Scaffolding services are construction specialists that erect temporary scaffolds or staging used to support work crews and materials in the construction, maintenance, and repair of a variety of structures.
Scaffolding services face a unique set of business risks. While you do everything you can to ensure the safety and proper installation of the scaffolding you erect, sometimes the worst situations just can't be avoided. What’s more, you face a lot of other business risks as well.
You need a comprehensive business insurance program tailored for scaffolding services if you want to protect your business assets when you’re faced with a loss. What’s more, coverage can be difficult to find for some scaffolding services. A local independent insurance agent can help you find the coverage you need from insurers who specialize in businesses like yours.
Why Do You Need Scaffolding Service Insurance?
Scaffolding is an integral part of the construction industry. These temporary platforms allow workers to repair, renovate, clean, and build structures. Despite rigid guidelines and standards for how scaffolding is built, used, and maintained, accidents still happen. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 65% of construction projects in the United States involve the use of scaffolding by an estimated 2.3 million workers. What’s more, every year in the US, 4,500 injuries are sustained in scaffolding-related accidents.
Most scaffolding-related accidents involve injuries to construction workers when a plank or a supporting fixture gives way, an employee slips and falls, or an employee is struck by a falling object. Additionally, any scaffolding that is near power lines puts workers at risk for electrocution.
Serious injuries involving scaffolding often involve multiple injured parties and result in significant settlements or jury awards. If you were faced with such a situation, how would you pay for your legal fees and the financial payouts to the injured parties?
Scaffolding services need business insurance to protect everything that’s important. You face a serious risk for lawsuits if you cause property damage or injuries on a jobsite. And your valuable property (tools, equipment, escalator parts, etc.) can be damaged, destroyed, or stolen from your warehouse or workshop, from job sites, or while they’re in transit.
What’s more, your employees perform risky work and can be seriously injured at any time.
If you want to stay in business after a lawsuit or a significant property loss, you’ve got to have the funds to pay for medical expenses, attorney fees, and repairing or replacing damaged property. You need to protect your businesses from a wide variety of potential losses. While your scaffolding service insurance can’t prevent accidents and property losses from happening, it can protect you after a loss and help you survive for the long-term.
What Does General Liability Insurance Cover?
Scaffolding services need a tailored portfolio of insurance policies and coverage that protect against your unique exposures. Your business is complex and coverage may be hard to find. You need to work with an independent insurance agent that understands your risks and can find insurance companies who specialize in your industry.
The first major building block of scaffolding service insurance is commercial general liability (CGL) insurance. It is essential to protect you from the risk of negligence claims (claims that you’ve caused bodily injury or property damage to third parties) and related lawsuits.
Commercial general liability insurance provides coverage for many of the liability exposures you face as a scaffolding service. It pays for medical expenses and property damage for third-party injuries, and property damage caused by you or your employees while performing scaffolding installation, repair, or maintenance work.
CGL policies also usually include products-completed operations liability insurance that responds if you’re sued because scaffolding that you have installed is faulty and causes injuries to others. Completed operations insurance covers a contractor's liability for property damage or injuries to a third party once contracted operations cease (e.g., injuries related to poor or faulty installation, collapse, etc.). Contractors and manufacturers typically purchase additional or separate policies in amounts that have higher limits than what is provided in the CGL policy.
Products-completed operations insurance helps scaffolding services settle claims while maintaining their financial stability. It can protect against breach of contract and negligence claims, and ensures reasonable compensation for damage or injuries resulting from your work or your products. It also pays for your legal fees and financial settlements to the injured parties.
You’re likely to need proof of CGL coverage in order to be licensed by your state, as well as in order to submit bids and be chosen for work on any projects.
If a general contractor hires you as a subcontractor, they are likely to require that you add them to your liability insurance policy as an additional insured for the duration of the particular job. And if you hire subcontractors to work for you, you’ll want to ask them to add you to their coverage. This ensures that adequate coverage is in place throughout the project regardless of who performs the work.
What Other Liability Policies Do Scaffolding Services Need?
You’ll also need some other types of liability insurance to protect your scaffolding service.
- Commercial auto insurance: Your business probably owns a van, truck, or a fleet of vehicles used to transport tools, equipment, and supplies to and from worksites. Heavy vehicles are even more capable of causing accidents and injuring others than other types of vehicles. Commercial auto insurance covers your owned vehicles and drivers in the event of an accident or other vehicle damage that occurs. It provides coverage for property damage and bodily injury liability claims, vehicle damage, and medical bills, as well as any costs related to lawsuits due to auto accidents involving your vehicles.
- Employment practices liability insurance: This is a special liability policy that shields your business from large financial losses if a current or former employee sues you for a perceived illegal business practice, such as breach of contract, discrimination, or wrongful termination.
- Commercial umbrella insurance: Provides an extra layer of liability protection to any of several other liability policies you might have. Commercial umbrella insurance kicks in when the limits of your other applicable insurance policies have been exhausted, protecting you in the event that a claim exceeds the amount of coverage available from any other applicable policy. Adding an umbrella policy to your scaffolding service insurance portfolio helps you gain additional liability coverage for all of your policies, rather than spending more to increase the liability limits on several policies individually.
What Does Property Insurance Cover?
You probably have and use a lot of tools and equipment that can be very expensive to replace. You will therefore want to be sure that your scaffolding service insurance includes coverage against damage to, and theft of, your commercial property.
Commercial property insurance covers things that are on your business premises, such as items in your office space, warehouse, or shop. It helps you pay to repair or replace buildings and other items that are damaged by things like fire, weather, smoke, theft, and vandalism.
You’ll also need business interruption coverage as part of your property insurance. It reimburses you for lost income and helps pay for certain ongoing expenses if you are temporarily unable to operate due to a covered loss (fire, storm, etc.).
What’s more, scaffolding services usually have most of their valuable property in transit and at job sites.
Inland marine insurance protects your equipment, tools, scaffolding parts, and other supplies from theft, loss, or damage while they are in transit to and from worksites, such as in your work trucks. It is especially important if you store your tools and equipment in your truck or another vehicle.
Consider adding an installation floater to your property coverage, which protects materials that are left at a job site to be installed but are damaged before you can do it. If you drop off scaffolding parts to be erected but find them vandalized and broken the next morning, an installation floater is likely to cover your losses.
A tools and equipment floater can normally be added to your property damage coverage, as well. It covers any leased or owned specialized tools and equipment for your scaffolding service while they’re stored on the construction site. It can offer coverage for tools like hand tools, power tools, contractors’ gear (hard hats, goggles, etc.), shovels, and wheelbarrows. It can also cover equipment like compressors, generators, excavators, backhoes, and other equipment that you use to erect scaffolding.
Why Do You Need Worker's Compensation Insurance?
Scaffolding service employees often work in dangerous conditions. They are frequently exposed to falling from heights, electrocution, and other dangers. Your employees must lift and carry heavy equipment, tools, and parts, and may be exposed to muscle strains, crush injuries, and a variety of other work-related injuries. While workers are often required to wear hardhats, goggles, and other safety equipment, accidents and injuries still happen to your employees.
That’s why you need worker's compensation insurance. It provides coverage for medical expenses and lost wages for injured workers. Business owners are required to carry worker's compensation insurance to protect their employees, but specific coverage requirements vary by state.
What Are Contractors Bonds and Do You Need them?
You might need a variety of contractors bonds, or surety bonds, depending on the size and scope of the projects that you work on. Bonds are very important for any contractors who work on commercial or municipal construction sites.
Contractors bonds can be essential for finding, securing, and performing work. They are typically used to guarantee some aspect of the bidding process or building project and ensure the project owner that you are fully licensed, insured, and prepared to complete the project as promised.
Every type of bond is unique and tailored to a specific project. While you may not need them for every residential job, you should know what they are and be prepared to obtain them if required.
How Much Does Scaffolding Service Insurance Cost?
Insurance for a scaffolding services can range from several hundred dollars per month to thousands. The costs to insure your individual business will depend on the size of your operation, as well as a variety of individual risk factors, including:
- The size of your business
- The location of your shop and any other buildings that you own or operate out of (office space, warehouse space)
- The number of employees
- The types of tools, machines, and specialized equipment that you have
- How many trucks and drivers you have (if applicable)
- The size and scope of the projects you take on
- The value of the inventory and other property you keep on your premises
- The types of coverage and amount of coverage that you need
Ultimately the types and amounts of coverage you need to adequately cover your risks will dictate the cost of your coverage.
Benefits of an Independent Agent
Independent insurance agents simplify the search process for finding the right scaffolding service insurance. They’ll walk you through some handpicked policy options and explain the details.
Most importantly, they’ll be there for you when claim time comes. They know the ins and outs of the process and will make sure your claim is handled appropriately.
The Lowdown on Online Quotes
Online quotes can be tempting. They are fast and easy to get—but are they accurate? And are you getting quotes for the right coverage? For business owners, choosing speed over accuracy can cost you.
Online quotes can’t and don’t see the whole picture. They can leave out important coverage that will leave you devastated if something unexpected happens. And they can leave out cost-saving opportunities that an agent can help you take advantage of.
Instead of getting an online quote, find an independent insurance agent now, and get one-on-one consultation and affordable options for the best coverage for your unique needs.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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