Understanding the Role of an Additional Insured in Insurance Policies

Understanding the Role of an Additional Insured in Insurance Policies

February 27, 2024

Navigating the complexities of insurance can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to understanding various clauses and terms. One such term that often causes confusion is "additional insured." This concept is crucial in many business arrangements and can significantly impact liability and coverage issues. In this article, we will demystify what it means to be an additional insured and explore its importance in the realm of insurance.

What is an Additional Insured?

An additional insured is a person or organization that is not automatically included as an insured under an insurance policy but has been added to the policy at the request of the named insured. This arrangement extends the coverage of the named insured's policy to the additional insured, often in relation to specific services, operations, or properties.

Why Add an Additional Insured?

The primary reason for adding an additional insured to a policy is to protect against claims arising from the named insured's operations or use of property. This is common in business relationships where one party wants to be protected against risks arising from another party's actions. For example, a construction company hired to work on a building may request to be added as an additional insured on the building owner's property insurance policy. This would protect the construction company against claims of property damage or injuries occurring on the site.

Types of Policies That Include Additional Insureds

Additional insured status can be found in various types of insurance policies, including:

  1. General Liability Insurance: Often used in business contracts, this policy provides coverage for bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury caused by the insured's operations.

  2. Auto Insurance: A company may be added as an additional insured on a contractor's auto policy if the contractor uses vehicles for business purposes.

  3. Professional Liability Insurance: Also known as errors and omissions insurance, this can include additional insureds in situations where professional advice or services are provided.

How Does Being an Additional Insured Work?

To add an additional insured, the named insured must request an endorsement to their existing policy. This endorsement modifies the policy to extend certain coverages to the additional insured. It's important to note that the coverage for an additional insured is typically limited to liability arising out of the named insured's operations or premises.

Limitations and Considerations

Being an additional insured has its limitations. Typically, the coverage is limited to acts or omissions related to the named insured. Additionally, the policy limits are shared between the named insured and any additional insureds, which could potentially reduce the amount of coverage available.

Moreover, it's crucial for additional insureds to understand that this status does not replace the need for their own insurance. In many cases, the coverage extended is secondary to the additional insured's policy.

The Importance of Certificates of Insurance

When an entity is added as an additional insured, they should obtain a Certificate of Insurance (COI). This document provides proof of insurance and details the coverage extended to the additional insured. It's an essential tool for managing risk and ensuring that the necessary protections are in place.


The inclusion of an additional insured in an insurance policy is a critical aspect of risk management, especially in business relationships where liabilities can be significant. While it provides valuable protection, understanding its scope, limitations, and the need for proper documentation is essential for all parties involved. By comprehensively understanding the role and impact of additional insureds, businesses and individuals can better navigate the complexities of insurance and ensure that they have adequate protection in place.