Accidents happen. Things get broken, paint ends up in places it should have never ventured, there might be damage to floors or furniture. This is why you have insurance: to protect you from the accidents that being a human sometimes creates. But there are ways that you can help prevent insurance claims, frivolous or otherwise, by taking some extra precautions with each and every job. After all, you can’t predict which projects will end up in trouble - if you could, accidents wouldn’t be to blame, would they?

Always Document Everything
Before you even begin to paint, document everything. In fact, if you can do this the day that you bid the job and then again the day you start the job, so much the better. Your camera phone is just fine, as long as you get the details, especially when there’s an issue that’s already existing (like, for example, colored paint on a ceiling from a prior paint job). Be meticulous, take your time, and make sure your images are properly time and date stamped. You definitely don’t want to be caught in a situation where your images don’t match the story because of a technical error.

Along with photo documentation, having clients sign off on a punch sheet that identifies existing problems can help when the inevitable blame starts flying. When they, themselves, agree on paper that the paint on their tile was there long before you came along, or the light fixture in the kitchen was already cracked, it’ll give you far more of a leg to stand on when fighting the good fight. Not that you ever want to, or hope to, but the whole point of this is to be prepared, just in case you need to.

Use Extra Caution
This may sound obvious, but sometimes we don’t do what we know we should, especially on small jobs. Take an extra five minutes and lay that tarp down, run some caution tape around that light fixture so it’s highly visible when you’re against the ceiling, tape what you know you can’t freehand. A little prep work today can save you thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums for years to come, should there be an issue.

Along with preparing for your own potential mishaps, make sure anyone on your team has the same kind of awareness. If you’re working with someone who is careless by nature, let them go. Or put them on a job where that’s less of a problem, like exterior painting. Everyone working in a high risk zone like a home’s interior should be someone you can trust to the end of the Earth. After all, you’re paying them to do their job, not to cost you additional money by not doing it all the way.

Don’t Automatically File a Claim
Sometimes you don’t have a choice, things happen. But that doesn’t mean you need to file an insurance claim. First you should look at the issue, what it’ll cost to fix, and balance that against the longer term premiums you’re likely to pay. For example, if you’ve damaged a globe, but you can replace the fixture for a few hundred dollars, it might be better to simply pay it out of pocket and deduct the cost from your taxes, rather than letting your insurance handle it and potentially paying thousands over time due to your perceived increased risk.

What do you do to help avoid insurance claims? Any hints or tips?