Certificate of Insurance (COI)

Written by: Chloe Silverman, Senior Writer at The Hartford
Reviewed by: Gene Marks, CPA, Author & Small Business Owner

What Are Certificates of Insurance?

certificate of insuranceA certificate of insurance (COI) is a document from an insurer to show you have seguro de negocio. They’re also known as certificates of liability insurance or proof of insurance. With a COI, your clients can make sure you have the right insurance before they start working with you.
At The Hartford, we make it quick and easy to request a COI, no matter the day or time. The document is typically no more than one page long and provides a summary of business insurance coverage that your business has.

What Does a Certificate of Insurance Typically Include?

The policyholder on a COI is the “insured.” Other basic information on a certificate of insurance includes:
For example, a COI for a company with small business insurance might outline details of its:
After requesting a COI, you become a certificate holder and your name and contact information will be on the document. If you ask another small business owner to provide you a COI, they’ll also have to notify you of any policy cancellations.

Why Do I Need To Provide a Certificate of Insurance?

certificate insurancePotential clients or independent contractors may ask for proof of insurance coverage before agreeing to work with you. That’s why it’s important for small businesses to have a COI.
For example, let’s say you’re submitting a bid to provide landscaping services for a town. To have the winning bid, there’s likely a condition to provide certificates of liability insurance proving you have an active policy that can protect against claims of bodily injury and property damage.

How To Get a Certificate of Insurance

If your client requests a COI, you can get one from your insurance company. Some states may also let businesses use an electronic version or insurance ID cards to prove they have insurance. It’s a good idea to make sure you know what’s acceptable in your estado.
If you’re a policyholder with The Hartford, requesting a certificate of insurance is easy. You can request one in less than five minutes through your online account. In most cases, you’ll get your certificate instantly. Chat or phone support are also available to guide you through if you get stuck.
Here are the three ways to request a certificate of insurance:
  1. Register or log into your account online and complete our certificate of insurance form.
  2. Contact local insurance agents or brokers or call 866-467-8730 y comuníquese con uno de nuestros especialistas.
  3. If you need coverage, you can get a business insurance quote online in just a few minutes.

Why Ask for a Certificate of Insurance?

certificates of insuranceBefore another company works for you, it’s a good idea to request a COI. This lets you make sure they have the right insurance coverage. If they don’t, a person can report a claim under your policy.
To give you a better understanding, let’s say you hire a subcontractor. You didn’t request a COI before hiring the subcontractor to do work and they cause $200,000 worth of property damage. Without small business liability insurance, you may have to pay for the damage out of pocket.
You can avoid this situation if you ask for proof of insurance before any work begins. If you find a gap in their coverage, ask them to get the correct insurance and give you an updated COI. If they don’t agree, you can find someone new to work with.
When you’re reviewing a COI, make sure it:
  • Is issued by a legitimate insurance company
  • Matches the name of the person or company you’re hiring
  • Has the correct amount of coverage
  • Lists each coverage
  • Has a policy with an expiration date after completing your project

How Much Does a Certificate of Insurance Cost?

There’s no cost to get a certificate of insurance. However, if you don’t have an insurance policy, you’ll need to get coverage through an insurer first. There’s no one-size-fits-all policy, so insurance costs vary. Our customers pay an average of $85 a month for a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP).1
Remember, your cost can depend on different factors and will be unique to your business. The best way to find out how much coverage will cost you is to get a business insurance quote.

Common Proof of Insurance Mistakes

proof of insuranceOne of the biggest mistakes you can make when hiring a third party is accepting a certificate of insurance that didn’t come from an insurance agent or company. Getting a COI from an insurance provider means you’ll see accurate information about their coverage details and limits.
It’s a good idea to get in the habit of asking for a COI every time you hire a third party, even if you’ve worked with them before. Their insurance coverage could have changed since the last time you worked with them.
Last Updated: November 15, 2023
1 Premium amounts presented are based on monthly premium paid by The Hartford's Small Business customers between 1/1/22 and 9/14/23 for 12-month policies. Premium is derived from a number of factors specific to your business and may vary.
Divulgaciones adicionales a continuación.
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