. Quote, Bind and Certificate can all happen extremely quickly.

 

The Bad

 

Payment Options

While it’s great that they offer billing payments instead of 100% down, it is limited with only a 4-pay at 60-day intervals payment option. A variety of options would be much better for lots of contractors.

Residential Only

Utica only wants contractors that focus on residential projects. They will allow extremely small amounts of commercial work, but it is a severe limitation for some contractors.

Size < 5 Employees

The Artisan Contractors Liability program with Utica First is designed for small contractors only. If you have a total of 5 employees, including the owner, you are too large for this program.

No Hired and Non-Owned Auto

Some contracts require you to have commercial auto coverage. Unfortunately, Utica won’t endorse on hired and non-owned auto. *But it’s probably time to move that pickup from your personal auto to a business auto policy anyways*, is what many contractors are told.

No Additional Insured Completed Operations

While the blanket additional insured endorsement is great, it does not include coverage for completed operations for the additional insured. This is a more technical issue, but basically, it can put you in violation of some contracts.

No Contractual Liability/Action Over Coverage

This is another rather technical aspect. In a nutshell, labor laws in New York allow employees to sue employers for any gravity-related injuries. Utica First does not provided coverage for these types of law suits.

 

Bottom Line

Utica First is a solid budget choice for the very small contractors. It provides coverage, at a good value to the new or small contractor.  We are happy to be agents with Utica First and sell hundreds of their artisan policies every year. The key is knowing what you are buying.  Interested in learning more, contact me or grab an appointment below.

 

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