Before I hire him, I want to make sure my prospective contractor carries proper insurance and licenses. Should he have a card that states he's licensed, and has liability and workmans compensation? I assume the license would be obvious, with the state's information on it, but the insurance aspect makes me wonder.
These are key questions to ask a contractor before letting them - and their team - onto your property and into your home.
License requirements vary by state and county, and sometimes even by municipality. Call your local building department and ask which licences contractors working in your town are required to have - and, more importantly, which ones they're required to verify. In many cases they will carry a card that documents their license, much like a drivers license.
In terms of insurance, request the declarations page from your contractor's insurance policy. Make sure any contractor carries both liability insurance and workman's comp, both of which should be stated on that declarations page. If you want to feel really confident about your contractor, call the insurance agency listed on the declarations page and confirm the insurance is still in effect. I have heard of instances where a contractor purchased insurance, then promptly cancelled it once they'd received that declaration page.
Great question. We cover this and other details for hiring a contractor in our article on checking contractor's insurace. The short answer is, to be really certain the contractor has insurace and that it's up to date, you should confirm with the contractor's insurance company. Due diligence always pays off! Good luck and thanks for your question.