Lawn Care Business Insurance Basics
When it comes to potential safety issues or property damage, nothing is more important than you as the owner implementing safety training and a watchful eye to ensure safe working conditions while in the field. However, the tools and equipment you use may injure your employees or other people. To protect yourself, your lawn care business, your employees and your customers, you need to get the right lawn care business insurance. Here are some of the insurance options that you should consider for your business.
What if one of your workers accidentally destroys a residential fence? What if someone is injured by debris from one of your equipment that breaks down? These accidents could result in a lawsuit that could cost thousands or even your entire business. When you have general liability insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that your policy will cover the cost of legal fees, repairs and any damage that should be paid. General liability insurance is a must for any kind of business.
Commercial Umbrella Liability
Commercial umbrella liability insurance, also called excess liability insurance, is a cost-effective way to improve your insurance coverage as it allows you to increase the limit of your general liability policy, giving extra peace of mind. Random accidents can happen anytime, and it’s in your best interest to protect yourself and your business from its consequences. For instance, if the limit of your insurance on claims is only $400,000 and the settlement on the accident is $500,000, you’d be required to pay the remaining $100,000 on your own. With commercial umbrella insurance, you don’t need to worry about such matters.
Inland marine insurance is also known as tools and equipment insurance which compensates businesses if their products are damaged or lost during transit. Those in lawn care businesses transport equipment, supplies, and tools on a regular basis. Inland marine insurance protects your sheers, mowers and other tools against theft, vandalism or accidental loss while they are in transit. It also covers data and digital information such as electronic assets, accounting software and lead tracking data.
Workers’ compensation insurance protects your business by providing payment and medical treatment for disability or lost time to your employees in the event that they sustain an injury during the job. Your employees handle different kinds of tools and equipment every day, and they’re facing the risk of injuries. With workers’ compensation insurance, your business can cover the medical bills, settlements or litigation costs that could arise from an accident. Most states require businesses to have workers’ compensation insurance if they have W2 employees.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial auto insurance, also known as fleet insurance, protects you from expensive property damage, legal costs, and medical expenses in case of a car accident. Your personal car insurance doesn’t cover any vehicle you use for your business, so it’s crucial that you get commercial auto insurance. It can also supplement your employees’ personal policies if they use their own car while doing your business.
How to Buy Insurance for Your Lawn Care Business
Insurance coverage needs differ from one lawn care business to another. For instance, you may only need workers’ compensation insurance, but other types of coverage may be required as well. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing lawn care business insurance.
Gather the Necessary Documents
Having accurate information when applying for insurance helps your broker or insurance agent find the right protection for your business. It can also help you avoid a fraud claim against you for giving incorrect information. Before you shop for lawn care insurance, you should prepare your business contact information, type and number of vehicles you use for the business, number of employees you have, how you transport products like sod, plants, sod, and trees to clients as well as number of years your company has been in the industry and number of years you have personally worked in the industry.
You also need to provide details about other insurance you have, claims history for at least the past 3 years, information on the risk exposure and nature of your work and insurance requirements like requirements for certificates or licenses. Having this information will help you get accurate quotes. An insurance agent can help you choose the right insurance coverage for your business and prepare the required paperwork on your behalf.
Coverage and Value
Cheap policies provide minimal coverage. This may not be the best policy for your business. However, it doesn’t mean that the most expensive policy is the best choice for your company. Buying unnecessary policies is not good for your finances, but being underinsured is not an option as well. Consider what your business really needs and if possible, bundle the coverage into a single package to make it more affordable for you. Base your purchasing decision on the quality and amount of coverage the policy offers instead of only the cost.
Consider your deductible as well. It’s tempting to get a policy with a high deductible due to its low premium, but you may regret this choice when it’s time to file a claim as you will need to pay more for a covered event using your own money. When your premiums are high, your deductible will be low. This means that your insurance company will provide a higher payment for your claim. Consider the amount of financial loss you can afford to take. Don’t get a policy with a deductible that could put your business at risk.
Find an Agent Who Specializes in Lawn Care Business Insurance
A knowledgeable insurance agent can also you find the right coverage type and the ideal limit for your risk exposures. When looking for lawn care business insurance, answer all underwriting requirements truthfully. You should consider your gross income as well. It doesn’t make sense to pay for a policy that is based on $80,000 of gross receipts when your company only earns $50,000. You may want to find a reputable insurance agency that specializes in small businesses. They offer simple and affordable plans that are tailored to small businesses. You may also get a free quote online.
Determine Your Risk Exposures
Some of the risks that should be covered include property damage, bodily injury, theft, and damage to your equipment and tools. Risks and coverage should increase if you have vehicles, large inventory, employees and building. A good starting point is to ask yourself what potential injuries and accidents your employees face. You should also consider the equipment you use. If it’s destroyed, can you replace it immediately? Preparing for the worst case scenario and having the right insurance that covers such situations is the best way to deal with this. The insurance company will assess the risks faced by your business and decide on the amount of exposure they will accept. Your coverage premium depends on the level of risk the insurance company will cover, so you should prioritize the risks that could cost your business the most.
You may also need to get your license as a landscaping contractor depending on the state where you operate. The licensing process usually requires posting a surety bond in the amount required by the state. A surety bond is an insurance product which ensures that you or your business will fulfill the contract’s financial obligations. You can get it through an insurance agency that is allowed to sell bonds from a surety insurance agency. It can also help you attract large contracts.
Who Can Get Lawn Care Business Insurance?
Every business owner should have at least some kind of insurance coverage. Commercial general liability, in particular, is significant. There are several risk exposures that you should be prepared for. A lot of time is spent working on the properties of your clients. A stone kicked up by the mower can smash a window. One of your client’s kids may trip over the power cable and sustain an injury. If you don’t have lawn care business insurance and you are sued, you need to find the money to pay for compensation and lawyers on your own. Even if you don’t have valuable business assets or a building, the fact remains that you work directly with the public. This opens a lot of potential risk exposures like property damage and bodily injury. Buying insurance is an economical way of preventing a financial loss that could potentially cost you your entire business. You can talk to an insurance agent to learn more about the lawn care business insurance policies available in your area.