What is an ACORD Certificate, and How Do I Use it?

June 05, 2013

Learn more about the benefits of having and using an ACORD certificate of liability insurance as a small business owner.

As a small business owner, your clients may ask you to provide an ACORD certificate of insurance, or COI. Clients want to see your ACORD certificate of liability insurance to be certain you are insured with the type and amount of small business insurance they require.

What is an ACORD certificate of liability insurance?

The one-page ACORD certificate of insurance summarizes essential information about your insurance policy, such as coverage types, policy numbers, insurance limits, and effective and expiration dates.

How is this certificate issued?

ACORD certificates are governed by the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development, a nonprofit insurance industry organization that provides the standardized forms and certificates used by almost 90% of property and casualty insurance carriers in the U.S.

Why is this certificate important to have?

These ACORD forms contain checkboxes and pre-printed areas that clarify important insurance details – sort of like IRS forms. When all insurance carriers and agents use the same forms, everyone benefits from reduced ambiguity and increased accuracy. This is why having an ACORD certificate of liability insurance on hand to provide to clients will help you and your clients do business more effectively.

Who can benefit from an ACORD certificate?

It’s important to know that clients aren’t the only ones who can use ACORD certificates to their advantage. These certificates, which are widely accepted in both the United States and abroad, are useful tools for small business owners, too. Ask your vendors, subcontractors, and contractors for their ACORD certificates. Chances are, if they don’t readily respond, they are not insured, as most insurance agents provide them to clients at no charge.

Take advantage of the legal security and peace of mind that an ACORD certificate of liability insurance can provide for you as a small business owner and your clients. Make sure you have an ACORD certificate of insurance on hand, ready for when a client asks for it.

Do you have an ACORD certificate of insurance on hand? Have your clients asked for one recently? Share your experiences below!