Steeplejack services are specialty trade contractors who provide rigging and lifting services for maintenance and repairs to church steeples and other similar building structures.
Steeplejack work can be dangerous for employees and anyone who is on or near a worksite. What’s more, you can damage property that does not belong to you as you perform your work, and your own property can be damaged at any time as well.
Steeplejack services need business insurance to cover their unique everyday risks both at the jobsite and on your business premises.
An independent insurance agent can help you find comprehensive, flexible, insurance programs that address your unique risks and protect your business for the long term.
Why Do You Need Steeplejack Service Insurance?
Steeeplejacks are specialized tradesmen who scale buildings, chimneys, and church steeples in order to perform repairs and maintenance, including masonry work, general carpentry, painting, roof repair, window cleaning and repair, sandblasting, and other tasks.
Steeplejacks perform their work by erecting ladders, scaffolding, and rope systems to reach and make repairs to what are often very high and hard-to-reach architectural elements. They also use cranes and other lift systems in certain situations. Just a few of the services that steeplejacks may perform using cranes, ropes, ladders, and scaffolding include:
- Church steeple, cathedral dome, and cupola access, repair, restoration, roofing, and painting
- Bell tower repair
- Specialized rigging service
Steeplejacks face unique and complex risks that must be addressed with business insurance. Accidents involving workers are a serious risk. Scaffolding, ladders, or ropes can give way. An employee can slip, fall, or be struck by falling masonry or other objects. Additionally, employees may be working near power lines and at risk for electrocution.
You also face serious risk for lawsuits if you cause property damage or injuries to third parties on a job site. And your valuable property (tools, equipment, parts, etc.) can be damaged, destroyed, or stolen from your warehouse or workshop, from jobsites, or while they’re in transit.
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 steeplejack 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?
Steeplejack 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 steeplejack 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. It pays for medical expenses and property damage for third-party injuries and property damage caused by you or your employees while performing steeple or dome repair or maintenance work.
CGL policies also usually include products-completed operations liability insurance that responds if you’re sued because work that you have done is faulty and causes injuries to others. Completed operations insurance covers your liability for property damage or injuries to a third party once your operations cease (e.g. injuries related to poor or faulty repairs, structural 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 steeplejack services settle claims while maintaining their financial stability. It can protect against breach of contract and negligence claims, and ensures reasonable compensation for damages or injuries resulting from the your work or your products. It also pays for your legal fees and financial settlements to the injured parties.
You’ll likely need proof of CGL coverage in order to be licensed by your state, as well as to be able to submit bids and be chosen for work on any projects.
What Other Liability Policies Do Steeplejack Services Need?
You’ll also need some other types of liability insurance to protect your business.
- Commercial auto insurance: Your business likely owns a van, truck, or a fleet of vehicles used to transport tools, equipment, and supplies to and from installation sites. 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: This 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 steeplejack 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 likely 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 business insurance includes coverage for damage and theft to your commercial property.
Commercial property insurance: This covers things that are on your business premises, such as items at 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.
Business interruption coverage: This is one you’ll also need 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, steeplejacks usually have most of their valuable property in transit and at jobsites. Inland marine insurance protects your equipment, tools, scaffolding, ladders, ropes, 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 left at a job site to be installed but are damaged before you can do it. And 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 while they’re stored at a jobsite.
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Why Do You Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Steeplejacks almost always 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 workers’ compensation insurance. It provides coverage for medical expenses and lost wages for injured workers. Business owners are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees, but specific coverage requirements vary by state.
Do Steeplejack Services Need Crane Insurance?
Steeplejacks often use cranes and other lifts in the course of their work. In these cases, you need a variety of insurance policies to cover your valuable cranes, as well as your liability risks when moving or lifting property that belongs to someone else. Your independent insurance agent can help you determine what types of coverage you need for any crane operations, including the following:
- Crane physical damage coverage: Cranes are expensive, and if one is damaged, it costs a lot to repair or replace it. Crane physical damage coverage covers the value of the crane when it is damaged.
- Auto liability insurance: This covers the crane while it is driving on public roads, just like you’d cover any other type of commercial vehicle that you own.
You may also need riggers liability insurance. It is coverage for the property of others that is on the hook of the crane. If you move machinery that belongs to someone else on a crane, you’re liable for any damage that may occur during the lift.
Riggers liability coverage can be added as an endorsement to your general liability policy, but this may not offer all of the coverage that you need.
Your best bet is to work with an experienced independent insurance agent who understands the ins and outs of the steeplejack business. A knowledgeable agent has access to the right insurance companies and coverage to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
How Much Does Steeplejack Service Insurance Cost?
Insurance for steeplejack services can range from several hundreds of 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, cranes, lifts, 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 all of your commercial property
- 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
Our agents simplify the search process for finding the right steeplejack service insurance. They’ll walk you through the 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 omit 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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