As a landscaper, you likely operate a variety heavy equipment around homes and businesses. Your landscaping company mows lawns, weeds, mulches garden beds, plants flowers and trees, sets up sprinkler systems, and more. You may even offer tree removal services to help homeowners get rid of damaged or dead trees. Each one of these jobs requires special equipment and tools to perform the work. In the same scope, your landscaping business benefits from having specialized general liability insurance coverage to protect you from the risks involved that could lead to an accident or significant financial loss.
Does my business need general liability landscaping insurance?
The fact is that 40% of all small businesses have at least one general liability claim every ten years.
But, it’s important to remember that landscaping businesses have a higher-than-average liability risk due to the nature of the work. It’s also noteworthy to understand that more than one-third of all general liability claims end with a lawsuit filed against the business.
It’s always best to be prepared and have a general liability insurance policy in place to protect your business while facilitating potential claims for any damage that can unexpectedly occur to other parties.
The landscaping industry is comprised of a subset of highly specialized services. Your lawn care business might perform one or all of the following:
- Lawn maintenance
- Landscaping lighting services
- Installation and maintenance of irrigation solutions
- Garden and landscape design including, the planting of flowers, shrubs, and trees
- Tree and shrub pruning
- Tree and stump removal
- Lawn and turf management
- Herbicide and pesticide applications
- Water garden design and installation and more!
If your landscaping business does any of the above services, it should be a priority to obtain specialized general liability landscaping insurance. You’ll want to ensure that you’re adequately covered against any claims that could occur against your business.
What Will General Liability Insurance Cover?
General liability insurance will help to cover a range of claims against your landscaping company. A client or third party might claim that your lawn care professionals caused an injury or loss. General liability insurance provides coverage for:
- Medical payments for bodily or personal injuries to your customer or a third-party
- Property damage to your client’s property or third-party property damage claims
- Product liability
- Advertising injury claims
- Legal costs, judgments against your business, and settlements that arise out of covered claims
- Administrative expenses related to covered claims
It’s important to realize that general liability policies have coverage limits. So, it’s critical to choose limits that will offer comprehensive and adequate protection for your business.
Most businesses are vulnerable to general liability claims. But, the landscaping industry has a higher than average risk of exposures than many businesses.
What’s more, these types of claims can quickly get expensive and make it difficult for small businesses to recover from them. The average company doesn’t have the extra resources needed to cover liability claims. A bodily or personal injury claim could quickly soar to $20,000 or more. Without adequate liability coverage, your business would be responsible for paying those expenses out of pocket.
A general liability insurance policy will offer the peace of mind you need to confidently run your business without worrying about a lawsuit that could negatively impact the financial stability of your business.
Your clients will also rest easier knowing that if something unforeseen occurs, your business can meet the expenses associated with any legal action they feel the need to take. Being insured also gives you an edge over any competition that isn’t insured.
General Liability Claim Examples
Bodily Injury Claims
Imagine a rock flying out from equipment that you’re using on a customer’s property. The rock hurls through the air and strikes a visitor in the eye, causing significant injury. Unfortunately, the injured person needs expensive medical treatment. You also learn that the injured party is a school teacher who needs a good set of eyes to do their work well. But, because of their eye injury, they’ll be out of commission for a while. Their only recourse to recover medical expenses and the inconvenience of being out of work indefinitely is to file a general liability claim against your business.
Property Damage Claims
Property damage claims include a broad scope of possibilities. One example is that the area you’re contracted to landscape has been undergoing a minor drought. Your landscape worker smokes a cigarette right before leaving for the day and tosses the cigarette to the ground, squashing it with his shoe. Unfortunately, the lit cigarette isn’t completely extinguished, and the turf is dry enough for a fire to ignite. The fire spreads to your client’s home, and it sustains major damage. While your client may have homeowner’s coverage, your business could be held for damages if it can be proven that your worker’s oversight caused the fire.
Product Liability Claims
Suppose one of the herbicides you use in your landscaping jobs is later blamed for causing sickness in many people. One or more of your clients calls and claims they got violently in the days following the application of the herbicide and threatens legal action. Another scenario could be that the water fountain you installed has a defect and has an electrical shortage. Product liability coverage will help pay for covered legal claims and medical expenses, if any, arising from using a product.
Advertising Injury Claims
According to the Insurance Journal, liability claims that involve reputational harm are the most costly to settle. It’s not unusual for a court to award $50,000 or more for an advertising injury claim. A competitor could accuse you, one of your employees, or your company, of slander. One of your workers might talk bad about your competition to a client who happens to know someone who works for your competitor. Or, they might even post a meme about your competitor on their personal social media page that goes viral. The problem is that these types of actions are considered slander and libel, and both can cause significant financial hardship for your business if you’re sued because of them. It can be expensive to mount a legal defense against these kinds of allegations. General liability insurance helps to cover these types of advertising injury claims.
Other Types of Landscaping Insurance to Consider
Operating a landscape business involves more risk than general liability claims. Liability coverage will only pay for injuries to your clients or third parties, property damage to third parties, product liability, and claims involving reputational harm.
There are other layers of risks to consider to your business’s property, its employees, and your work vehicles. Basic general liability insurance won’t cover these other extensions of your landscaping business.
When exploring options for your landscaping insurance, you’ll also want to learn more about Workers’ Comp insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance, Errors and Ommissions, and Business Property Insurance. There may also be other types of coverage that are specific to the kinds of services you offer.
When considering landscaping insurance, it’s a good idea to consult with a specialized insurer who understands your industry and can tailor coverage for your needs. Most of the time, the various insurance coverage needed to offer comprehensive protection for your landscaping business can be bundled, resulting in a discounted rate for you.
Risk Transfer and Why It’s Important
Landscaping insurance is one way to transfer risk away from your business. Essentially, if someone files a lawsuit against your business and you have adequate protection with insurance, it minimizes the risks to you.
Insurance claims against small businesses can result in tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most landscaping businesses spend years building their business and having a strong profit margin. After all, you have to spend lots of money on your equipment and tools, and it takes time to pay those things off.
So many landscaping companies don’t have the kind of money it would take to facilitate a major claim against their business. Insurance helps to manage those risks and deflect the financial risk away from your business. That way, if something happens, you can continue running your business without worry, and you don’t have to start all over.
But, there are other ways to manage your risks in addition to having comprehensive insurance coverage. After all, you wouldn’t want numerous claims against your business.
For one, you want to be known as a landscaping company where safety is at the forefront of your business. Secondly, you wouldn’t want too many insurance claims because it could impact your premiums.
So, how can you help manage those risks and minimize the chance of having a claim? Besides putting safety first, you might consider managing expectations with your clients. One way to do this is through a contract that clearly details the work to be performed, defines your responsibilities and those of the property owner’s, and other conditions of the contract.
A contract transfers some risks back to the client and gives you something to fall back on if a property owner comes back and says the work wasn’t done as agreed.
Landscaping Insurance FAQ
How much does general liability landscaping insurance cost?
Several factors influence the premiums of your landscaping coverage. Some of those factors are out of your control, and some are within your control. For example, insurance costs vary for different geographical locations. If there are more landscaping accidents where you operate your business, rates could be higher. On the other hand, you can lower your premiums by having a higher deductible and reducing the limits on your policy. However, it’s crucial to have the type of coverage you need to protect your business. Your business’s claims history will also determine your insurance costs. If you have many claims, an insurance company could see your business as a higher risk. In contrast, if you have fewer claims, it reflects better when an insurer is determining your premium. Ultimately, the benefits of having adequate insurance coverage to protect your business are priceless. And, when it comes right down to it, landscaping insurance premiums aren’t likely to break the bank and can offer immeasurable great peace of mind to you.
If my landscaping company damages my client’s home or property, will their homeowner’s insurance cover the damages?
Unfortunately, no. Homeowner’s policies cover damages from a storm, a fire, or in the event contents are stolen from the home. It also offers them liability coverage only when an accident occurs due to their negligence. Your landscaping business needs protection for claims that may arise out of work performed by your business or its workers. Without adequate protection provided by the coverage you obtain, you’re risking your business. That’s a chance most companies don’t want to take.
What kind of policy limits should I get for my landscaping business?
Most insurers recommend policy limits with a minimum of $1,000,000. Ultimately, you should determine your risks and obtain the best coverage you can get at a price you can afford. Higher limits offer greater coverage to your landscaping business and increase protection against a larger claim that could be made against your business.
Is it a requirement that I have general liability coverage?
Small business and landscaping insurance requirements vary from state to state. But considering the risks involved in landscaping work, it’s prudent to carry coverage, regardless of the legal requirements. One major claim against your landscaping business can significantly impede your business’s ability to function uninterrupted. It can also disrupt your cash flow, and in many cases, leave you unable to pay for claims and place you in a position of bankruptcy. Moreover, the majority of clients won’t even consider hiring your company if you’re uninsured. If it comes down to an insured business or one that isn’t, most clients will view an insured business as a more reputable company and choose them to do business with.
Your landscaping business faces substantial risks every day. It’s wise to consider your options in terms of risk management and to manage those risks. General liability claims frequently occur in the landscaping industry, and having sufficient coverage in place helps you be prepared for any eventuality.
A landscaping insurer such as NIP Pro specializes in offering the type of coverage landscapers need. The right kind of general liability insurance provides maximum protection against the risks your landscaping business faces every day.
A customized landscaping insurance policy will protect your business against the risks specific to your business’s needs and ensure adequate protection against property, bodily, and personal injury claims. Contact NIP Group today to learn more.