How to Check if a Contractor is Bonded

We can’t do everything ourselves in this world. Whether it is due to a lack of time, resources or skills or just because you don’t feel like taking on a task yourself, now and then we need to hire someone. When hiring a contractor, you trust that this person shows up and does the job the way you agreed. You expect quality.

Unfortunately, there are those instances where your hired contractor can’t or won’t perform properly. On these occasions, you want an outside party to have your (and their) back. But how do you know if the contractor you’re about to hire is bonded?  When a contractor is bonded they have paid a surety company like to receive a certain capacity. It protects the consumer when a contractor is unable to complete the work for whatever reason. It sometimes also covers you and your contractor when they have caused damages to your property. It is a form of liability protection. Enough reason to want to make sure your contractor has bought their bond. It differs per state and even per municipality what type of bond a contractor is required to buy.

Make sure you research what the requirements are in your area before you hire a contractor. Insurance There are also certain insurances that you want your contractor to have. One of them is liability insurance. This insurance covers you when the contractor has caused any damages while working for you. This is different from the bond because it does not cover the contractor when they are unable to finish the job. Another insurance is the worker’s compensation. This protects the contractor when there are work-related injuries and lost wages as a direct result of that.

Some trades require a worker to have the appropriate licensing to legally perform that trade. Electrician and plumber are examples of people you want to have the right paperwork. There is also something called a general contractor’s license for people who do a whole variety of different work. Again, licensing laws differ per state so you might want to look into the specific requirements in your state.

Check the paperwork

Before you sign a contract with your contractor, do check if they have the necessary paperwork, bonds and insurances to protect both you and themselves.

Ask your contractor’s bond number to check if they have indeed bought their bond. Also, ask to see the insurance paperwork and license. Protect yourself, your property and contractor by making sure everything is in order before starting the work. It’s a little investment of time up front, but it might save you a lot of grief in the end.