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Course of Construction Insurance

Course of construction insurance, also known as builder's risk insurance or COC insurance, is a specialized insurance policy designed to protect renovation or construction projects during the construction phase.

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The COC Insurance provides coverage for property damage and losses that may occur during the construction process, ensuring the financial investment is safeguarded and potential risks are mitigated.

Fundamental of COC Insurance

One of the key aspects to understand about course of construction insurance is that it primarily covers property damage and losses, rather than liability. To adequately protect against third-party injuries or property damage, liability coverage must be purchased separately or combined with the course of construction insurance.

Builder's risk insurance policies are location-based, meaning the exact location of the construction site needs to be declared on the policy. This information is crucial during the underwriting process as it allows the insurance provider to assess the specific risks associated with the construction site and provide accurate coverage based on the location's characteristics and potential hazards.

Overall, course of construction insurance or builder's risk insurance is essential for protecting construction projects from unexpected events such as fire, theft, vandalism, and natural disasters. By obtaining the appropriate insurance coverage, construction projects can proceed with confidence, knowing that their financial investment is protected, and potential risks are mitigated.

Definition and Purpose of Course of Construction Insurance

Course of construction insurance is a policy specifically tailored for construction projects. Its purpose is to provide financial protection to project owners, contractors, and other stakeholders against a wide range of risks that can arise during the construction phase. This insurance coverage is temporary and typically spans the duration of the construction project until its completion or handover.

Coverage Provided by Course of Construction Insurance Policies

Course of construction insurance policies offer comprehensive coverage for various aspects of a construction project. The specific coverage can vary depending on the policy and insurance provider, but it typically includes:

  1. Property Damage Coverage: This aspect of the insurance policy protects against a range of perils, including fire, theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and accidental damage. It covers not only the physical structure being built but also construction materials, equipment, and temporary works. As the project progresses, the coverage amount increases progressively to account for the growing value of the construction.
  • Example: Suppose a construction project involves building a commercial office space. During the early stages, the property damage coverage may protect the construction materials stored on-site from theft or damage. As the project advances, it extends to cover the partially constructed building and the installed equipment, ensuring protection against fire, storm damage, or vandalism.
  1. Hard Cost Coverage: Hard costs refer to the direct expenses associated with the physical construction of the building, such as materials, labor, and equipment. Course of construction insurance provides coverage for these hard costs. The coverage amount typically increases progressively as the project moves forward, reflecting the rising value of the construction work.
  • Example: Consider a residential construction project. At the initial stages, the hard cost coverage may include protection for the foundation work, framing materials, and initial installations. As the project progresses, the coverage expands to encompass additional expenses related to plumbing, electrical work, interior finishes, and other construction components.
  1. Soft Cost Coverage: Soft costs are indirect expenses incurred during a construction project that are not directly associated with the physical construction itself. They typically include items like architectural and engineering fees, permits, legal expenses, and marketing costs. Course of construction insurance may offer coverage for these soft costs as well.
  • Example: In the case of a large-scale commercial development, the soft cost coverage may include protection for expenses such as design and consulting fees, permits and inspections, project management costs, and advertising or marketing expenses. This coverage ensures that these indirect costs are accounted for and protected against unforeseen events.

As the construction project progresses and more materials and labor are involved, the coverage amount and scope of the policy increase progressively to align with the changing value of the construction. This ensures that the project remains adequately protected throughout its development stages and helps mitigate the financial risks associated with potential property damage or losses.

Key Benefits and Reasons for Obtaining Course of Construction Insurance

Obtaining course of construction insurance offers several key benefits, making it essential for construction projects. Some of these benefits include:
  1. Financial Protection: Construction projects involve significant financial investments. Course of construction insurance protects against potential losses and damages that can occur during construction, ensuring that the project remains financially viable.

  2. Risk Mitigation: Construction sites are inherently exposed to various risks, such as fires, theft, natural disasters, or accidents. Course of construction insurance mitigates these risks by providing coverage for unforeseen events, reducing the financial burden on the project owner or contractor.

  3. Compliance with Contractual Requirements: Many construction projects require course of construction insurance as a contractual obligation. Having this insurance coverage in place ensures compliance with project agreements, allowing smooth project execution and avoiding any contractual disputes.

  4. Lender or Investor Requirements: In many cases, lenders or investors financing a construction project may require course of construction insurance. This requirement helps protect their financial interests and ensures that the project has adequate coverage against potential risks.

  5. Peace of Mind: Course of construction insurance provides peace of mind to project owners, contractors, and other stakeholders. It allows them to focus on the construction process without undue worry about unforeseen events or financial setbacks.

What other insurance should go together with COC insurance?

When considering course of construction (COC) insurance, it is essential to recognize that it primarily covers property damage and does not extend to liability issues. To ensure comprehensive protection, several other insurance policies should be considered in conjunction with COC insurance. Two crucial insurance types that should go together with COC insurance are:
  1. Contractors and Subtrades' Liability Insurance: Contractors and subcontractors involved in the construction project should have liability insurance coverage. This insurance protects them against third-party claims for bodily injury or property damage caused during the course of their work. It is crucial for contractors and subcontractors to have their liability coverage to address any claims arising from their actions or negligence.

  2. Equipment and Tools Insurance: Insurance coverage for equipment and tools is vital for both the general contractor and subcontractors. This insurance protects against damage, loss, or theft of valuable construction equipment and tools used on-site. While COC insurance covers property damage to the building and construction materials, it typically does not extend to the tools and equipment owned by subcontractors.

    Case Example: Damage caused by Subtrade Negligence without Liability Coverage: Consider a scenario where a subcontractor is responsible for electrical wiring in a construction project. Due to their negligence, an electrical fire breaks out, resulting in significant damage to the partially constructed building. If the subcontractor does not have liability insurance, they may not have the financial means to compensate for the damages caused.

    In such a case, if the subcontractor's negligence leads to property damage, without their liability insurance coverage, the burden of the losses may fall on the general contractor or the project owner. This highlights the importance of contractors and subcontractors having their liability coverage to protect against situations where their actions or negligence result in property damage.

    By emphasizing the need for contractors and subtrades to carry liability insurance and having proper coverage for their equipment and tools, construction projects can mitigate the risks associated with potential liabilities and property damage caused by subcontractors' actions or negligence. It ensures that responsible parties are financially equipped to address any claims arising from their work and safeguards the project from unforeseen losses.

  3. Commercial Auto Insurance: If vehicles are used for construction purposes, such as transporting materials or equipment, commercial auto insurance is necessary. It covers liability for accidents involving company-owned vehicles and provides coverage for damages or injuries resulting from vehicle-related incidents.

  4. Owner Liability Insurance: Project owners should consider obtaining owner liability insurance to protect themselves against potential legal claims arising from accidents or injuries that occur on the construction site. This insurance covers the owner's liability and legal expenses in case a third party files a lawsuit against them due to construction-related incidents.

  5. Wrap-Up Insurance: Either in Owner-Controlled Insurance Programs (OCIP) or Contractor-Controlled Insurance Programs (CCIP), is a comprehensive liability insurance policy that provides coverage for all parties involved in a construction project. It consolidates the insurance coverage for various contractors, subcontractors, and other stakeholders, eliminating the need for individual policies. Wrap-up insurance typically covers very largescale project with huge amount of general liability and excess liability are needed on everybody involved in the project including the subtrade and all involved party with access to the site.

  6. Surety Bond: Surety bonds are financial guarantees that ensure the completion of a construction project according to the contract terms. They protect the project owner by providing compensation in case the contractor fails to fulfill their contractual obligations. Performance bonds and payment bonds are two common types of surety bonds used in the construction industry.

Including commercial auto insurance, owner liability insurance, wrap-up insurance, and surety bonds as part of the insurance portfolio for large construction projects enhances the overall risk management strategy. These additional insurance types address specific risks and liabilities associated with vehicles, project owners, comprehensive coverage for multiple parties, and contractual obligations.

By carefully considering and obtaining the appropriate insurance coverages, construction projects can mitigate a wide range of risks, protect all stakeholders, and ensure the smooth execution and completion of the project. It is advisable to consult with insurance professionals or brokers specializing in construction insurance to tailor the insurance program according to the specific needs and requirements of the project.

Policy Considerations when Buying Builder's Risk Insurance

When buying COC Insurance, one should consider the following:
  1. Coverage Limits and Deductibles:
  • Assessing Project Value and Risks: It is crucial to determine the appropriate coverage limits based on the total value of the project, including the construction costs, materials, and equipment. Evaluate the potential risks associated with the project, such as location, type of construction, and exposure to hazards, to ensure the coverage adequately reflects the potential losses.
  • Understanding Deductible Options: Consider different deductible options and their impact on premiums. Higher deductibles generally result in lower premiums but may increase out-of-pocket expenses in the event of a claim. Evaluate the project's risk tolerance and financial capacity to choose the deductible that strikes the right balance.
  1. Additional Coverage Options:
  • Coverage Extensions: Assess if any specialized risks or specific project requirements need additional coverage. This could include coverage for delay in completion, pollutant cleanup, testing and commissioning, or design errors and omissions.
  • Optional Endorsements: Consider optional endorsements that provide enhancements to the standard coverage. These may include coverage for bylaw change protection, earthquakes, flood, terrorism, or loss of income during the construction period. Tailor the endorsements to match the project's unique risks and needs.
  1. Exclusions and Limitations:
  • Understanding Policy Exclusions: Carefully review the policy to understand exclusions, which outline what risks or events are not covered. Common exclusions may include faulty workmanship, wear and tear, acts of war, or intentional damage. Identify any exclusions that may leave significant gaps in coverage and consider obtaining additional protection if necessary.
  • Limitations: Be aware of any limitations on coverage, such as maximum limits for specific items, sub-limits for certain perils, or restrictions on coverage during certain stages of the construction process. Understanding these limitations helps ensure adequate coverage is in place.
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Avoiding Common Mistakes when constructing a new building project


Understand the Construction Process and its Impact on Insurance Coverage

When it comes to construction, there are three basic steps: the conceptualization stage, the planning and execution phase, and the construction phase. The second step is where the insurance company can become a player and shape the outcome of a project. The insurance industry is a fairly large and growing industry, but few companies are familiar with construction insurance. For example, people don't realize the difference between a contractor's policy and an architect's policy. There will be no insurance coverage from normal property insurance if it is still a half-completed building. Standard property insurance will not cover stolen building materials that are unattached unless you have builders' risk insurance. The range of liability insurance and its coverage is complex, depending on the stage of construction. It is extremely important to understand what's covered and what's not for the various insurance policy.

Determine the Insurance Needs for Your Project

Before starting the construction of our project, it is essential to know the basic information about insurance for construction projects. The amount of insurance you need depends on the type of project you are undertaking, the size of the project, and the project's location. You will also need to determine whether the insurance is mandatory or voluntary. Compulsory insurance is required by law, while voluntary insurance is not. You should always get at least the minimum amount of coverage required by law.

Select the Right Kinds of Insurance

Insurance can cost you a fortune if you don't get it right. Here are some key insurance tips to consider when choosing an insurance plan for your construction project.

Various kinds of insurance are essential for any construction project. The basics are liability and property insurance. However, you need coverage for both types that cover buildings under construction when a project is under construction. Insurance coverage will end with the completion of construction, regardless of the duration you still have on the builder's risk insurance. It's important to know the types of insurance even if you aren't planning on selling the house. A builder might sell the home before it's finished, so you want to protect the items inside before completion.

Selecting a Provider

Most people are completely unaware of what it even entails when it comes to insurance. They think it's just another form of protection you can purchase when you need it. In reality, it is the largest expense associated with any construction project. The right policy is a must-have for every business involved in a construction project. This type of coverage will protect the company from losses or liabilities incurred in building a structure. Without the proper coverage, there is a risk of the business being held liable for any claims brought against them by third parties.

Pay the Bill and know when and where the coverage ends.

For most construction insurance, it is essential to keep track of the insurance expiry. You don't want to overlook and end up with no coverage. Find out if the policy allows mid-term cancellation or having the ability to extend when needed. Like many projects, nobody can guarantee that the project completion date will always be on time and within budget.  

Builder's Risk insurance, typically terminates under specific circumstances related to the construction project. The termination of COC insurance can occur in the following situations:

  1. Project Completion: COC insurance generally terminates upon the completion of the construction project. Once the project reaches its final stages, including the substantial completion of the building or handover to the owner, the insurance coverage is no longer necessary.

  2. Project Abandonment or Cancellation: If a construction project is abandoned or canceled before completion, the COC insurance may be terminated. This could happen due to various reasons, such as financial issues, change in project scope, or unforeseen circumstances.

  3. Policy Expiration: COC insurance policies have a specified coverage period. The policy will terminate at the end of this period unless it is renewed or extended. It is crucial to monitor the policy expiration date and ensure appropriate arrangements are made to maintain coverage if needed.

  4. Material Change or Alterations: If there are significant changes or alterations made to the construction project during the coverage period, it may trigger a termination of the COC insurance policy. These changes could include modifications to the design, construction methods, or scope that substantially affect the risk profile of the project.

  5. Loss Settlement: In some cases, the COC insurance policy may terminate once a covered loss is settled. After a claim is filed and settled, and the necessary repairs or replacements are made, the policy may no longer be in effect for future occurrences.

It is essential to review the terms and conditions of the COC insurance policy to understand the specific circumstances under which the coverage may terminate. Additionally, project owners, contractors, and other stakeholders should communicate with their insurance provider to ensure a smooth transition and evaluate if any other insurance coverage is necessary beyond the termination of the COC insurance.  Should COC insurance terminate based on any of the above reason, the construction property will be considered un-insure and to properly having protection on the property, either get another policy such as home owner policy, vacant property, or rented property policy depending on the state it is in.

In summary, COC insurance terminates upon project completion, abandonment or cancellation, policy expiration, material changes or alterations to the project, or after the settlement of a covered loss. Understanding the termination conditions and planning accordingly helps ensure that appropriate insurance coverage is in place throughout the construction project and any potential risks are adequately addressed.

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Warning: Don't start your construction project before you get COC Insurance