Understanding and Obtaining a Certificate of Liability Insurance

Understanding and Obtaining a Certificate of Liability Insurance

Written by: Lindsey Lessard, Director of Client Services, Broker Representative for Alternative Balance

Owning your own business involves understanding insurance and contractual requirements. This includes a Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI), a document that plays a pivotal role in business interactions. This blog post delves into what a COI is, how to obtain one, and why landlords often require tenants to provide one.

What is a Certificate of Liability Insurance?

A Certificate of Liability Insurance is a document issued by an insurance company or broker and serves as proof that a business holds an active liability insurance policy. The certificate is a snapshot that outlines the key aspects of the policy, including:

  • Policyholder’s Name: Identifies the insured business or individual
  • Insurance Company: The provider of the insurance.
  • Policy Number and Types of Coverage: Details the specific policy and the types o liability covered, such as general and professional liability.
  • Effective Dates: The period during which the policy is active.
  • Coverage Limits: Indicates the maximum amount the insurance company will pay under the policy, including sub-limits.

How to Get a Certificate of Liability Insurance?

Obtaining a COI is a straightforward process, often necessary for business operations. Here’s how to get one:

1. Request a COI: If you have an active liability policy in place, request a COI from your insurance provider. This can usually be done online or over the phone. If you are an active Alternative Balance member, you can contact our customer support team at (800) 871-3848 or via email at [email protected] for any COI needs.

2. Provide Necessary Information: Your insurer might require information about your business and the reason for needing the COI, such as if the entity requesting the COI is asking to be added as an Additional Insured. The insurer will need to ensure that the individual or business requesting the certificate as an Additional Insured has an insurable interest in your operations, such as a landlord or property manager. This might also include any special verbiage requested by the Additional Insured entity.

3. Review and Distribute: After receiving the COI, review it for accuracy. You can then send it to parties requiring proof of your insurance.

Why Does My Landlord Need a Certificate of Liability from Me?

Landlords, property managers or locations where you are temporarily using space often require tenants to provide a COI for several important reasons:

  • Protecting Property Interests
  • Risk Management: A COI assures the landlord that any potential damages or liability issues arising from your use of the property/location are covered.
  • Financial Security: It provides a safety net for the landlord in case of accidents ordamages that might occur on the property.
  • Legal and Compliance Reasons
  • Lease Agreements: Many lease agreements or contracts require liability insurance inorder for you to rent or use their space.
  • Regulatory Compliance: In some jurisdictions, landlords are mandated to ensure that their tenants have adequate liability coverage.


A Certificate of Liability Insurance is an important document for both tenants and business owners. It serves as confirmation of coverage in rental situations, safeguarding the interests of both the tenant and the landlord. Obtaining and maintaining a COI not only fulfills legal and contractual obligations but also establishes a foundation of trust and professionalism in the landlord-tenant relationship.

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