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Builder’s Risk Insurance

Protect your construction investment with builder’s risk insurance. Learn why it is the best choice for your project’s security.

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Builder's Risk Insurance

So, you’re knee-deep in blueprints, and the sweet smell of sawdust is in the air. Your next construction project is about to take off. Amidst the buzz of anticipation, it’s easy to overlook the risks that come along with the territory. That’s where Builder’s Risk Insurance steps into the spotlight. It’s the silent guardian, the safety net that’s got your back when the chips are down.

Understanding the Basics of Builder’s Risk Insurance

What is Builder’s Risk Insurance?

Builder’s Risk Insurance is coverage that protects a person’s or organization’s insurable interest in the materials, fixtures and/or equipment being used in the construction or renovation of a building or structure should those items sustain a physical loss or damage from a covered cause.

At the heart of every construction project lies a crucial element: Builders Risk Insurance. Let’s cut to the chase. Builder’s Risk Insurance, often known as course of construction insurance, is a specialized type of property insurance. This type of insurance can assist with various expenses that may result from property damage amid construction projects. Although specific coverage capabilities vary between insurers, a typical builders risk policy covers property damage losses stemming from fire, lightning, hail, explosions, theft and vandalism. Coverage extensions and endorsements may also be available.

What Does Builders Risk Insurance Cover?

Builders Risk Insurance is designed to cover a wide range of risks associated with construction projects. Most builders risk policies provide protection for hard costs associated with the previously mentioned property damage losses amid construction projects.

In the scope of construction, hard costs—also called “sticks and bricks”—refer to expenses that are directly related to the physical building or structure and tangible assets of a project.

Here are the primary coverages:

  • Building materials and supplies (e.g., lumber, metal framing, insulation and concrete)
  • Labor necessities, including temporary workers and subcontractors
  • Construction tools and equipment
  • Utilities (e.g., water, gas and electricity)
  • Landscaping needs, such as planting trees and shrubs
  • Safety enhancements (e.g., installing or updating sprinklers, smoke detectors and fire alarms) and other building improvement activities
  • Project enablement operations, including waterproofing the building for adverse weather and renting out on-site restroom facilities for worker

Exclusions in Builders Risk Insurance

Like any insurance policy, Builders Risk Insurance also has certain exclusions, which include:

  • Wear and tear
  • Employee theft
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • War or nuclear risks
  • Government action

Remember, each policy is different, so it’s important to carefully review your policy to understand what’s covered and what’s not.

Who buys builders risk insurance?

Who purchases and pays for builders risk insurance usually depends on the nature of a construction project and its associated contractual elements. Generally speaking, any party with financial interest in a construction project should have this coverage, such as the project sponsor, property owner, general contractor, lender, subcontractors and architects.

Yet, certain industry standard contracts, local governments and large developers specifically require contractors to carry builders risk insurance. As such, contractors often incorporate the cost of this coverage in their project bids. Regardless of who secures this coverage, it’s important that all involved parties are listed as insureds within the policy.

Because every construction project is unique and related coverage needs may vary, builders risk insurance can be a complex topic to navigate. This article provides more information on what builders risk insurance covers and offers tips for securing a suitable policy.

Do I Really Need Builder’s Risk Insurance?

You might be thinking, “I’ve got a general liability policy. Isn’t that enough?” Well, to put it bluntly, no.

Filling the Coverage Gap

General liability policies are crucial, but they have their limitations. They primarily cover bodily injury and property damage caused to others, not you. Builder’s Risk Insurance, on the other hand, protects the investment in the project itself.  Accidents happen, even on the best-managed construction sites. When they do, the costs can quickly spiral out of control. Builder’s Risk Insurance can mitigate these costs, saving you from financial catastrophe.

The Importance of Builders Risk Insurance

Builders Risk Insurance is an essential component of any construction project. Without it, you’re left exposed to a multitude of risks that can lead to significant financial loss. This insurance:

  • Mitigates Financial Risk: Construction projects are high-cost investments. Any damage could result in substantial financial loss. This insurance helps mitigate this risk.
  • Ensures Project Continuity: Should an unexpected event occur, this insurance provides the financial support needed to get the project back on track without major delays.
  • Provides Legal Compliance: In many jurisdictions, having Builders Risk Insurance is a legal requirement for construction projects.

How to Choose the Right Builders Risk Insurance Policy

Selecting the right Builders Risk Insurance policy requires careful consideration. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Coverage: Ensure the policy covers all potential risks associated with your project. It should also include any specific requirements stipulated in your construction contract.
  • Limit: The policy limit should be sufficient to cover the total completed value of the project, including all materials and labor costs.
  • Policy Period: The policy should cover the entire duration of the construction project, from start to finish.

How Builders’ Risk Insurance Optimizes Construction Projects

By mitigating financial risks, Builders’ Risk Insurance optimizes construction projects in the following ways:

  • Facilitates Project Completion – By covering the cost of unexpected damages, Builders’ Risk Insurance ensures that projects have the funds to reach completion, even when faced with unexpected setbacks.
  • Promotes Investor Confidence – Insurance coverage reassures investors that their investment is protected, fostering confidence in the project’s successful completion and return on investment.
  • Enhances Business Reputation – Businesses that effectively manage risks and ensure project completion earn a positive reputation in the industry, attracting more clients and investors.

Making Sense of Builder’s Risk Insurance Costs

Let’s address the elephant in the room: cost. Just like any other insurance policy, the cost of Builder’s Risk Insurance depends on several factors, including the project’s value, its duration, and the types of risks covered.

How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

Know Your Risks

Be aware of the specific risks associated with your project. The more you know, the better you can tailor your insurance policy.

Builders Risk Insurance is a critical tool for managing the risks associated with construction projects. By providing coverage for a wide range of incidents, it ensures that your investment is protected and your project can proceed without unnecessary delays or financial burdens.

With a deep understanding of Builders Risk Insurance, you can make informed decisions that protect your project and ensure its successful completion.

Are there investors or other key stakeholders with risk exposure in your project?

Whether you’re dealing with a smaller project or a large development, it’s important that you ask the right questions when evaluating what coverage is needed.

Commonly Overlooked Coverages

  • Soft Costs (permit fees, taxes, bond premium, loan interest, marketing)
  • Time Element Coverage (Delay in Completion)
  • Increased cost of construction / Change orders
  • Theft and Vandalism (Usually a sublimit)
  • Temporary Storage Limits
  • Transit limits
  • Ordinance or Law Coverage Limit
  • Startup & Testing
  • Debris Removal
  • Landscaping, Trees, Shrubs
  • Waivers of Subrogation
  • Coverage for all the Contractors interests

How much does builder’s risk insurance cost?

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FAQs about Builder’s Risk Insurance

Embarking on a construction project without Builder’s Risk Insurance is like setting sail in stormy weather without a compass. It’s not just a piece of paper—it’s your shield against unexpected calamities that can throw a wrench in your construction project.

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Who Buys Builder’s Risk Insurance?

Generally, the owner, contractor, or developer purchases the policy. However, it’s crucial to clarify this in the construction contract.

What Doesn’t Builder’s Risk Insurance Cover?

Certain types of damage, such as from earthquakes, floods, or employee theft, are typically not covered. Always check your policy to know what’s excluded

How Long Does a Builder’s Risk Insurance Policy Last?

The policy usually lasts until the construction project is completed and the property is ready for use.

Can I Cancel My Builder’s Risk Insurance Policy?

Most policies can be cancelled, but it’s best to check the specifics of your policy for any potential penalties.

Is Builder’s Risk Insurance Mandatory?

While not legally required, many lenders and clients will require you to have a policy before beginning construction.

Does Builder’s Risk Insurance Cover Subcontractors?

Generally, yes. But it’s crucial to ensure that subcontractors are named in the policy.

What Does Your Contract Say About Who Is Supposed to Procure the the Builders Risk?

Some contracts will say we’re going to ask the owner to buy it. Some contracts will say we’re going to have the contractor buy it, and therefore they are responsible for the deductible. It’s important to clarify what your contract says about who is buying the builder’s risk insurance and who is responsible for the the deductible.

How Much Does Builder’s Risk Insurance Cost?

There are a variety of items that play into this, but factors to consider are where is the project? What is it (an apartment, a manufacturing facility, skating rink, etc.)? What is the building made out of? Start a Builder’s Risk Application at the top of our site today to familiarize yourself with the various factors to consider.

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