What is a Certificate of insurance? and why is everyone asking you for one.

In New York it’s pretty standard practice that before your crew sets foot on any jobsite you will need to provide proof of insurance.

Proof of insurance can be provided in a number of ways, but typically a COI (Certificate of Insurance) or cert is the most common.

There are lots of reasons as to why the building owner or General Contractor (GC) will want your proof of coverage.

The two main reasons are to make sure if you screw up your insurance is there to pay.

Second, is because if you do not have liability and workers compensation insurance the GC would be charged additional premium to cover your work.

If the latter, please stop what you’re doing and get proper coverage for your business. Seriously.

How do you get a COI or certificate of liability insurance?


The easiest and fastest way is to email or call your broker. At GRBM we deliver certs all day, every day, to our clients.

Not to mention any names but a certain new client needed over 100 certs in the first 24 hours after we issued their new policy, and we delivered all of them on time. #HumbleBrag

Once you make the request to your broker he or she should deliver your COI customized with the required certificate holder and additional insureds as required.

Please note that sometimes the list of additional insureds can get very VERY long, which is why we always encourage you to get a sample from whomever is requiring proof of coverage.


How long does it a take to get a COI?


At GRBM we deliver COIs in 90 minutes or less.

However, if it’s an immediate need, we can provide while we are on the phone with you. That being said, if every COI you request is an emergency… be prepared for a chat on planning ahead. Last minute things happen, but every job shouldn’t need an immediate certificate of insurance.

How much does it cost to get a COI?


Nothing, COI’s are part of the service we provide to our customers. If your broker is charging you a per certificate fee, it’s time to find a new broker ASAP.

However, sometimes a particular job can require additional coverage which results in additional premium. GRBM never charges fees for providing certificates of insurance regardless of how many you need.

The Acord 25 is by far the most requested certificate of insurance. Most general contractors and building owners will accept this form with the proper certificate holder and additional required wording.

But here in New York we also have a few special forms for certificate of liability insurance.

The Acord 25 – Certificate of Liablity Insurance – The most common proof of coverage form.

The Acord 855- New York Construction Certificate of Liability Insurance Addendum  – Specialized New York Contractors Certificate of Liability – Designed to show if you have injury to employees / Action over Coverage.

PGL1 Form- Project-Specific General Liability Insurance Summary and Affirmation – this is a New York City Department of Buildings Only form. This is specifically for large projects or ground up construction. 

Sometimes you will be required to provide an Acord 25, Acord 855 and even a copy of all your policies. The level of review varies greatly by the general contractor or developer you are working for. In New York you should expect a bit more of a strict and comprehensive review, especially on larger or exterior projects in New York City.

What information is on a certificate of liability insurance?


The basic Acord 25 provides a summary overview of the insurance maintained by your company. Which includes General Liability, Commercial Auto, Commercial Umbrella, and Workers Compensation.

It also includes the insurance company name, policy numbers, coverage amounts and effective expiration dates of each policy. Additional lines of coverage can be added to the form as needed.

Something to keep in mind if you are requesting certificates from a sub-contractor, sometimes unethical contractors and brokers will attempt to mislead the coverage available.

If you receive a certificate of insurance and something looks off, you should alert your broker as soon as possible for further assistance.

While we look for the best in people we still come across situations like this far too often. Indicators of a certificate that has been tampered with include missing broker information like phone number or email address.

Additionally, if the document has items that don’t line up or don’t have the same font.

Not every sub-contractor is out there trying to pass off a fake certificate, but you should always be on the lookout for those red flags.

If you need a COI for a project you are about to start, please take the next step below. From start to finish we aim to make the insurance buying process as simple as possible.


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