Proof of insurance for your small business

April 10, 2012

What is a Certificate of Insurance, and why am I being asked to present one?

A Certificate of Insurance provides a summary of information about an insurance policy that is in place for your business. Usually it displays the type of small business insurance you purchased (for example, Professional Liability, General Liability, or a Business Owners insurance), the limits and deductibles on your policy, who is insured (i.e., you or your business’s name as the named insured), the name of the insurance company issuing the policy, and the effective and expiration dates of your policy. It may also contain other information that is relevant to your policy except for the premium you paid. Premium is typically left off of the certificate since there’s no need for other people to know this information.

What do does it do?

A Certificate of Insurance can be used as evidence that you purchased a policy. This is also sometimes referred to as proof of insurance. Often times small business owners are required by a contract to purchase small business insurance, and the certificate can be presented as evidence that you fulfilled your obligation. The certificate itself does not grant or change any coverage to you or any other party. Only the actual insurance policy itself provides coverage. You should always read your policy forms to learn what you are covered for and what is excluded.

What is a Certificate Holder?

There may be times when the party who asked you to provide proof of insurance is requesting their name or business name be added to your Certificate as a Certificate Holder.

This is a common request, and you should not be concerned if this is asked of you. It is important to note, however, that Certificate Holders do not have any legal rights under a Certificate, which merely establishes that an insurance policy exists. The Certificate Holder will enjoy protection under a policy only if the policy is endorsed and he or she is named as an Additional Insured.

How do I get a Certificate of Insurance?

When you purchase small business insurance from Hiscox, the Certificate is included in the insurance documents that are emailed to you upon the purchase of your policy. If you have any other need for a Certificates of Insurance, please contact one of our licensed advisors at 866-283-7545.