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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for some advice on obtaining insurance for a new business.

For several years I've been constructing wheelchair ramps for family members and friends (parents, grandparents, so forth). I've decided to do this exclusively as a full time job after visiting http://www.wheelchairramp.org/ and obtaining ADA compliant plans. I would also offer simple home modifications for accessibility needs, grab bars, door widening, etc. But the main focus being wheelchair ramps.

The problem I'm having is in obtaining liability insurance to begin this venture. Every agent I've met with has expressed great concern over liability with the use of wheelchair ramps. And of course, the fact that I'm just starting in this business. Subsiquently I've been turned down for insurance from several companies here in southwest Missouri.

Does anyone have any ideas about how I might go about resolving this?

Or is there a way I can cover my backside without insurance for a couple of years? So I can get established.

Thanks in advance
 

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Frankly Steve, If I were an insurance company I too would turn you down. Those companies look at every thing in term of potenial pay out. Your starting off with plantiff's in wheelchairs and it goes downhill from there. Sorry, but that's life in the good ole USA. Best keep looking or think about doing just general remodeling.
When the courts allow lawyers to "channel" dead babies to a jury, just whatdaya expect?
 

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Your not just starting in this business. You said yourself you've done it before ;) Take pictures and show them your completed work portfolio. Sell them on you, don't let them sell you insurance.

Operating without insurance is a no-no. Maybe you can go into carpentry doing all sorts of carpentry stuff and get carpenters insurance. Rebuild stoops install doors, that kind of stuff, and sneak the ramps. In doing that kind of stuff you will prove to your insurance your business skills and prove to them, "Hey I've done a few ramps and nobody has died."

I can think of a few other options like calling competitors and, without telling them who you are, asking them who carries their insurance.
 

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Why do you need to specifically tell agents that you're building ADA ramps? Just tell them you're starting a carpentery business that will perform various indoor and outdoor improvements to homes and businesses. If they want examples of improvements use decks, stairs, railings, porches, etc., etc.
Have you found that policies exclude liability for ramps or are agents simply turning you away when you mention ramps? Local contractor associations are a good source for agents that can sell policies for the contracting industry. Check out the local chapter of the ABC, AGC or NAHB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Got a quote...

Thanks for the quick response.

Since the post this morning, I've been given a quote locally. A little expensive @ $1,600 a year (or maybe not). But a quote none the less.

I did in fact send out photos and the plans I would be working from to these folks. Maybe that did the trick.

Thanks again for your help
 

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Quotes for new businesses are often based on estimated payroll. You then make up the difference at the end of the year. What's important to ask is not how much am I paying now but how much will I pay at the end of the year? They will usually give you a percentage of payroll... somewhere around 29% for carpentry I beleive.

A little expensive? "Compared to what?" I always ask. It's the only quote you have; thus at this point it's a damned good quote ;)
 

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I specify that I'm a remodeler. Nobody ever asked if I do any ADA and I never volunteered the info.
I can see a lot of insurance problems for a business specializing in ADA. I had a boat rental business for a few years and Lloyd's of London gave me the best rates and more freedoms. Not outrageously priced either. Worth a look.
 
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