As the demand for residential and commercial property development rises, so does the demand for healthy, green landscapes and lawns. According to the Global Industry Analysts report, the lawn care services market is expected to reach $80.06 billion by 2015. Many startup and independent lawn care service providers are embracing sustainable practices to edge out the corporate competition in our increasingly eco-conscious world.
But in addition to protecting the planet, you also have to protect your business from risks that can threaten your financial stability. Below is a list of the most important primary policies for lawn care services to carry…
And since the size, scope, and maintenance practices of lawn care services can vary, each of these policies can be altered until it fits your business like a glove. Read on to learn more about these coverages and how they can work together to protect your business.
Solid Foundations: General Liability Insurance for Lawn Care Services
General Liability Insurance for Lawn Care Services helps business owners like you steel their assets from prickly third-party claims including personal injury, bodily injury, and property damage. Here are a few examples of what these claims might look like for your lawn care service…
- You are spraying pesticides over a client's lawn, and don't notice a stray cat in the flowerbed until it's too late. Only it's not a stray - it's the homeowner's, and he sues for property damage when the cat gets sick from the lawn treatment.
- One of your employees is unloading the aerator from the trailer and, in the process, loses control and damages the property owner's car, which is parked nearby.
- You stick promotional fliers in the mailboxes of residential homes that show a "before" and "after" photo of a lawn you serviced. The property owner of that lawn decides to sue because you did not ask permission to use the photographs.
There are two important things to remember about General Liability Insurance. The first is that it travels with you wherever you go - whether the incident happens at your shop or at a client's. The second is that this coverage will help you pay for legal costs, settlements, and more, even if the claim is ungrounded.
Property Insurance for Lawn Care Professionals
As a lawn care professional, you can't do your job without your lawn-care equipment: spray agitators and tanks, aerators, sod lifters, and spreaders, just to name a few. There's a good chance you've invested a lot money in your equipment, and perhaps you acquired the best machinery over the course of years. Property Insurance ensures that all of that will not be lost if and when a devastating event befalls your business.
Property Insurance protects your property - tools, buildings, equipment, and inventory - in the event of three common property-damaging dangers…
- Fire. Your pesticide storage facility catches fire and explodes, which eats up most of your chemical inventory and the building.
- Theft. Someone steals sod from the pallets in the front yard while you work on a client's lawn in the back.
- Wind damage. A tree falls over in a storm and lands on two of your riding lawnmowers.
Depending on which Property Insurance coverage you chose, you'll either be able to replace your damaged property for its current cost (full-replacement coverage) or for its depreciated value (cash-value coverage).
How a Business Owner's Policy Can Save Lawn Care Professionals Money
Many lawn care professionals can qualify to save money with a Business Owner's Policy. This type of coverage is referred to as a "package policy" because it combines two primary policies - General Liability Insurance and Property Insurance - into one.
So how can it save you money?
In order to qualify for a Business Owner's Policy, your insurer must consider you low-risk for GLI and PI claims. If it's unlikely that you will face a claim, and thus unlikely that your insurer will pay out on one, a BOP can offer you coverage at a discount rate.
To find out whether you're eligible to purchase a Business Owner's Policy, contact an insureon agent.
Commercial Auto Insurance: Helping Lawn Care Service Businesses Protect Their Vehicles
Almost all lawn care service businesses own business vehicles, which means almost all lawn care service businesses require a Commercial Auto Insurance policy. How would you haul you aerators and spreaders without your trailer? Or how would you transport your hoses and mobile spray equipment without your company van?
Every vehicle that you use for business needs to be insured with a Commercial Auto policy. This coverage helps pay for things like medical bills, vehicle repair, and legal costs in the event that you or an employee…
- Causes or falls victim to an auto accident.
- Collides with a stationary object, like a guardrail or tree.
- Reports vandalism or the theft of a vehicle.
- Experiences vehicle damage due to a natural disaster.
Note that Commercial Auto Insurance only protects your vehicle and the people traveling inside it - not the property that you may be transporting in it. However, you can purchase Inland Marine Insurance to protect your property as it travels.
Workers' Compensation Insurance: Protecting Lawn Care Professionals & Their Employees
Workers' Compensation Insurance is a vital part of your insurance plan because lawn care professionals often face a high risker of work-related injuries than professionals in other industries. This is because you and your employees routinely work with hazardous chemicals in the form of pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides, in addition to dangerous equipment, on a daily basis.
According to PLANET, the Professional Landcare Network , the following are among the most common claims filed by lawn care professionals…
- Injuries to new employees.
- Soft tissue injuries (from handling and lifting material).
- Falls from elevation.
Workers' Compensation Insurance helps lawn care business owners pay for the medical costs associated with these injuries, in addition to a portion of the injured employee's lost wages.
It's important to realize that this coverage is regulated by state laws, and your policy must be in compliance with those requirements. An insureon agent can help you avoid fines by making sure your policy follows the letter of the law.
Boosting Coverage: Umbrella Insurance for Lawn Care Service Businesses
To secure the most effective coverage possible, consider buying an Umbrella Insurance policy. An Umbrella Policy adds extra liability insurance to several of your existing policies - including General Liability Insurance and Commercial Auto Insurance - for an affordable monthly rate. In fact, $1 million in extra protection will only run you a few hundred dollars each year.
Sometimes small businesses face big lawsuits, ones that cost more than a primary policy can pay for. In these cases, Umbrella Insurance can make up the difference so you don't have to dip into other assets, like your personal bank account.