As your landscape business grows, you’ll likely hire more employees to help you accomplish more work and increase your revenue. Maybe you already have several workers as part of your work crew. Anytime you have employees, it’s vital to protect them through workers’ compensation insurance. But, workers’ comp does more than offer protection to your workers — it protects your landscaping business as well.
Why Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Your workers are exposed to dangers every day on the job. The landscaping industry is physically demanding, and there are also unexpected exposures and risks that can occur without warning.
One of your workers could get a snake bite while doing lawn maintenance or clearing land. While pruning a tree, they could hurt their back or shoulder. When digging a garden, they could cut into a buried utility line. As they spray herbicide or pesticide, they could inadvertently breathe in hazardous fumes. A tree limb could also strike one of your workers during a tree-trimming project. Many things can happen and put your worker out of commission for a while and in need of expensive medical treatment.
If any of your employees get sick or hurt on the job, workers’ compensation insurance will pay for them to receive medical treatment, as well as reimburse them for lost wages. If a worker decides to sue your landscaping company, workers’ comp will also pay for your legal defense, court costs, and any settlements awarded by the court. And, if one of your workers dies due to an accident on the job, workers’ comp will provide funeral benefits.
Without workers’ compensation, your business could be held liable for the expenses related to their work-related accident or illness.
In the end, workers’ comp offers vital protection for your landscaping business. Without coverage to pay for these expenses, your business would have to pay for them out of pocket, resulting in a disruption of your business’s cash flow.
What to Look for When Choosing Workers’ Comp Insurance
There are several considerations when choosing Workers’ Compensation insurance for your landscaping business and its employees. Let’s look at some of them.
Landscaping Industry Expertise
One of the most important things you can do is partner with a landscape insurer who understands the industry. This is because they’ll understand the factors that influence the potential for accidents and other things that could lead to a workers’ comp claim. A good specialty insurer may even have valuable resources to help improve the safety standards for your landscaping business. In return, it could result in a reduction of your insurance premiums, along with fewer incidents in the workplace. A landscaping insurance expert understands both insurance and the landscaping industry.
Coverage Amounts and Payment Provisions
Anytime you obtain any type of insurance, you’ll naturally want to understand what it covers. Here are a few things you’ll want to know:
- The policy’s coverage specifics, deductibles, and limits.
- Your premium costs and fees, if any.
- Any conditions of coverage or exclusions.
- How their customer service stacks up against another workers’ comp insurer, i.e., do they have programs to help you lower premiums, do they help manage claims, are they accessible, etc.?
- Workers’ comp typically has two parts — bodily injury coverage, which is usually caused by an accident while working, and bodily injury that is caused by an illness or disease that could be made worse by your working conditions. In any case, you’ll want to choose an insurer who is willing to take the time to explain precisely what your coverage will pay for.
Knowledge of the Workers’ Comp Statutes for Each State
A reputable insurer stays up-to-date on the state statutes regarding workers’ compensation insurance. These laws vary from state to state. An experienced landscaping industry professional understands how to apply the state workers’ comp laws to your landscaping business and can help you determine what you need to meet their requirements.
Understand How to Leverage Safety Practices for Your Business
The best way to reduce workers’ comp claims is to make safety training a priority for your landscaping business. Prevention is always the best way to accomplish this. A top landscaping specialty insurer likely already has the knowledge and resources to help you achieve this vitally important task. They can help you implement the best safety policies for your landscaping business and help you have a plan to carry it all out. In turn, these actions will help you mitigate your business’s risks of having injuries on the job. You may even be able to get a discount on your premiums when completing a safety program for your landscaping business.
Claims Management Support
Managing claims can be a confusing process for employers and employees alike. After all, when your employee needs medical attention and has a claim, it should be a seamless process for both of you. Successful management will produce the best results for both you and your worker. In addition, when claims are managed well, it can help reduce your premiums. Prioritize getting workers’ comp coverage from a specialty landscaping insurer who is experienced in claims management from the onset of the claim to helping your employee return to work as soon as possible.
Are Landscaping Businesses Required to Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?
Workers’ compensation laws are regulated at the state level, with the majority of states in the U.S. requiring businesses to carry coverage on their workers. In all likelihood, if you have W-2 employees, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance coverage for your workers.
Failure to carry the required workers’ comp on your employees can result in penalties, fines, or even jail.
Each state has its own set of workers’ compensation requirements. For example, California considers failure to provide your employees workers’ comp a criminal offense with penalties ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. What’s more, California takes workers’ comp seriously. If a business fails to provide protection for its workers, the state won’t think twice about sentencing an offender to jail for up to a year.
In New York, failing to provide workers’ comp is only considered a misdemeanor in many cases. But the penalties are still stiff, ranging from $1,000 up to $50,000 for each offense. New York will also charge the uninsured business $2,000 when it has gone ten days without coverage. The fine is cumulative, so if a business goes 30 days without workers’ comp insurance, the company will be fined $6,000 or $2,000 for each set of 10 days it fails to carry coverage.
Find out what the laws are in your state concerning workers’ compensation, or consult an experienced and licensed insurance underwriter to learn more about the workers’ comp laws in the state where you operate your landscaping business.
The landscaping profession has risks and exposures that can impact your workers. It’s vital to ensure that adequate protection is in place for your employees if they’re hurt, injured, or fall ill due to their landscaping duties.
Workers’ comp protects you, your business, and your employees. A worker on the receiving end of workers’ compensation coverage can receive no-fault benefits, while your business is protected from significant financial loss and potential litigation.
Look for a comprehensive workers’ compensation policy through a specialty insurer who understands the landscaping industry. The licensed, experienced landscape insurance professionals at NIP Group can help.