Safeguarding Your Property: Detecting Fraudulent, Expired, or Canceled Certificates of Insurance

When it comes to property management and renovations, a genuine and up-to-date Certificate of Insurance (COI) is your safety net. Beyond detecting fraudulent COIs, ensuring that the policy is current and has yet to be canceled or expired is equally crucial. Contractors sometimes acquire a policy for documentation purposes, only to cancel it later. You must verify the policy’s validity to protect your property from potential risks and financial liabilities.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to spot fake COIs and verify their current status to protect your property and investments effectively.

Spotting Red Flags and Ensuring Currency:

  1. Formatting Errors and Spelling Mistakes: 

Examine the COI for obvious formatting errors, inconsistent fonts, and spelling mistakes. Authentic COIs maintain a professional and error-free appearance, while fraudulent ones may display inconsistencies in these aspects. 

  1. Inaccurate Numbers and Data:

Scrutinize the coverage details and numerical values provided in the COI. Check that the occurrence limit aligns with the aggregate limit, ensuring accuracy and authenticity. Additionally, verify the issuance date to confirm that it corresponds with the request for coverage.

  1. Suspicious Alterations and Whitened-Out Text: 

Thoroughly inspect the description box on the COI. Tampering attempts like whitened-out areas or altered text may indicate a fraudulent certificate. Authentic COIs maintain a clear and unaltered appearance, instilling confidence in their validity.

Verifying Authenticity and Currency:

  1. Direct Communication with the Insurance Broker: 

Beyond detecting fake COIs, always communicate directly with the insurance broker to confirm the COI’s authenticity and current status. Reach out via email or phone to ensure that the policy is still in force and has yet to be canceled or expired.

  1. Validate Active Policies: 

Work closely with your property manager to ensure the COI reflects an active and up-to-date insurance policy. Contractors might temporarily acquire insurance for documentation purposes and later cancel it, exposing your property. Always verify the policy’s current status. 

Your property’s safety and financial security demand a vigilant approach to verifying insurance coverage. Detecting fraudulent COIs is the first step; ensuring the policy’s currency is equally vital. Stay proactive by thoroughly examining the COI, contacting insurance brokers for verification, and collaborating with your property manager to guarantee active and valid coverage.

Remember, a genuine and current Certificate of Insurance gives you the assurance and protection you need for a seamless property management experience.

If you’re interested in learning about buying or selling in Brooklyn, download our free Buying Into Brooklyn Ebook or our Seller’s Guide. We share a ton of valuable resources to demystify the buying and selling process.

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