Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Law and Legal Advice > General Law and Legal Advice
Reload this Page >

How can you tell if a contractor is licensed, bonded, insured?

How can you tell if a contractor is licensed, bonded, insured?


Old 04-30-13, 06:42 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 378
How can you tell if a contractor is licensed, bonded, insured?

We had some repair work done to our siding and roof. The repair was so poorly done that there is water leaks all around areas of where the repairman did the work. I have tried to remedy the issue by talking with the contractor on fixing it, but he claims that the work was done sufficiently.

I am thinking about suing, but am not sure how to go about this. The guy claims that he is licensed, bonded, and insured. However, I am not sure if that isn't just him lying. Is there a way to find out if he is indeed licensed, bonded, or insured? We live in Texas and the person I am having the dispute with is a general contractor.
Sponsored Links
Old 04-30-13, 06:55 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4,297
Kind of doing this backwards.
All that should have been proven before the work began.
Most states have a state website for the board of contractors to see if he has a licence.
Some states even has a medeaton process where you can file a complant. If so you can file there and if he does not follow up and fix it he could loose his licence.
Was any of this work permited and inspected?
Make sure to take lots of pictures of any damage.
DO not let this go to long and wait for him to fix this and have even more damage done.
If you or anyone else does the repairs make sure to get picture of what you find that was done wrong.
Old 04-30-13, 01:15 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,991
Sometimes the licensing is only at a county level and not the thru the state. A lot depends on local/state regs, the type of business and the size of the company.

I'm not sure if there is an independent way to find out if he is insured without knowing who the company is insured with. If he says he's insured thru company X, then it's easy to verify if there is a policy in force. Never had to be bonded but I think that usually goes thru the same ins agency.

As Joe stated, the more evidence you have showing the work is inadequate the better. Pics and estimates from other contractors detailing what needs to be done to fix the job would be good.
Old 04-30-13, 02:58 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,203
I have both a state license and a local license, you can't get a local license without having a state license. This is a new rule that prevents people from getting the easy local license and passing qualifications at the state level. I applaud this as it is designed to keep Joe Shmoe from working out of his trunk and calling himself a contractor.

I also always state on contracts and advertising that I am Licensed and Insured. The key to the insured part is that if someone asks to verify my insurance, I have my agent mail off or email a copy to the client. This prevents someone from getting insurance once, and then altering the documentation to look like the policy is current.

If you verify that he does have a state license, many times it will tell you of any complaints against his company that are on file. Too many unresolved issues and the state revokes the license.

Best bet for future, ask-verify-ask for references-talk to friends who have had similar work done-get multiple bids and....visit us here at the forums during the work so that you can nip it before the final check is written.
Old 05-02-13, 11:39 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 378
Thanks guys. I should've known better. Next time I'll do more homework before getting a contractor. He seemed like a good guy so I didn't bother checking references and verifying insurance. Just a quick question... What is the difference between bonded and insured?
Old 05-03-13, 12:58 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 45,513
Insured means that a contractor carries insurance that covers himself against losses suffered to himself as well as customer's property. All contractors should be insured.

Bonds protect specific jobs, providing coverage if the job is not completed to satisfaction. If a bonded contractor abandons a job in the middle, for example, the client could make a claim to be compensated

The term insured and bonded is thrown around a lot. Just because a company is insured does not mean they are bonded. You can ask the contractor for a copy of his insurance certificate. If he can't show it to you..... look out.
Old 05-04-13, 05:30 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 378
OH. Ok, thanks PJmax.

So, what if a contractor can't show me his insurance certificate? Is there any other way, other than his honesty, to find out if the contractor is insured? What about being bonded? Is there a way to find out if he is bonded? And who bonds the contractor? Some bonding company?
Old 05-04-13, 09:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,399
If a contractor cannot produce his/her license, insurance certificate and bond, preferably the originals but at the very least photocopies, then quickly show them to the door and cross them off the list. Any reputable contractor will have these documents readily available for inspection. Many include copies with any written bid.
Old 05-05-13, 04:15 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
If a customer requests, I can show them insurance paperwork, BUT anyone can get that, let the policy lapse and you think it is good. I always have my insurance agent fax or mail an insurance certificate to customers who request it. All commercial jobs will require it.

I'll have to admit, however, being in Small Town USA, your reputation precedes you, and I have never had a client request insurance certificate. I have it, and would not work without it.
Old 05-05-13, 05:07 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,991
I'd also be leery of any contractor that couldn't/wouldn't supply any info asked for. A quick call to his insurance company would verify if he has insurance that is paid up. I always carried a copy of mine on my work van's dash and while documentation was usually required with the builders I painted for, like Larry, I never had a homeowner ask. A contractor with a good reputation never goes hungry!
Old 05-05-13, 08:54 PM
tldoug's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 317
Texas doesn't have a license requirement home builders. More specifically, only specialty contractors, including HVAC, fire sprinkler systems, plumbing, electricians and well drilling/pump installation specialists, need to be licensed in Texas.

Home builders are not licensed, though it is advisable to check with your local municipality or county in areas of the state outside of municipal jurisdiction, for local requirements.

Because there isn't a license requirement, you really don't have any leverage except through the courts. I'm not recommending that, just stating a fact.

Honestly, your least expensive resolution will be to find another contractor that you thoroughly vet before letting him on your property or handing over one dime.

How do you vet him? Well, there's BBB and Angie's List for starters. Then there are local building officials and your local Home Builders Association. There are 30 HBAs in Texas. You can find your local unit at the National Association of Home Builders (nahb.org). There is a link at the top right of the home page. There is also the Texas State Association of Home Builders in Austin. They will probably be able to offer guidance for useful actions at this point. It's a safe bet that just like our NM State HBA they have a lot of information on their website that is useful to avoid getting yourself in a predicament like this. Now you know where to look and maybe you can help family, friends, and neighbors avoid a similar problem.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes