Basement Finishing: The Most Important Question

What is the most important question to ask before hiring a contractor for your basement finishing project?

Believe it or not, the most important question might also be the least asked: Do you carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance?

Why on earth would that be the most important question?

If you hire a contractor to work in your home, you could be legally liable to pay for medical bills and time off work if he gets hurt. It doesn’t matter if he is licensed, unlicensed, a sole proprietor, an officer of a corporation, a bum off the street, or a millionaire – YOU are “the boss.”

Be Prepared Before Starting Your Basement Finishing Project

Regardless of who your basement finishing contractor is, if you pay someone to work in your home then you are an “employer” under workers’ compensation law.

As the party providing “employment,” you are also responsible for providing compensation in the even that someone is hurt in your home.

Who could you be liable for?

First, your basement finishing contractor. Second, any of his employees. Next, anyone that he subcontracts to come to your home to work. Also, anyone that his subcontractor hires to work in your home. Further, the truck driver that delivers materials for your project to your home. Additionally, the man who delivers the dumpster to your home for all the waste. The guy you offered a six-pack to if he would help carry lumber in. Also… And… Him too…

You get the picture?

Anyone who works in your home poses a threat to you. So how do you avoid this threat?

The quickest and easiest way… get proof of worker’s compensation insurance coverage from your basement finishing contractor. NO EXCEPTIONS. He may tell you he doesn’t need it because everyone who works for him has it.

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Well yes, but what if one of those guys lets the policy lapse, or cancels it? Sure, your basement finishing contractor would find out eventually, but what happens if the person in question gets hurt in the interim?

If your basement finishing contractor tells you he doesn’t need Worker’s Comp insurance because he requires all of his subcontractors to carry it, you go ahead and tell him that won’t cover you if he’s wrong, if a policy lapses, or if one of his subcontractors lies to him, etc.

If he tries to convince you it’s not important, summarily dismiss him without further question!

If your basement finishing contractor carries worker’s compensation insurance coverage, it acts as an umbrella for every other contractor who comes to your home to perform work, whether an employer OR a subcontractor. This umbrella shields you from potential liability!

Don’t make the costly mistake of hiring a contractor without coverage. Ask the most important question!

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