Help from the Handyman: What to Watch For

What happens if your inn’s handyman causes an unnoticed water leak in your walls, causing the growth of a fungus? What if a guest 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 an inn is next to impossible without help. Even if the family running the inn 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 inns 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 Inn Team at Merriam advises you to consider:

  • Look into the qualifications and experience of your handyman to ensure that he has the 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 inn, or your guests.
    • 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 Inn.
    • 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 Inn as an “Additional Insured.” This means that if his bad plumbing causes damage to the Inn, 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 inn, you will be thankful you were prepared.

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

James Dick, CPCU, AAI

Sales Manager at Merriam Insurance Agency
376 Broadway
Schenectady, New York 12305

(877) MERRIAM x 219
(877) 637-7426 x 219

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James Dick, CPCU, AAI

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