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My housekeeper is "bonded and insured." What does that mean?

By Insurance.com Posted : 01/01/2011

Consumer organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau, recommend hiring only contractors and service providers who are "bonded and insured" to do work at your home. Why? Those terms mean you have valuable protection in case something goes wrong.

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The housecleaning service makes payments to a surety company for protection by a bond, and pays premiums to an insurance company for insurance coverage. The surety or the insurance company are responsible for covering financial losses, depending on the type of incident.

The bond compensates you in case the service isn't completed on time or correctly. You can make a claim and be paid for the unfinished or improperly executed work. In some cases a bond might also cover damage or theft. Businesses that are bonded do background checks on their employees, so you have peace of mind knowing that any housekeeper a bonded housecleaning services sends to your home has a clean record.

Insurance is critical. It provides liability protection in case the housekeeper is injured in your home. Some policies, like the bond, might also cover damage or theft.

If the housekeeping service is not bonded and insured, then you would have no recourse if the housekeeper failed to finish the work, and you could be held liable for medical expenses if the employee got hurt while working at your home. Your homeowners insurance would come to the rescue if an uninsured housekeeper was injured and sued you, but the liability protection provided by home insurance might not be enough if the injury were severe, and regardless of the amount of medical expenses, you'd still be on the hook for the deductible.

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