Certificate of Insurance – What Is It Used For?

Small business owners in the U.S. are often required to show insurance proof. The Certificate of Insurance (COI) is a document that you can show your customer to prove you are insured.  

Key Takeaways

  • A Certificate of Insurance (COI) is a document that verifies the existence and details of an individual’s or company’s insurance policy.
  • It serves as proof of coverage and summarizes crucial information like policy effective dates, coverage types, and limits.
  • Small business owners and contractors often require a COI to conduct business transactions and mitigate liability risks.
  • Obtaining a COI helps ensure all parties involved in a project or transaction have adequate liability insurance protection.
  • Validating the details on a COI is essential for risk management verification and maintaining compliance with insurance requirements.

Understanding the Certificate of Insurance

A Certificate of Insurance (COI) shows someone has active insurance. It proves they have the right policies to cover them if something goes wrong. For example, a business may need a COI from a contractor before they start any work. This makes sure everyone is protected.

What Is a Certificate of Insurance (COI)?

A COI gives a quick view of an insurance policy. It includes important info like who’s covered, when the policy starts and ends, what’s covered, and how much the policy will pay out. This document also lists what’s not covered and any special conditions.

Key Takeaways of a Certificate of Insurance

  • It confirms that an insurance policy is real and stands by the rules (underwriting substantiation).
  • It lists key information like when the policy runs, how much is covered, and what is specifically insured.
  • Businesses need this from contractors to make sure they have enough insurance before starting a project.
  • Having a COI can help everyone feel more secure and lower the chance of financial loss in case of an accident.

Certificate of Insurance – Its Purpose and Usage

Certificates of Insurance (COIs) are important for managing risks and making sure everyone is keeping up with insurance rules. They show proof of coverage and policy evidence, saying that someone or a company is well covered.

How Certificates of Insurance (COI) Work

COIs are key when thinking about risks and potential losses. They let everyone in on a project or business deal see and check each other’s insurance certificate. In a simple way, they give the main points of an insurance policy. This helps clients, contractors, and others know there’s enough liability insurance documents.

Validating a Certificate of Insurance

To check if a Certificate of Insurance is real and right, clients should look at some key points. They should make sure the name on the insurance matches the company they’re working with. They must also look at the policy’s start and end dates, the insurance amounts which should meet project needs, and the insurance company’s realness.

Details of a Certificate of Insurance

A detailed Certificate of Insurance has these main points:

  • Policyholder’s information (name, address, and contact details)
  • Insurance companies involved and what they cover
  • Specific coverage validation for different types of insurance, like general liability
  • Who asked for the COI
  • Start and end dates of the policy
  • Additional terms or notes
Policy Type Coverage Details Insurer
General Liability $1,000,000 per occurrence
$2,000,000 aggregate
Acme Insurance
Professional Liability $500,000 per claim
$1,000,000 aggregate
Reliable Insurers
Workers’ Compensation Statutory limits Safe Harbor Insurance

By deeply checking the Certificate of Insurance, everyone can make sure risks are managed well. This avoids problems and helps projects go smoothly.

Certificate of Insurance – What Is It Used For?

To get a Certificate of Insurance (COI), you can ask your insurance company. This is needed when hiring contractors. Ask them for it before they start any work on your property.

How to Get a Certificate of Insurance

Contractors use a COI to show they have coverage. It’s easy to get one. Just contact your insurance provider, and they will give you a COI.

Who Needs a Certificate of Insurance (COI)?

Anyone who hires a contractor or business for work should ask for a COI. This is very important. It makes sure the hired party has the right insurance to keep you safe.

How Long is a Certificate of Insurance Good For?

It’s best to keep COIs forever just in case. They usually expire when the policy ends. But, keeping them means you’re ready if there are any future problems.

When Should I Get a Certificate of Insurance?

You should get a COI before work begins on your property. Make sure it’s recent and checks all the boxes for coverage. This shows that the people you hire are properly insured.

Action Who Details
Obtain COI Policyholders Request from insurance company or agent
Request COI Clients hiring contractors Request directly from contractor’s insurer
Require COI Anyone hiring independent contractors As proof of insurance for services on property
Have COI Contractors To prove to clients they are insured
Keep COIs All parties Indefinitely in case issues arise later
Obtain and verify COI Clients Before work starts, checking coverage


A Certificate of Insurance is essential. It shows insurance coverage details and is legal proof of enough insurance. This helps everyone in a project know they are protected. Businesses can lower risks and make projects smoother with valid Certificates of Insurance.

When contractors have Certificates from Travelers or Chubb, it means they work safely. This gives clients peace of mind, knowing they’re protected from risks. It builds trust and confidence among everyone involved, thanks to the clarity the Certificates bring.

Obtaining and validating COIs is crucial, especially in risky industries like construction. It makes sure everyone has enough insurance. This way, projects don’t face unexpected delays or legal problems. It makes the work environment more efficient and safe.


What is a Certificate of Insurance (COI)?

A Certificate of Insurance (COI) proves you have an insurance policy. It shows important details and conditions.

What are the key takeaways of a Certificate of Insurance?

A COI confirms you have insurance. It lists what your policy covers and when it’s valid. Clients often need to see this before starting work.

How do Certificates of Insurance (COI) work?

COIs help manage risks of liability and loss. They show everyone involved has the right insurance. This protects all parties legally.

How can I validate a Certificate of Insurance?

To check a COI, match the insured’s name to the contract. Confirm policy dates and cover amounts. Make sure the insurer is trustworthy.

What details are included in a Certificate of Insurance?

A COI includes policyholder data, insurer names, and coverage specifics like limits. It also names the certificate holder.

How do I get a Certificate of Insurance?

If you’re the policyholder, ask your insurance company or agent for a COI. If you’re hiring, request it from the contractor’s insurance.

Who needs a Certificate of Insurance (COI)?

Hiring a contractor or business for your project needs a COI. This shows they have insurance. Contractors use COIs to prove their coverage.

How long is a Certificate of Insurance good for?

Keep your COI always. This helps if any future problems relate to the work.

When should I get a Certificate of Insurance?

Get the COI before work starts on your property. Make sure insurance needs are met then.

Source Links

nationwide insurance, allstate, travelers insurance, liberty mutual insurance, safeco, the hartford, attune, chubb, amtrust, employers
  • Nationwide
  • Allstate
  • Employers
  • The Hartford
  • Travelers
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Chubb
  • Safeco Insurance
  • Berkshire Hathaway Guard
  • Am Trust
  • Attune
  • and many more..

*Disclaimer: Information on this website is general insurance advice. Please speak with a local insurance professional as they are able to analyze the nuances of your specific business. This is an important step to ensure you don’t have any unknown gaps in your coverage.

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