Winter Road and Street Maintenance: Contractor Considerations 

If a municipality decides to hire a snow and ice removal contractor, there are some important insurance considerations to keep in mind. Some of the more pressing contractor insurance issues are identified. Additional considerations specific to insurance policies of your organization may apply. In addition to selecting a contractor based on review of expertise, response times and capabilities, it is important to:

● verify that the contractor has General Liability coverage and that will cover claims for property damage and/or bodily injuries caused by the contractor's employees or their operations;
● ensure coverage for products/completed operations to pay for any claim arising out of the completed work by the contractor;
● include hold harmless and indemnification clauses in the contract;
● ensure the contractor has Contractual Liability coverage.

All contractors must provide Certificates of Insurance to verify that the contractor does, in fact, carry all the stipulated insurance coverage with appropriate limits. The municipality should be added as additional insured on the policy.

The contract should specify using 1-, 2- or 4-inch snowfall provisions under which conditions snow/ice removal begins. Others depend on a telephone call requesting specific services.

Most services will include distribution of rock salt or sand but some may charge an extra fee for these services.

Special provisions may need to be established to control certain situations such as water runoff from hillsides.

Care must be taken when selecting a contractor. Many perform snow/ice removal during off-season lulls in their main business. For example, landscapers, garden nurseries and even window cleaners. There are also individuals who start their own business when they merely buy a four-wheel-drive vehicle and attach a snowplow. The latter examples, particularly in the case of landscapers, may be a good choice to perform municipal snow/ice removal.

Those companies already know the property and there may be a cost benefit to combining winter and summer maintenance services. Even experienced contractors may use individuals to assist their efforts. This may occur during heavy snowfalls or if contractors have limited equipment resources. Again, experience and insurance provisions should play an important part in selecting a contractor.

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