Most cleaning companies carry general liability insurance, thinking it will cover them in case they damage something while cleaning. However, most general liability policies actually have an exclusion for “care, custody, and control” of the property that is being cleaned.
Let’s break this down:
The exclusion applies if any of these three terms are true:
Care is defined as “having temporary charge, or temporarily having the responsibility of watching over the property.”
Custody is defined as “safekeeping of the property.”
Control is defined as having “power over the property.”
According to Joseph D. Walters Insurance, which specializes in insurance designed for professional window cleaners and pressure washing contractors, “Most general liability policies have an exclusion that takes the ‘accidents happen’ or ‘faulty workmanship’ out of their policy. So, for example, if you are cleaning a deck and damage the deck, the deck is not covered by the policy. Overspray from the deck that lands on the car and damages would be covered, but not the deck itself.”
For your protection, talk to your insurance provider and make sure your general liability policy includes care, custody, and control coverage for the property that you are working on. Otherwise, any damage you cause to the property you are directly working on may not be covered by your policy.
When using razors or acids, we also recommend having your customers sign waivers before starting the project. You can download our sample waivers below: