When the project is finished, it belongs to the client, it belongs to whoever owns the land. In the meantime, there’s a lot of shared risk. If a hurricane blows the whole jobsite into the sea, the client is out whatever you’ve spent on construction materials, but the builder could be out of a job if there’s no builder’s risk policy in place to recover the losses.
The builder does the work, the client finances the project, and until it’s finished, you’re in this together, sharing the risks associated with building something. Their project and your job are both on the line.
So who buys the builder’s risk insurance?
Many contractors insist on the client making the purchase. It’s the client that collects the payout on the claim, it’s the client who will own the finished property, and all the material on the site has been purchased with funds allocated by the client. This is the simplest, easiest solution. Anyways, if the builder is expected to buy the policy, then they’re probably going to weigh that into the budgeting process, essentially requiring the client to foot the bill either way.
On the other hand, buying the policy yourself, as a builder, can help to protect you against certain circumstance. Suppose, for instance, that disaster strikes, and it kills the client’s enthusiasm for the project. They recoup their losses, and leave you out of a job. Furthermore, a builder may simply be more familiar with the ins and outs of insuring a construction project. If you’re working with someone who is new to the process or someone who just wants a home built and isn’t interested in becoming a real estate mogul, then it may make more sense to handle all the red tape for them. You’re generally going to have to provide proof of builder’s risk coverage on most major projects, and if you already know how to do that, it’s a lot easier than telling someone where to go to get these papers stamped, who to call for a fair price on the policy, how much coverage to buy and so on.
Ultimately it depends on the project. If the client is trustworthy and experienced in these matters, then you may want to let them handle it. Otherwise, you can streamline the process and get to work much quicker by buying the policy yourself rather than walking an inexperienced client through it.