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Updated: Apr 13

cartoon construction worker with a beard holding screw guns

Building, renovating, improving and expanding: they’re all within your wheelhouse. When it comes to fulfilling client contracts, you’re a master. But experience says the risks you face as a contractor are distinct and diverse and they all need to be accounted for. That’s why when you’re looking to protect your life’s work, you should be searching for the best. And because reliable insurance coverage does so much more than just fulfill requirements, it’s a must-have protection when doing business in Ohio.

Never Mind the State—Here’s the Best Start for Liability Limits To find Ohio’s best coverage options for your contracting needs, let’s first take a closer look at your business: which trade is your specialty? While General Contractors may need to meet city or county requirements, Commercial Contractors focusing on five specific trades – Electrical, HVAC, Hydronics, Plumbing, and Refrigeration – must comply with state guidelines.

The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) stipulates a minimum of $500,000 in contractor liability coverage. While that’s an okay place to start, let’s be real: $1,000,000 is far more realistic. In today’s society, everyday folks and companies alike are more and more exposed to the potential to win (and win big) in oversized lawsuits. Plus, things just cost more to fix.

In general, were something to go awry and a client opted to sue, $1M is the typical launch point. From there, you’re probably looking up. That’s why at ZINC it’s a general rule that $1M in coverage is the best (and safest) place to start. And that’s a value that isn’t undermined by cost. Policies at the million mark hover at a price point similar to that of lower levels of protection.

Our Top-Pick Companies for Ohio Contractors

Now that ideal limits have been defined, let’s shift focus to the insurance companies themselves. ZINC works with quite a few, most of which offer some level of business coverage. But we know that as a contractor, you’re looking for specifics–quick turnaround on policies and bonds, and a deep knowledge of what’s at stake. To that end, here are three nominations for the best insurance companies to service your Ohio contracting business:

  • Westfield Insurance Westfield caters to large-scale contractors and focuses on protecting client investments. They’ll dig in to fully understand involved risks and devise a plan to manage them. Westfield knows that their speed, accuracy, and efficiency are key to your success.

  • Ohio Mutual Insurance Group (OMIG) Ohio Mutual understands a modern contractor’s varied liability concerns and works best with contractors who specialize in a specific trade (e.g. residential roofing). OMIG interests are aligned with customer concerns, and they have a special relationship with small businesses. If you have a few essential coverage needs, OMIG is able to craft a custom policy to address them.

  • Cincinnati Insurance Cincinnati Insurance believes in the independent agent–that’s where the customization process begins. They offer policies that comply with established standards, but focus on tailoring to client needs with specialty coverage options. Beyond insurance, Cincinnati also offers contractors an array of commercial surety and contract bonds.

While these “big three” can cover most every contracting insurance need, we know that some specialties will have more complex requirements. No worries—we have nominations for that. For example, Auto-Owners works well with vehicle-heavy contractor accounts and CNA loves large commercial General Contractors, while Travelers and Chubb are more focused on development and construction. Here’s the point: regardless of the need, ZINC has a specialized relationship with a company than can address it. Bidding for your business will net a win both on price and coverage.

Top Reason to Go Beyond the Minimum

From city to city and one county to another, Ohio liability and bonding requirements can vary. What never changes, though, is the fundamental push to examine current, future, and peripheral insurance needs.

Ask yourself:

  • Where is my company going to be in five years?

  • What will change about my company as it grows?

  • What areas of investment will create new liabilities?

  • How do I make sure that increased liability doesn’t sink my business?

Professionalism demands that contractors do more than the minimum. Like a firm handshake, the right coverage builds confidence and security. And those good feelings are vital to keep your business moving forward.

Top Company Relationship Insights

Part of this process is making a careful analysis of any contractual agreement with an insurance company. We’ve seen a trend toward shifting liability onto contractors, even asking them to accept greater liability than they’d ever create–that is not a practice we would promote. Something else we’d steer clear of is recruiting muscle over skill. We’ve seen that compromising on safety or training to get a job done cheaper or faster is never worth it. What begins as a play to reach goals can become an end run around value and good reputation, which is tied to performance. And performance is a top pick for companies when calculating cost.

On the flip side, risk is noticeably reduced if you’re quality-minded in business practices, in choosing an agent and insurance company, and in selecting candidates for recruit. When it does come time to file a claim, all your efforts will prove that you are thorough and safety-conscious. We love that and so do quality companies.

“Best of Class” for Service with a Smile!

It’s pretty easy to make general rules and set blanket standards. Really, though, trends and averages can only go so far in outlining an effective insurance strategy for your contracting business. Individual needs and concerns–not generalities–should always guide conversations and decisions. At ZINC, we get that, and so do our insurance companies. So when you’re ready to discuss options, we have experts on hand–Josh and Christina are eager to help you to find the ideal coverage for your Ohio contracting business. All that’s left is to get in touch. And that’s our top pick for best decision of the day!


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This blog post does not provide insurance advice and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional insurance advice from a licensed representative. Never ignore professional insurance advice because of something you have read in this blog post. Contact your licensed representative if you have any questions about your insurance policy.

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