What You Need To Know About Arborist Insurance Needs
It’s a fact of life that if you run a business, you need to make sure it is properly insured. Tree service insurance requirements surpass the needs of other small businesses.
Why is that the case?
First of all, tree service providers offer an indispensable service that, by its very nature, entails higher risk than many other services. Workers face potentially hazardous conditions, including ice, snow, storms and other inclement weather to help ensure that residences, roads and businesses can operate safely. Tree service risks include safely operating powerful equipment high in the air with minimal structural support. Arborists must make unstable trees safe for nearby buildings while working around power lines and other potential hazards.
Secondly, arborist insurance needs must account for scenarios in which the company has a need for high liability support.
Here are some recent examples of the damages that can be caused by improper execution of tree services or owner neglect:
- In 2019, the city of Clearwater, Florida, approved a $180,000 settlement for a woman whose car was crushed by a laurel oak tree while she was driving.
- In Pasadena, California, a $7.3 million settlement was reached in March 2020 after a falling tree limb fractured the skull of a child who was enrolled in a nearby day care facility.
In the second case, tree service contractors participated in the settlement. Customers count on arborists to make their homes, businesses and communities safe, habitable and inviting. Tree service providers do everything in their power to ensure the safety of their workers and their customers, because mistakes are too dangerous and too costly to ignore.
Here, we’ll explore some of the risks and tree company insurance needs for tree service providers and arborists.
Tree Service Risks
Tree service businesses face risks on two fronts:
- Tree service risks include threats faced by all or many other small businesses.
- Tree service businesses are susceptible to unique threats due to the nature of their business.
Included in the general risk category for all and most small businesses are damages, liability or loss of property and value for vehicles and equipment. Arborists may also be susceptible to theft of specialized tools and machinery.
Other general risks faced by tree service companies include business interruption and workers’ compensation claims.
Because of the specific hazards present in the industry, unique tree service risks noted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration include:
- Falls from heights.
- Noise and height hazards from heavy equipment and aerial lifts.
- Work zone issues.
- Contact with live wires and other utilities.
- Chain saw accidents.
- Falling trees and debris.
- Injuries from wood chippers.
- Dangers associated with power tools.
- High levels of noise.
- Ladder mishandling.
- Interaction with poisonous plants.
- Damage from unknown chemicals.
Obviously, safety and compliance measures are the most important safeguards against these risks. Given that arborists must contend with these risk factors, however, it is important to have certain tree company insurance protections in place to help address these hazards.
Tree Service Insurance Requirements: What Do You Need to Protect?
To help arborists protect their business from the outside risks noted above, they need to meet tree service insurance requirements.
Specifically, they must find policies that can help them protect against financial loss due to:
- Vehicle damage.
- Equipment damage or theft.
- Facilities issues.
- Workers’ compensation claims.
- Liability due to professional services that are unique to tree service.
- Liability due to general business functions as well as general property and vehicle usage.
Arborist Insurance Needs: Small Business Coverage
To mitigate the general small business risks, arborist insurance needs listed by the Tree Care Industry Association include:
- General liability protection.
- Commercial automobile policies.
- Workers’ compensation insurance.
- Inland marine support.
- Umbrella policies.
- Property protection.
It may also be worth purchasing supplemental coverage to help guard against loss due to crime or cyber liability. As data breaches and ransomware attacks grow in scale, sophistication and in the variety of targets they pursue, don’t think that your system is too small or too insignificant to avoid being a victim of cybercrime.
Making sure your business is properly insured is a sign of responsibility for your customers and potential clients. They know you’ll have the resources in place to weather uncertain circumstances in an industry that necessarily entails a certain amount of risk.
Types of Arborist Insurance Needs: Specialized Support for Arborists
Tree service companies are part of a unique industry that requires its own kind of support. The types of arborist insurance needs outlined by TCIA include:
- Specialized product lines for tree care companies that specifically address risks unique to tree service.
- Support for helping promote safety during tree care work.
- Agent support from professionals who have significant experience with tree care policies, including membership in organizations like TCIA.
NIP Group’s TreePro insurance program is administered by professionals who have decades of experience handling various types of tree company insurance needs, including:
- Arborist errors and omissions.
- Pesticide and herbicide applicator coverage.
- Arborist board form.
- Crane coverage.
- Limited job site pollution.
- Auto pollution broadened coverage.
TreePro boasts memberships in TCIA, the International Society of Arboriculture and the Utility Arborist Association. Our clients have access to coverage for tree service risks like tree pruning and spraying as well as snow and ice removal. With experts who have accumulated 30 years of experience in the tree care industry staffing our service and supporting our clients, you can rest assured that our representatives know what it takes to protect your tree care business. Our team will put together a policy that works for you.