Chimney sweeps inspect, clean, and repair residential and commercial chimneys. Chimney sweeping involves a detailed and sometimes dangerous process that must be completed carefully to avoid causing damage to the home or building, and to avoid injuring bystanders or workers.
If something goes wrong, the consequences can be devastating. That’s why you need chimney sweep insurance to help you mitigate your risks and protect your business.
Why Do You Need Chimney Sweeper Insurance?
Chimney sweeping involves climbing ladders and scaffolding, cramped spaces, and inspecting the structural elements of a chimney, among other dangerous activities, while you perform your very specialized work to the satisfaction of your clients. Meanwhile, you’re working on someone else’s property, exposing not only your business and your employees to dangers, but your clients too.
Chimney sweeper insurance protects your business from risk exposures. If, for example, you cause damage to a client's property, it could cost you thousands of dollars in damages. If someone sues you after you cause an injury or property damage, you’d be responsible for covering the cost of any medical expenses or property repairs. What’s more, you’d have to pay for your own legal fees. A lawsuit could financially devastate your business and even result in bankruptcy.
In addition, you face property losses (losses to tools, equipment, and other valuable commercial property) from a variety of sources, including fire, theft, severe weather, and vandalism.
That’s why you need chimney sweep insurance — to protect you when costly problems arise.
When you work with an experienced independent insurance agent, he or she can find insurance companies who specialize in covering chimney sweep businesses. You likely need a variety of property and liability insurance policies in order to be sure that you are protected.
Liability Insurance for Chimney Sweepers
Chimney sweepers must carry commercial general liability insurance. It protects you against any third-party injuries or property damage that may occur. If, for example, a vendor slips and falls while delivering supplies to your business, your insurance will cover the cost of any related medical care, as well as any legal costs that may arise if the person sues you.
You face a variety of other liability risks as well. The equipment you use to clean chimneys may present an attractive nuisance to children, leaving you susceptible to lawsuits if injuries occur. And the process of cleaning a chimney can result in property damage from soot and creosote entering the residence or building, causing damage and even an illness risk.
You also have “completed operations” exposures that are covered by your CGL policy. This includes things like fire or carbon monoxide poisoning that occurs if your cleaning results in a blocked chimney.
CGL insurance protects you from having to pay out of pocket for damages or legal fees if your services happen to cause damage to any of the homes or businesses you work on. It offers broad protection for a wide variety of negligence claims and lawsuits.
Some clients may require proof that you have CGL coverage before they will work with you.
Your chimney sweep insurance package may contain the following additional types of liability coverage as well:
- Cyber liability insurance: This provides coverage in the event of a data breach involving your business. It helps pay for the costs of notifying affected clients, as well as public relations and investigation costs, and more.
- Commercial umbrella insurance: This is also known as excess liability coverage, providing supplemental liability protection beyond the limits of certain other liability policies. This policy can be invaluable for that once-in-a-lifetime judgment rendered against you.
- Employment practices liability insurance: This covers you if an employee sues you for discriminatory employment practices.
Property Insurance for Chimney Sweepers
Chimney sweepers need several types of property insurance to protect against property losses.
You likely have owned or leased office space or warehouse space where you perform administrative tasks and store all of your equipment, supplies, and stock of chimney caps and masonry supplies. Your physical space likely serves as a home base for your employees. It may be filled with valuable furniture, computer equipment, and other commercial property that is susceptible to theft, vandalism, fires, storms, and certain other causes of loss.
Commercial property insurance: This protects buildings and their contents, including computers, office equipment, furniture, and all of your commercial property (whether it is owned or leased) if it is damaged by fire, smoke, theft, vandalism, or some other covered peril. If, for example, someone vandalizes the outside of your building and breaks in and steals tools and equipment, your commercial property policy will help to pay for the repairs to your building as well as the cost of replacing and stolen or damaged property.
If you sustain damage that forces you to temporarily close or relocate, business interruption coverage will reimburse you for ongoing expenses (rent, salaries, etc.) and lost income during the closure or relocation period.
You may also need additional property coverage for your business. Talk to your independent insurance agent about your need for the following.
- Flood or hurricane insurance: Your basic commercial property policy does not cover flood or hurricane damage. Talk to your agent about flood and hurricane insurance if you live in an area that is prone to these events.
- Employee crime and dishonesty coverage: This protects your business from the costs of theft, dishonesty, and fraudulent acts committed by an individual employee or a group of employees. It provides coverage for forgery, alteration, theft, unauthorized electronic funds transfers, credit card fraud, computer fraud, money order fraud, and counterfeit fraud.
- Inland marine insurance: This covers tools, equipment, and supplies while they are in transit. And if any of your tools are stolen from a jobsite, inland marine insurance will cover the cost of replacing the tools.
Commercial Auto Insurance for Chimney Sweeps
Your work crews travel from jobsite to jobsite in commercial vehicles owned by your business. Your commercial vehicles must be covered with commercial auto insurance. If one of your drivers causes an accident, it covers bodily injury and property damage that the driver is at fault for.
Commercial vehicle insurance for chimney sweeps covers your cars, trucks, and any other vehicles you use for business. In addition to liability coverage, it provides collision, comprehensive, and uninsured motorist coverage.
Your commercial auto insurance can be tailored to your needs, and your coverage and premiums will be based on how your vehicles are used and who drives them. Each vehicle owned by your business or used for business purposes can be listed separately on your business auto policy, with corresponding coverage for each vehicle that can differ depending on the vehicle’s characteristics and the coverage it requires.
If you have employees who drive personal vehicles for business purposes, talk to your insurance agent about your need for non-owned auto liability insurance.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Chimney Sweepers
Accidents involving your workers can happen at any time. They work on scaffolding and ladders and inhale dust, soot, and creosote, and they use a variety of tools and equipment in awkward, unsafe positions. They can also encounter wildlife nesting in chimneys, insect bites, and a variety of other work-related injuries.
If one of your employees gets injured while on the job, you’re responsible for paying for his or her medical expenses. What’s more, he or she may not be able to work until fully recovered, leaving the employee without his or her income.
Workers’ compensation insurance protects your employees and your business from the costs associated with work-related injuries and illnesses. It provides coverage for medical care and income protection for an injured worker while he or she is unable to work. Workers’ compensation insurance also helps protect employers from lawsuits by injured employees.
Each state has workers’ compensation insurance laws. Most states require nearly every business that has employees to provide this coverage. Your state’s workers’ compensation statutes determine the amount of benefits injured workers are entitled to, which impairments or injuries are covered, how those impairments will be evaluated, and how medical care will be delivered.
How Much Does Chimney Sweeper Insurance Cost?
Your costs for chimney sweep insurance will vary depending on the unique characteristics of your business, such as the location, the number of employees, the value of your commercial property (building plus contents), whether or not you own your building, and how many vans or commercial vehicles you own and operate.
Chimney sweep insurance could cost several thousand dollars per year or more. The amount of coverage you need and the deductibles you choose also impact your insurance costs.
Find and Compare Quotes
An independent insurance agent can work with you one-on-one to determine the types and amounts of coverage you need. Your agent can get quotes from multiple insurance companies so you can evaluate the cost and coverage options and make the best choice.
Benefits of an Independent Agent
Our agents simplify the search process for finding the right chimney sweep insurance. They’ll walk you through the handpicked policy options and explain the details and options.
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 a TrustedChoice.com independent insurance agent now, and get a one-on-one consultation and affordable options for the best coverage for your unique needs.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
©2020, Consumer Agent Portal, LLC. All rights reserved.