10 musts when hiring home improvement contractor

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Q: Several years ago, you wrote a column that was partially prompted by email about the dangers of hiring unlicensed contractors. Now that the home improvement season is upon us, the Contractors State License Board is warning about another danger to homeowners: lack of workers' compensation insurance. I've noticed advertisements for many licensed home improvement contractors, spanning many crafts from landscape to drywall and painting, who don't carry workers' compensation insurance. I think you may remember the story I mentioned before about the roofer who picked up a worker outside a local home improvement store only to have that worker fall off the homeowner's roof and suffer serious injuries. The worker ended up suing the homeowner for compensation. --John Motroni, San Francisco A: We certainly do remember the story and the events leading to it. We wrote that hiring unlicensed workers was OK, providing the homeowner was aware of the risks. Motroni, who at the time was ...