Why Do I Care If My Vendor Has Insurance?

By Oretta Croushore, Property Manager for Home Rental Services

I grew up as an only child, which meant I had to create all my own trouble to get into. Though I was actually a saintly child, I occasionally made some questionable choices.

I remember one occasion when I was 5 or 6 years old. We lived in an old stone house with a cellar door that led into the creepy basement. I did not go into this space… No. From the outside, that cellar door was a little angled and looked a bit like a slide to my young mind. I “slid” down that splintery wood door a few times.

My mom told me to stop sliding down the wooden door.

When I asked her why, she told me it was because she said so.

She went back into the house and I continued to partake in the forbidden activity. I must have gone down that old door 30 times before I went in for the night. Needless to say, I spent some time on my belly that night, crying as my mom pulled out a record-breaking number of splinters from my tush. In my mind, my mom was clearly trying to kill my homegrown fun.

Now that I’m a mom myself, I know she was looking out for my well-being. I also know that, “because I said so” means, I don’t feel like explaining it all to you because you are going to listen to the first four words anyway.

Property Management

When I entered into the magical world of property management, I had all kinds of notions of what it would be like. As an 80s TV junkie, I was pretty sure I had learned everything I needed to know from The Ropers, Mr. Furley, and Shneider. I never realized how closely it would mimic being a parent.

In my role, I get to work with owner investors as well as renters. For HRS, owner investors are like our children. Renters are like our kid’s best friend. You know, the one that practically lives at your house. We love that kid, we will do our part to keep them safe, and we make them follow the rules in our house. But, our loyalty lies with our own kids.

We often have owners who want to use a vendor outside of our group of preferred vendors.

HRS requires all vendors doing work on an occupied house to provide general liability and work comp insurance. “But, WHYYYY???” “Why do I care if my vendor has insurance?” “My vendor said they don’t have to have that.” Unfortunately, “because I said so” works about as well here as it did for my mom.

The truth is, we are trying to protect the owner of the property from potential liability. The chances that a vendor will be injured is low, but never out of the question. There are other things to consider, as well.

A vendor could damage a renter’s personal property, such as their car or their furniture. The renter could also be injured as a result of something a vendor did or did not do. There’s a reason that Farmers Insurance has seen a thing or two. The hypotheticals are endless. If the vendor is uninsured, the liability could come back to the owner. As ridiculous as it sounds, that liability can extend to Home Rental Services.

Like a good pair of underpants, we are trying to make sure all buns are covered.

I have to admit, I have been surprised to learn how many companies are doing business out there without proper insurance.

We recently encountered a tree vendor who admitted he dropped his work comp insurance when Covid hit and he had to lay off his crew. He said he hasn’t reinstated it and he just “takes the chance” because he wants to keep overhead low. What???

Just think of what a tree person does on a daily basis. How many ladders do they climb? How many limbs do they literally go out on? I didn’t spend a lot of time wondering if the person working on my house was properly insured before I started with HRS. Now, I’m hyper aware of it.

And that’s why you should care if your vendor has insurance! Now, eat your vegetables, wash behind your ears, and don’t horseplay in the house. Why? Because I said so.

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