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As a landscaper, you probably spend most of your day out with clients. While you’re on the road, the last thing you want on your mind is your insurance coverage. However, there are many reasons why a basic business insurance package just isn’t enough. A broad landscaping services insurance program needs to take everything into consideration. That includes your equipment, your employees, and your specialized risk.
Go beyond basic general liability.
Every business has the potential to harm, damage, or injure another business or person. That’s why businesses need general liability insurance. However, it’s not so simple for landscapers. This is because the bulk of work performed is on your clients’ properties. Your employees could damage a patio, deck, or other expensive structure. Your client could trip over equipment left out on the lawn. Chemicals like herbicides could create a hazardous spill or injure someone. Also, if you subcontract any work, you can be held liable for damage subcontractors do as well.
Umbrella insurance can provide greater protection.
In the case of significant damage to property or serious injury to a non-employee, there’s a high risk of being sued. Defense of lawsuits can be quite costly. If damages are awarded to the other party, a large enough sum could exceed the limits of your standard liability policy. A commercial umbrella insurance policy provides additional protection with higher limits and typically broader coverage. This coverage extends not only over your general liability policy but also many other coverages as well.
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Commercial General Liability Coverage
As a landscaper, your business may be susceptible to many risks, such as claims due to bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and more. And, if you hire other contractors to perform work on your behalf, you can be held responsible for any damage they cause on the job.
Commercial general liability insurance is an absolute necessity for every landscaper. This type of protection provides broad coverage for premises, operations, products, and claims to third parties or property when you are deemed responsible and liable. It will also pay to defend any covered lawsuit or action regardless of its merit.
Business Auto Insurance
Landscapers have many exposures associated with vehicles, whether owned or leased. With a fleet of cars, trucks, vans, or other types of vehicles used in the course of business, a single accident can potentially put your landscaping business in financial jeopardy.
Business auto insurance provides coverage for vehicles owned or leased by a landscaper and provides coverage for bodily injury, property damage, and other exposures, and could include comprehensive and collision coverage as well.
Commercial Umbrella / Excess Insurance
Losses and lawsuits are quite common. Defending these suits and paying any damages awarded can be quite costly. If your landscaping business is found to be responsible for damage or injury on a job site, you could be facing a large liability loss that exceeds the limits of your standard policy.
You should consider purchasing a commercial umbrella insurance policy which provides higher limits, typically between $2 million and $10 million, and often broadened coverages. Coverage is extended over your general liability, workers’ compensation, business auto, and directors and officers liability insurance. It provides a great safety net and helps ensure your landscaping business is well protected.
Hold Harmless / Additional Insureds
If you are working as a landscaper on a project where other contractors and vendors are involved, you could be held liable for any damages or injuries caused by the other contractors or vendors, leaving you with costly legal fees and settlement costs. Your business needs to be protected against the risk of some other company, vendor, or subcontractor causing damage to people or property of your mutual customer.
Consider having a contract in place with each entity that includes a hold harmless agreement in your favor. A hold harmless agreement provides that the entity will hold you harmless for any injuries or damage caused by their negligence. In addition, the contract should require that the entity list you as an additional insured on the policy. This may provide you with coverage under their policy or injuries or damage they cause if you are named in a lawsuit.
Commercial Property Insurance
While much of your business is conducted on the property of others, you likely still have a base of operations that may contain tools, equipment, and supplies. When a fire, theft, or other type of disaster strikes, your business property and everything within it can suffer a significant loss. This can have a detrimental effect on your business.
Commercial property insurance can help protect the property your business owns and leases, including things like equipment, inventory, furniture, and fixtures. Whether you own your buildings or lease your workspace, commercial property insurance can be purchased separately or can be combined with other necessary coverage to protect your business’ physical assets.
Workers’ Compensation and Employers Liability Coverage
Because your crew is working with dangerous equipment and potentially hazardous chemicals, there’s always a chance something could go wrong. If one of your employees receives an injury or becomes ill due to a work-related occurrence, you are required by law to have the proper coverage in place.
Workers’ compensation and employers liability insurance protects your employees should a job-related injury or sickness occur during the course of employment. Since benefits vary by location, make sure your insurance agent is aware of all physical locations your business operates in and all physical locations where you hire your employees.
Your landscaping business uses specialized equipment that’s essential to get the job done and carries a high value. If your equipment breaks, is damaged, or is stolen, you’re not able to do your job. And, because you're transporting equipment from job site to job site, there’s an even greater risk that something could happen to it.
Mechanical breakdown insurance may provide coverage in the event a piece of equipment malfunctions or stops working. Your property insurance will offer coverage for your equipment while it is stored at your location. Inland marine insurance is helpful as it covers your equipment while it is in transit between job sites.
Your landscaping business faces risks associated with the use of hazardous chemicals. These can include herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. Equipment may leak fuel or other hazardous chemicals. Improper use, spills, and other contamination events can result in significant injury or damage.
Environmental liability insurance may offer protection in the event of property damage or bodily injury that is the result of environmental pollutants. Your policy may provide for cleanup and restoration, defense costs if you are named in a lawsuit, and damages that may be awarded to an injured party.
Don’t leave your equipment unprotected.
Your landscaping business uses specialized and expensive equipment. Your tools and machinery are also commonly moved from job site to job site. This increases the risk that they could be damaged or stolen. Without it, you can’t perform your work. Your insurance policies need to properly protect your high-value items in case they need to be replaced or repaired.
Workers’ compensation insurance for landscapers is a must.
Workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory but the specifics can vary in different locales. Given the physical nature of your work as a landscaper, the proximity to chemicals, and the skill necessary to use certain equipment, there’s increased risk your employees could become injured or even killed on the job. Having adequate workers’ compensation coverage in place protects your business and your employees. Your insurance company must also be aware of the locations of job sites so that policies are accurate and inclusive.
Hauling your equipment requires business auto insurance.
Your employees are driving all over town to work at different locations throughout the day. There could be other employees in the vehicle with them or they could be carrying equipment. In addition to pickup trucks and vans, you may also have dump trucks, riding mowers, excavators, and other vehicles in use. Your business auto insurance policy must include protection for all the vehicles that your business owns.
Other business insurance policies should be considered.
Landscaping services insurance programs must also include policies geared toward the business side of things. Cyber liability insurance offers protection in case of a data breach of customer records. Your landscaping business likely owns the property to store equipment and office space, which would necessitate commercial property insurance. You’ll also want to consider employee theft coverage and employment practices liability insurance in case of dishonest workers or claims of harassment against your company.
To discuss your landscaping services insurance needs and to find out how you can protect your business, contact us today.
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