When a company is added to the List, we ask them whether they are appropriately licensed, registered, bonded and/or insured. Since this information is self-reported, we strongly encourage you to check with the provider and regulatory agencies in your area for their most up-to-date information. Visit our License Check tool to see which regulatory agencies you can contact to verify licensing.
Our Trade Licensing Department routinely checks licensure for accuracy and contacts providers who have missing or out-dated information. This is an ongoing effort that may never be perfectly complete due to the ever-changing licensing laws at local and state levels. Please help us make it better by letting us know when you spot a bad link or if you know of an agency we haven’t cited. Contact us at email@example.com.
We have put together a thorough Guide to provide more information about choosing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, but here is a brief summary:
•Licensing indicates that the contractor has been granted a trade license as mandated by state and local laws. Generally, providers must pass competency tests for business practices and trade skills, pay a fee, and prove insurance and/or bonding.
•Registering usually requires contractors to prove insurance and pay a fee, but only sometimes requires bonding and rarely tests competency. Registering is typically less stringent than licensing; however, in a few areas of the country, licensing and registering is used interchangeably.
•Bonds are arrangements between the contractor and a third-party, private bond issuer or a recovery fund held by the licensing municipality. Homeowners may petition for reimbursement through the third party if contractors harm them financially because of shoddy work or failure to pay subcontractors as promised.
You should always verify that the contractor has insurance before working with them. Ask to see a Certificate of Insurance and call to make sure the policy is current and has enough coverage for your project. The two most common types of insurance are liability insurance and worker's compensations. Liability insurance covers property damage and injuries caused by the contractor's work. It won't normally pay for repairing or replacing bad work; that's the purpose of a bond. Workers' compensation provides payments to injured workers (regardless of who was at fault in the accident) for lost wages and medical services. It also provides benefits to the contractor's family in the event of death. In most cases, if the owner is the only employee, workers' comp is not required.