Help from the Handyman: What you need to know

What happens if your KOA’s handyman causes an unnoticed water leak within your walls, causing the growth of a fungus? What if a camper bumps into his ladder and both are injured in the resulting fall? What if he turns out to be a terrible handyman and the roof you hired him to repair is faulty and needs to be replaced?

Running a KOA is next to impossible without help. Even if the family running the campground can do all the day-to-day work, they still often need to contract out roof repairs, plumbing, electric, and foundation work, among other things. Most campgrounds have a few go-to providers who know the property and provide invaluable service, often at the most inconvenient times. While handymen are invaluable, they can also cause serious damage and liability if something goes wrong. What can you do to be prepared, should a catastrophic accident strike?

Here are some key factors the KOA Campground team at Merriam advises you to consider:

  • Look into the qualifications and experience of your handyman to ensure that he has the necessary skills to deal with your specific issue. Just because he is an able electrician does not mean he is a good plumber.
  • Whenever possible, make sure he has his own General Liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation.
    • General Liability insurance will pay for damage his work causes to you, the KOA, or your campers.
    • Workers’ Compensation insurance will pay if he is injured on the job.
  • If your handyman does not carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, because he is self-employed, make sure you have a written agreement outlining responsibility if he is injured while working at the campground.
    • Note that this is not an option in all states. Contact a member of our team for information on what to do in your state.
    • Be aware that some insurance companies will charge you the handyman’s salary if you cannot show he has Workers’ Compensation insurance of his own.
  • Ask for his insurance company to name you or the KOA as an “Additional Insured.” This means that if his bad plumbing causes damage to the campground, you can make a claim directly on his insurance policy.

Be aware that insurance does not cover bad workmanship. If the new roof you had installed is faulty, you will not be able to make an insurance claim on his insurance or yours.

Good help is hard to find, so take the time to work with the right person, and make sure to get the right insurance and agreements in place. If a catastrophic accident does strike your campground, you will be thankful you were well prepared.

Unsure if you’re doing everything you reasonably can to protect yourself? Contact the KOA team at Merriam and benefit from our years of advising KOA campgrounds.

James Dick, CPCU, AAI