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Frequently Asked Questions

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Get simple answers to frequently asked questions about our insurance products, coverage scenarios and more.

General

Who is US Assure?

US Assure distributes, underwrites and services construction and property insurance products across the U.S. for “A” rated carriers — and has done so for more than 40 years. US Assure’s expertise lies in builders risk coverage, insured by Zurich, which provides protection from physical loss and damage that occurs during building, remodeling or installation.

What happens if I have a loss?

If you have a loss, contact the appropriate carrier’s claims department to file your claim as soon as possible.

If you have any issues filing your claim, contact us at (800) 431-4836, and we will be happy to assist you.

What is coinsurance?

Coinsurance is a policy condition that requires the insurance amount or limit purchased equal a specific percentage of the property value. If a loss occurs and it is determined the insurance limit is less than that required by coinsurance, the payment for the loss will be limited or reduced.

New Construction Builders Risk

What is builders risk insurance?

Builders risk insurance provides protection from physical loss and damage that occurs to materials, fixtures, appliances and more during construction from the time the ground is cleared to the installation of the final finishes.

What does builders risk insurance cover?

The Builders Risk Plan insured by Zurich covers structures under construction and materials installed or to be installed at the job site from perils like theft, vandalism, fire, wind and hail (depending on location), and collapse. Earthquakes and floods are not automatically covered, but may be included upon request. There is no general contractor insurance coverage under the Builders Risk Plan insured by Zurich.

The Zurich Builders Risk policy is written on a “special” form meaning whatever is not specifically excluded from the policy is considered included. This is sometimes referred to as “broad” coverage or “extended perils.”

What is the difference between builders risk and course of construction insurance?

While the names may differ, these both refer to coverage for a building under construction.

Is builders risk insurance mandatory?

If you are obtaining a construction loan, more than likely the lender will require builders risk insurance to protect its financial interest. If you are not required to carry builders risk insurance or are self-financing the project, you should still obtain this coverage to protect your investment in the event of a covered loss, such as fire.

Am I eligible to buy a Zurich builders risk policy for my new construction project?

The Builders Risk Plan insured by Zurich can be written in the name of the contractor, owner or business entity. In the event of a loss, assuming there is no lender, the claims check would be made out to the named insured on the policy. Remember that the named insured has some contractual rights and benefits under the insurance contract.

In order to be eligible for Zurich’s builders risk program, the individual overseeing the project must have at least two years of experience in construction management on similar projects.

When should I get a builders risk policy in place?

You should obtain a builders risk policy prior to beginning construction to ensure that your project is properly covered. As soon as materials are delivered to the job site, your builders risk policy starts protecting you.

How long can the policy cover me, and do I get a refund when the project is completed?

Zurich offers a 12-month term policy for new construction, which can typically be renewed for another 12-month term if needed.

The premiums are fully earned, so there is no refund upon cancellation. Exceptions include:

  • Projects located in Louisiana, Montana, Maryland or New Hampshire
  • Commercial new construction valued at $1 million or more
  • Residential new construction in the second term if valued at $1 million or more
How much coverage is needed for my builders risk policy?

For new construction projects, you should obtain builders risk insurance coverage for the total estimated completed value of the project.

Zurich defines total completed value as the total of all costs associated with the design and construction of the covered property, including labor, overhead and materials. The total completed value excludes land cost.

In addition to the building and design costs, a builder can choose to include up to 20% profit in the total completed value limit.

What does builders risk insurance cost, and how is the cost determined?

The cost for builders risk insurance will vary depending on several factors. The rate is calculated based on factors such as:

  • Location
  • Type of project
  • Construction type of the building (e.g., wood frame or block)
  • Scope of work

The premium is then calculated based on the rate and total limit of insurance.

Are payment options available?

Installment options are available for premiums greater than $500. Additional fees may apply.

What if there are unexpected changes during the construction?

If there are any changes to the scope of work or total completed project value during the construction, please contact us, and we can endorse your policy accordingly.

I have a contractors liability policy. Why do I need builders risk?

Builders risk insurance will provide coverage for your materials and work from physical damage or loss due to a covered peril, but does not protect against faulty workmanship or inadequate design. Your contractor’s commercial general liability policy would cover you in the event that your workmanship was the cause of loss.

Can coverage be secured for a project already under construction?

Coverage may be secured for projects already under construction, depending on project specifics such as start date and percentage complete. All projects are subject to underwriting review and approval.

Remodeling Builders Risk

What is remodeling builders risk insurance?

Builders risk insurance for renovations provides protection from physical loss and damage that occurs to materials, fixtures, appliances and more during the course of construction from the time the ground is cleared to the installation of the final finishes.

What does builders risk insurance cover?

The Builders Risk Plan insured by Zurich is written on a “special” form meaning whatever is not specifically excluded from the policy is considered included. This is sometimes referred to as “broad” coverage or “extended perils.”

Builders risk insurance covers materials installed or to be installed at the job site from perils like theft, vandalism, fire, wind and hail (depending on location), and collapse. For renovations, you may choose to either include or exclude coverage on the existing building or structure.

Earthquakes and floods are not automatically included but may be requested. There is no contractors liability coverage under the Builders Risk Plan insured by Zurich.

What is the difference between builders risk and course of construction insurance?

While the names may differ, these both refer to coverage for a building under construction.

Is builders risk insurance mandatory?

If you are obtaining a construction loan, more than likely your lender will require builders risk insurance to protect their financial interest. If you are not required to carry builders risk insurance or are self-financing the project, you should still obtain this coverage to protect your investment in the event of a covered loss, such as fire.

Am I eligible buy a Zurich remodeling builders risk policy?

The Builders Risk Plan insured by Zurich can be written in the name of the contractor, owner or business entity. In the event of a loss, assuming there is no lender, the claims check would be made out to the named insured on the policy. Remember that the named insured has some contractual rights and benefits under the insurance contract.

In order to be eligible for Zurich’s Builders Risk program, the person overseeing the project must have at least two years’ experience in construction management overseeing similar projects.

When should I get a builders risk policy in place?

You should obtain a Builders Risk Plan insured by Zurich prior to beginning construction to ensure that your project is properly covered. If you are purchasing a building to renovate but will not begin renovations within 60 days, you should obtain a homeowners policy to insure the building during that time. Once you are ready to begin the project, you should then get the Builders Risk insurance in place.

I already have homeowners insurance. Why do I need builders risk?

Homeowners insurance does not typically cover renovation projects. With the Builders Risk Plan insured by Zurich, you can cover your renovation, the materials waiting to be installed, as well as the structure undergoing renovation.

How long can the policy cover me and do I get a refund when the project is completed?

Zurich offers a 6, 9 or 12-month term for renovation policies. Zurich’s premiums are fully earned so there is no refund upon cancellation.

Exceptions: Projects located in Louisiana, Montana, Maryland or New Hampshire.

How much coverage is needed for my builders risk policy?

For new remodeling/renovation projects excluding coverage on the existing building, the limit of insurance should be the total estimated cost for the renovations including all labor and materials.

If you are including coverage on the existing building or structure, you should obtain builders risk insurance coverage for the total estimated completed value of the project, which is the sum of the actual cash value of the existing building, plus the estimated cost of your renovations and improvements.

Please note, the total completed value excludes land cost and profit.

What is actual cash value?

Actual cash value is the replacement cost of an item, less depreciation (such as age or wear and tear).

What does builders risk insurance cost and how is the cost determined?

The rate is calculated based on factors such as:

  • Location
  • Age of the building
  • Construction type of the building (e.g., wood frame or block)
  • Scope of work

The premium is then calculated based on the rate and total limit of insurance.

Are payment options available?

Installment options are available for premiums greater than $500. Additional fees may apply.

What if there are unexpected changes during the construction?

If there are any changes to the scope of work or total completed project value during construction, please contact us and we can endorse your policy accordingly.

I have a contractors liability policy. Why do I need builders risk?

Contractors commercial general liability policies cover losses resulting from workmanship errors. In contrast, builders risk insurance covers losses resulting from a covered peril (such as theft, vandalism, fire, etc.), but does not protect against faulty workmanship or inadequate design.

Can coverage be secured for a project already under construction?

Coverage may be secured for projects already under construction, depending on project specifics such as start date and percentage complete. All projects are subject to underwriting review and approval.

Are renovation coverage and restoration insurance the same thing?

The Builders Risk Plan insured by Zurich offers insurance coverage for renovations. A renovation, in builders risk insurance terms, means that an existing structure is being remodeled and changed, replacing old pieces with new. This includes additions, alterations, improvements or repairs — modifications that are often performed to keep up with the latest design trends.

In contrast, a restoration refers to returning an existing structure to its original condition. Typically, restoration projects are ineligible under Zurich.

Will Zurich insure projects with structural changes?

The Builders Risk Plan insured by Zurich offers insurance coverage for renovations. A renovation, in builders risk insurance terms, means that an existing structure is being remodeled and changed, replacing old pieces with new. This includes additions.

Premises Liability

What is premises liability insurance?

Diamond State Insurance premises liability coverage provides needed protection to property owners undergoing new construction or remodeling at an unoccupied property, or on land where there is no existing property coverage already in place.

Should a visitor to the property sustain injury due to owner negligence and file a lawsuit, premises liability insurance will pay direct damage for medical aid to the injured party and defend the insured.

I already have contractor’s liability insurance. Do I still need premises liability coverage?

Premises liability insurance is a separate policy and does not take the place of contractors commercial general liability coverage. Builders risk insurance will provide coverage for your materials and work from physical damage or loss due to a covered peril, but does not protect against faulty workmanship or inadequate design (which is covered by your contractors commercial general liability policy).

How long can the policy cover me and do I get a refund when the project is completed?

Diamond State Insurance offers a 3, 6 or 12-month policy term depending on the policy state. Refunds are offered with a 3-month minimum premium earned.

Rental Dwelling

What is a rental dwelling policy?

InsuranceLink’s rental dwelling insurance, also known as a landlord liability insurance, offers coverage for owners renting well-maintained, one-to-four family unit dwellings, including their detached structures. Should the occupancy of the property change during the policy term, property coverage can easily be converted to an unoccupied property insurance policy.

What does a rental dwelling policy cover?

Landlord liability insurance covers losses such as weather damage, theft and vandalism, water damage, fires and damages from lack of maintenance.

Vacant Structure

What does vacant home insurance cover?

Vacant structure insurance (also known as vacant home, vacant dwelling or vacant property insurance) protects an unoccupied structure during vacancy in the event of physical loss or damage from a covered loss.

When would I need vacant home insurance?

If your home or building is vacant and up for sale or awaiting occupancy, you need vacant insurance to cover your property in the event of a loss.

What exposures does vacant home insurance cover?

Vacant house insurance is designed to protect the structure (not the land or other assets) from damage when the structure is unoccupied. Though specific coverage varies from provider to provider, vacant home insurance can cover exposures such as fire, lightning, explosions, windstorms, hail, smoke and water intrusion (caused by sprinklers or leaky pipes, for example). Coverage for vandalism and theft may also be added, but may vary by structure and insurance provider.

Restrictions vary from provider to provider. If the property has certain hazards like ponds, lakes, swimming pools, hot tubs, swing sets or trampolines, the home may not qualify.

For policy-specific answers, contact our team.

What kinds of dwellings are eligible?

Residential vacant structure policies are available for completely vacant dwellings, provided they are well kept and in good repair. For the vacant structure insurance product available through InsuranceLink, eligible dwellings include single-family homes, condominiums, townhouses, duplexes, triplexes and quadruplexes.

Properties can be awaiting sale or undergoing renovations, though coverage may depend on the extent of the remodel. Additionally, anchored mobile homes or those on a permanent foundation, as well as individual condominiums or townhouse units may be eligible for vacant structure insurance. If structures are going to be demolished, it’s unlikely they will be covered.

Risk value limits vary by company. The vacant structure product available through InsuranceLink offers coverage for up to $5 million in property limits and up to $1 million in general liability limits (though this is also subject to underwriter approval).

What coverage is available?

Coverage provided under a vacant home insurance policy differs between providers. The vacant structure product available through InsuranceLink, for example, offers two coverage form types: basic and special. The basic form includes vandalism coverage.

In order to qualify for the special form, the structure must be less than 40 years old with no prior losses or lapses in coverage. If the structure was built more than 40 years ago, it must have been fully gutted and renovated within the past 30 years. All protection classes are eligible, provided a fire station is located within six miles of the structure.

Theft protection may also be added to the special form, if the structure has an active central alarm system that monitors for fire and burglary.

Additionally, a multi-location option is available to include multiple similar locations on one policy, provided the policy limit does not exceed $5 million.

Contractors Equipment

What is a contractors equipment policy?

Designed to protect commercial operations owning valuable mobile equipment, the contractors equipment insurance policy provides business coverage for construction machinery, equipment and tools of a mobile nature used in contracting, installation, erection and repair, or moving operations or projects.

Who can buy a contractors equipment policy?

A policy can be written for contractors, commercial general contractors, agricultural entities, excavation providers, municipalities, wholesalers, retailers or any other type of commercial entity that owns mobile machinery and equipment.

What is typically covered under contractors equipment insurance?

Items typically insured include bulldozers, power shovels, loaders, graders, backhoes, forklifts, excavators, pavers, compressors, pumps and numerous other items of a mobile or portable nature.

Can I obtain coverage on rented equipment only?

No, Zurich does not offer a policy solely for construction equipment rental.

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