Choosing a Contractor

A Note of Caution: Unlicensed or Uninsured Workers and Contractors

When undertaking a home remodeling project, you may want to hire a “handy” friend or acquaintance or the high school kid from down the block instead of contracting with a licensed professional for the job. While this may seem like a great way to save money, doing so could also end up costing a lot of money and cause untold headaches if things go wrong.

Case 1: What if the neighbors’ son falls off the ladder while painting the exterior of your home? Since he’s not a licensed or insured contractor he (or more likely, his parents) may be entitled to sue you for his medical bills and related expenses. Chances are that not only will your homeowner’s insurance policy not cover this accident because most companies’ demand that all work is carried out by licensed personnel, but they may cancel the policy as well. When you hire a licensed and insured contractor, any injuries they incur would be covered by their worker’s compensation policy.

Case 2: You could find yourself in hot water if your “handy” friend accidentally damages someone’s property while he’s working for you. Something that seems insignificant, like accidentally chopping down a tree that appears to be on your property, can lead to a costly lawsuit and some hard feelings. Again, your homeowner’s insurance policy will not likely help because the person performing the work was unlicensed and uninsured.

Whatever remodeling project you undertake, protect yourself, your bank account and your biggest financial asset – your home – by hiring a reputable, licensed and insured contractor. It may cost more up front, but you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that you won’t be left holding the bag if something goes awry.

If you have any questions or comments, reach me today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick

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