Beautiful flowers, perky veggie seedlings, and the sweet smell of loamy soil — there’s a lot to love about plant nurseries. Your customers are counting on you for their garden needs and you’re counting on their business. Small business insurance is the definitive way to keep your doors open through frost, fire, hail, and more.
If disaster strikes, insurance is there to help you reopen faster. Here’s everything retail plant nursery owners need to know about small business insurance — and how independent insurance agents make the process of getting it easier than ever.
Small Business Insurance for Plant Nurseries: What You Need to Know
Retail plant nurseries need small business insurance. But small business coverage isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, it's more like a blend of different types of coverage designed just for your business.
An independent insurance agent can match you with companies that are already experienced in insuring plant nurseries. They may even offer pre-made plant nursery insurance packages, making shopping for insurance a snap.
Here are the types of coverage you’re likely to encounter while shopping for plant nursery insurance.
The Four Major Building Blocks of Small Business Insurance
All small businesses, no matter their niche, need to consider buying business liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and commercial auto insurance. If you have employees, then you also need to buy workers' compensation insurance.
Not having these types of coverage can spell disaster and even drive your business into bankruptcy. Here’s how they work:
- This covers the cost of legal representation and any damages if your business is sued. Lawsuits are one of the biggest threats small businesses face and a frivolous lawsuit can easily drive you out of business. Business liability insurance ensures you can afford to fight the case.
- This covers your business’s buildings, equipment, and inventory from theft, vandalism, fire, and other disasters. If these things are damaged or destroyed, commercial property insurance pays to replace them so you can reopen as soon as possible.
- Personal car insurance policies will not pay for accidents that happen while you’re using a vehicle for business. If you or your employees are driving a vehicle on behalf of the plant nursery — to deliver plants to customers, for example — then you need commercial auto insurance to be fully covered. Don’t drive for business without it.
- Workers' compensation pays for medical care and related expenses for employees injured on the job. Plant nursery employees may be regularly required to lift heavy items or work with hazardous chemicals, so workers' compensation is especially important. Workers' compensation requirements vary widely from state to state. An independent insurance agent can help you navigate the specific requirements your business needs to meet.
Coverage Boosters: Inland Marine Insurance, Umbrella Insurance, and Business Income Insurance
These four types of insurance fill in common gaps in small business coverage. They make your insurance more thorough and effective. Here’s what they’re for and how they work:
- Inland marine insurance: A type of insurance designed to cover things that are otherwise hard to insure, especially equipment or inventory that moves around and is exposed to extra risk. For example, if your plant nursery uses mowers, weed whackers, or similar equipment to provide services to clients, you’ll need inland marine insurance.
- Umbrella insurance: A “bonus” insurance type, typically very cheap, that covers any extra costs if you exceed the limit of your other business insurance policies. For example, if you fight a high-profile legal case that costs more than what your business liability insurance will cover on its own, umbrella insurance kicks in to pay the difference.
- Business income insurance: Also called “business interruption insurance,” this type reimburses you for lost income if your business has to close temporarily after a disaster. If your plant nursery business is your primary source of income, this type of insurance helps you avoid bankruptcy during a long interruption.
The Nitty-Gritty: Specialized Business Insurance Just for Plant Nurseries
The following types of coverage are more fringe than the others, but they’re crucial for plant nursery owners to consider:
- Environmental liability coverage: Covers legal damages if your business’s fertilizers or other potentially hazardous materials leach into the environment. Cleaning up your mess is the right thing to do, and environmental liability coverage helps you afford to do it.
- Processor’s floater or bailee’s policy: A processor’s floater and a bailee’s policy are two different types of insurance with nearly identical purposes. Both cover your customers’ items while you’re storing them. If you run a pre-order program for your customers, and a fire or other disaster destroys their plants, these types of insurance coverage will pay to refund your customers.
- Peak season endorsement: Plant nurseries are typically seasonal businesses, experiencing their highest volume of business in spring and summer. Peak season endorsements allow you to increase your insurance coverage during peak seasons without having to pay higher premiums year round. A peak season endorsement can be added to your commercial property insurance.
Cyber Insurance: Why It’s Growing in Importance for Retail Stores
Cyber insurance is a relatively new type of insurance that covers incidents of hacking or other malicious online activity. If your system is hacked and your customers’ credit card information (or other sensitive information) is exposed, then you could be on the hook for a lot of damages.
Cyber insurance will pay to replace customer credit cards and make them whole for any other damage they might have experienced as a result of the hack. Many cyber insurance policies also include access to cybersecurity experts who can help you design more secure systems to prevent a hack from happening in the first place.
Even if your business is low-tech, if you’re dealing with credit cards, you need to consider cyber insurance.
How Much Does Plant Nursery Insurance Cost?
The cost of any business insurance depends on the value of your business and the unique risks it faces. Factors that will affect the cost of retail plant nursery insurance include:
- Your location, especially its crime rate and natural disaster risks
- The value of your inventory
- The value of your equipment
- Whether or not you operate special company vehicles (e.g. delivery trucks)
- Whether or not you provide landscaping or other services in addition to selling plants
- How many employees you have
Small business insurance for a plant nursery will cost at least several thousand dollars per year, spread out over monthly, quarterly, or yearly payments (called premiums). A chain of nurseries, or a particularly large business, will pay significantly more.
Plant Nursery Insurance Discounts
All insurance is based on educated guesses about risks. The insurance company calculates the risk of you making a claim and decides how much they’ll need to charge you in premiums to offset those risks. This means that anything you do to minimize risk can also discount the cost of your premiums.
Here are a few easy ways to make your plant nursery business safer and potentially lower the cost of insurance:
- Install sprinklers and take other fire prevention measures.
- Install a burglar alarm, security cameras, and other loss prevention equipment.
- Take steps to shield plants from the elements, reducing the risk of frost, hail, or wind damage wherever you can.
- Maintain stringent safety standards; ensure all your employees are well-trained and keep customers out of hazardous areas.
- Use all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), especially when working with hazardous materials
- Make sure that anyone who drives on behalf of your business has an excellent driving record and do spot-checks to make sure they’re driving safely.
An independent insurance agent can help you find even more discounts. Many insurance companies offer trainings and other resources to help business owners to improve safety. Taking advantage of these resources can also reduce your insurance costs.
How to Buy Plant Nursery Insurance, Step-by-Step
It’s easier to buy small business insurance than you might think. The process goes like this:
- Unlike captive agents who are bound to work for only one company, independent insurance agents will help you shop between multiple companies so you can get the deal you actually want — not just the best deal one company offers.
- With the help of your independent insurance agent, you’ll fill out at least one application and possibly multiple. You’ll answer questions about your business’s value, risks and more, so the insurance company knows what coverage it can offer you and what price to charge.
- After filling out your application(s), insurance companies will get back to you with offers of coverage, called quotes. Don’t go for the lowest price right away — it’s important to make sure your coverage is thorough and a good match for your business. Your independent insurance agent can help you decide.
- Sign on the dotted line and congratulations, you’re insured!
Once you’re covered, you can run your business with confidence, knowing you won’t be left high and dry if disaster strikes. Be sure to stay in touch with your independent insurance agent afterward too. They can help you update your coverage as your business grows, keeping the insurance part running smoothly so you don’t have to.
Why Online Quotes Aren’t Always the Best Way to Shop
Getting your insurance quotes online can be tempting. Sure, it’s fast and easy, but are the quotes you're getting actually accurate? And are you getting quotes for all the different types of coverage your business needs?
Online quotes cannot give you the whole picture. They often omit important coverage, which may result in you being unable to get compensation if something disastrous happens. And they can leave out cost-saving opportunities such as discounts and bundling opportunities that an independent agent can help you take advantage of.
Instead of getting an online quote, find an independent insurance agent near you, and schedule a one-on-one consultation to discuss your options for the best coverage for your nursery.
How Independent Insurance Agents Can Take Your Small Business to the Next Level
Independent insurance agents are small business owners just like you. They’re industry experts who handle the red tape for you, so you can focus on running your business. They’ll help you through every step of your insurance application. After you buy insurance, they can even help you file claims if disaster strikes, making a tough time for your business a little smoother.
Shopping for small business insurance with an independent insurance agent is shopping smart. Period.