Top 4 Ways to Protect Your Landscaping Business
Whether you operate a landscaping business or lawn care service, it’s important to understand your risks.
A lawn care and landscaping contractor’s success is contingent on the property they maintain. To avoid any liability issues, it is important your business has insurance to protect you in case something goes wrong with your service or product offering for clients’ homes/offices, etc…
In the landscaping industry, there is a risk of injury due to heavy equipment. The job site may not have safety fencing or barriers that keep people out and most employees will be working alongside customers while they work.
To protect your business from financial loss, you will need to mitigate as many risks as possible and you can do this with an insurance package that will allow you to transfer everyday risks to a highly-rated insurance company.
Here are the 4 top ways to protect your landscaping business:
1. General Liability Insurance
Landscaping and lawn care businesses need to be wary of their own unique risks. You or your employees could inadvertently destroy a sprinkler system, damage a fence, or injure someone from a malfunctioning piece of equipment. If any of these things happen, you could lose your business.
In any of the above-mentioned instances, general liability insurance can mitigate your everyday risks by providing the following coverages:
- Coverage for bodily injury liability
- Coverage for property damage liability
- Medical payments
- Personal Injury coverage (claims for libel, slander, and advertising claims)
- Products-Completed operations claims
Your general liability coverage will be the foundation of your landscaping insurance package.
2. Tool and Equipment Protection (Inland Marine Insurance)
How would you handle the financial loss if a trailer full of your tools and equipment were stolen from the job site or a storage area? Would it be problematic to have to replace about $10,000 of landscaping equipment?
Unless you keep substantial cash in savings, you’’’ likely need an Inland Marine policy that will cover your tools and equipment while in storage, in transit, or at the job site. An inland marine policy is the most affordable method for mitigating financial loss if your tools and equipment are stolen or damaged as the result of a covered peril.
Inland marine insurance is very affordable and will provide coverage for your tools and equipment for the appraised value. Why pay for a major loss out-of-pocket when you can have a highly-rated insurance company assume your risk?
3. Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If your employees are hurt on the job or get sick at work, they are not covered by your general liability policy. The workers’ compensation policy covers their injuries and illnesses, but only if the injury was caused by an accident or illness while on the job. Your landscaping insurance package should always include a workers’ comp policy.
Whether your state requires your landscaping business to be licensed or not, it is important to be insured so you’ll not be liable for employee medical expenses that result from work-related injuries or illnesses.
Most states require landscaping and lawn maintenance businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If you plan to get a license through the state, you will generally need to provide proof of this insurance and a license bond.
4. Commercial Auto Insurance
If you are a landscaping contractor using cargo vans or pickups with your company name on them, personal car insurance will not protect you in the event of an accident.
Additionally, personal auto insurance will not provide the higher liability limits you’ll need if you do business with large businesses or a government agency.
A commercial auto policy typically will not limit the number or type of vehicle your company will use or the number of drivers you’ll want to be listed on your policy.
If you find that you need higher limits than what your commercial auto provides, you can easily purchase an affordable commercial umbrella policy to add a layer of protection of up to $10 million or $20 million at very affordable rates.
Where to Find Lawn Care Insurance with Affordable Rates
First of all, never purchase landscaping or lawn care insurance online without the advice of an experienced and reputable independent insurance broker.
Many companies are now selling commercial insurance online, and in most cases offer cookie-cutter insurance without the help of an insurance professional who understands the risks that landscape contractors will have to deal with every customer.
Independent commercial insurance brokers like Fairbanks Insurance Brokers can shop your business with all of the highly-rated companies they represent. Since independent brokers are not employed by the carriers they represent, they can put the needs of their clients and prospective clients first and foremost.
Additionally, you’ll certainly save time by dealing with a broker who represents multiple insurance companies rather than calling or going online with all the companies out there who are now taking the agent out of the purchase process.
How Much Does Landscaping Insurance Cost?
The cost of your landscaping insurance package will depend on various underwriting factors that typically include:
- Number of years in business
- Limits of liability you choose for your landscape contractor insurance
- Estimated annual revenues
- Estimated number of customers serviced each year
- Claims history over the last 5 years
- Value of vehicles, equipment, and tools
Here is What We Recommend
General Liability: Contractors General Liability will be the foundation of protection for your business. The coverage will respond if you or your employees are found liable for bodily injury, property damage, or have a products/completed operations complaint. The coverage also covers defense costs for your business to respond to any lawsuits brought by a third party.
Workers’ Comp: Many states will require contractors to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their workers before they can begin a project. Accidents will happen at the job site that can result in an employee becoming injured and missing work. Your workers’ compensation coverage will provide financial assistance for medical expenses and lost wages.
Surety Bonds: It’s very likely that your state will require you to be licensed before you can begin operations. Most states and customers will require contractors to offer a license or surety bond before you are allowed to bid on a job or begin working.
Commercial Auto: Typically, most contractors will have light and heavy vehicles that require commercial auto insurance to make certain their vehicles can be repaired or replaced in the event of an accident, vandalism, or theft.
Tool Coverage: Also known as Inland Marine Insurance, this policy will provide for reimbursement for expenses to repair or replace tools and equipment. Your tools represent an important part of your livelihood, so we always encourage carpentry contractors to consider this valuable coverage.
Frequently Asked QuestionsYes. Typically all the coverages needed by a landscape contractor are the same as a lawn care business. Yes, if you have any employees. Check with your state’s labor board for more information. Generally, a landscaping business insurance package costs more than lawn care business insurance because of the equipment used and the number of employees needed at the job site.
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