What’s a Certificate of Insurance?

September 11, 2009

So you’ve booked your move – and are figuring out all of the small details, and your building management asks you for a Certificate of Insurance. “What is a Certificate of Insurance?” you might ask yourself – and rightfully so. Not many people know what a Certificate of Insurance (or COI for short) is.

COI’s are usually requested when moving in a large city. So if your moving in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or any other large city – your building may have a management company that requires you to supply a Certificate of Insurance from your moving company.

What is a Certificate of Insurance?

Investopedia.com has a great definition of Certificates of Insurance:

“A document issued by an insurance company/broker that is used to verify the existence of insurance coverage under specific conditions granted to listed individuals. More specifically, the document lists the effective date of the policy, the type of insurance coverage purchased, and the types and dollar amount of applicable liability.”

Here’s what this means in terms of moving:
A moving company is about to walk into your building and move lots of heavy furniture from your apartment through their hallways and into their van. This process definitely risks a lot of damage to the building. Because the building is at risk of being damaged by the move – the building wants proof from the moving company that they are insured, and are able to pay damages if necessary. In other words, the same way you are insuring your furniture against damages, the building management is doing the same thing for their building.

What do I need a Certificate of Insurance For?
You need a Certificate of Insurance because your building requires it. Whether you have it prepared before the move or on the day of the move – your building will need to have it before you move. They will not risk damages to their building without having proof of insurance.

Worst-case scenario is that you didn’t take care

How Do I get a Certificate of Insurance?
There are two ways of going about getting your COI done:

  • The Easy Way: As a tenant, all you need to know is that if you give the moving company the phone number and fax number of your management (very often you’ll need to give two sets of numbers – one for each building), the moving consultant will do the rest for you.
  • The Surest Way: The best way to be absolutely positively sure that you have the Certificate of Insurance done before your move happens is to collect the following information from the building/s, and then give the info to the representative:
    • Faxes & Phone numbers of building offices
    • Certificate Holder
      • A Certificate Holder is the name of the main party involved on the side of the building (normally the management).
      • The Certificate Holder also needs to have an address attached to it. Often it’s the same address as the building – but not always so make sure to ask.
    • Additional Insured
      • Additional Insured are all other parties involved. This can include investors in the building, a landlord (owner), or any other party that might have involvement in the apartment.

What Happens on the Backend
Very simple! Once you’ve provided the moving representative with the information above – they compile it and enter the data into their appropriate places like such:

Certificate Holder:
The Downing Company
489 Broad St
New York, NY 10002

“For the move of John Doe from 246 W 101st St Apt 25B NY, NY 10025 on 9/10/09. Additional Insured: The Downing Group & all of its holders. Jane Shmo.

How Much Does a Certificate of Insurance Cost?
Certificates of Insurance should not cost you a dime to have written up. Do not agree to pay for a COI to be written up for you by any means. It is the responsibility of the moving company to supply it to the building.

Here is an example of what a COI looks like:

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