Tree service companies are part of the landscaping services industry. If you own a tree service, you likely engage in tree trimming, pruning, and planting, as well as lot clearing services and tree health assessments for residential and commercial customers. Tree services need various types of business insurance to help protect against their business risks.
Investing in tree service insurance means first assessing your risks and determining where you have exposures. Then, you need to determine if you have the means to recover if you had a loss.
An independent insurance agent in your city can help you find customized business insurance solutions that help you protect your livelihood.
Why Do You Need Tree Service Insurance?
Your business is exposed to a variety of unique risks. You help your customers beautify their outdoor spaces by planting, pruning, trimming, and in some cases removing trees. You likely employ certified arborists who ensure that your work is done safely and is compliant with local codes and that the trees that are placed are healthy and appropriate for the environment.
If you experienced a storm, fire, or theft that destroyed your tools and equipment, could you survive the loss? What if a client sued you because an employee caused an injury or property damage? Could you adequately compensate an employee who was injured on the job?
Tree services need insurance protection for:
- Loss of inventory (trees or other shrubs and plants)
- Destruction, loss, theft, or breakdown of buildings, equipment, tools, and other commercial property
- Property damage or injuries that result from one of your products or your operations
- Employee injuries
- Auto accidents involving your vehicle fleet
For these reasons, and because of many other unfortunate circumstances that can occur, you need tree service insurance to protect your assets.
What Does Property Insurance Cover?
Commercial property insurance protects your business in the event of a loss due to a covered peril (e.g., fire, theft, vandalism, or storm). It can help you replace equipment, make repairs to your office, shop, or storage facility, and replace damaged property including your tree service equipment and supplies.
You’ll likely need to purchase property insurance that is specifically designed for businesses in the agricultural or horticultural industry. Your commercial property insurance should cover your buildings, greenhouses, equipment, and inventory when they are damaged by fire, severe weather, vandalism, and certain other unexpected events.
What’s more, your commercial property insurance should include spoilage coverage, which protects against the loss of perishable products due to an equipment breakdown (e.g., refrigeration breakdown) or a utility interruption (breakdown of power or communication services).
You likely also need equipment breakdown coverage, which covers loss of income and repair costs when your essential equipment, such as refrigeration equipment, boilers, generators, irrigation equipment, and so on, breaks down and hinders your ability to operate or function.
Finally, your property insurance should include business interruption insurance, which reimburses you for lost income and pays for certain fixed expenses (salaries, rents, etc.) if a covered event (e.g., fire, windstorm, hail) forces you to close to make repairs and replace lost inventory.
What Does Tree Service Liability Insurance Cover?
Tree services face several areas where they may be accused of negligence. These are typically cases where someone is harmed on your premises or by your workers on a job site, or when your business is responsible for some kind of property damage.
Commercial general liability (CGL) insurance offers broad coverage for a wide range of liability claims. Your liability insurance may need to be further customized to include any unique risks that you face.
In general, your CGL policy will cover:
- Bodily injury claims for which you are responsible
- Property damage claims for which you are responsible
- Products liability and completed operations claims for which you are responsible (bodily injury or property damage caused by your products or your work)
- Personal injury claims or advertising injury claims
If you have a greenhouse or grow your own trees or shrubs for planting on customers’ properties, you have some additional liability risks. Be sure to talk to your independent insurance agent about your need for:
- Chemical drift coverage (chemicals that you spray on plants that you grow can drift to the neighboring area and injure people or cause property damage)
Do You Need Commercial Vehicle Insurance?
Commercial auto insurance is a safeguard against the high costs of auto accidents involving your employees and your commercial vehicles. It can cover any vehicle used to transport employees, products, or equipment, and includes passenger cars, company vans, pickup trucks, trailers, and dump trucks.
Commercial vehicle insurance provides liability, collision, comprehensive, personal injury, and uninsured motorist coverage for your commercial vehicles. While similar to personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance is priced differently and is designed for different situations.
Your commercial auto insurance is based on how your vehicles are used in your business and who will be driving them. Whether or not you lease or own your business autos and whether or not you or your employees will be driving personal vehicles for business purposes also have an impact on what type of business auto coverage you need.
Each vehicle owned by the business or used for business purposes can be listed separately on your commercial vehicle policy, and corresponding coverage for each vehicle can differ depending on the vehicle’s characteristics and the coverage it requires.
What Is Inland Marine Insurance?
Inland marine insurance covers your tools and equipment from loss or damage while in transit. It is often purchased to fill gaps in your property insurance coverage, as it provides necessary coverage if your business assets are lost or damaged while in storage or on the road.
As you know, tree services and other landscapers regularly transport equipment, tools, and supplies to and from job sites, leaving you exposed to accidents and theft. Inland marine coverage will help you replace shrub care equipment, tools, supplies, computer equipment, data and accounts receivable, and mobile equipment like trailers that are lost or damaged while in transit or storage.
Why Is Worker's Compensation Insurance Important for Tree Services?
Worker's compensation insurance provides protection for workers who are injured or become ill on the job. There is no doubt that your business comes with a unique set of risks for your employees, from exposure to the elements to heavy lifting, equipment malfunctions, bee stings, poison ivy, toxic chemicals, repetitive motion injuries, and more.
Most states require employers to carry worker's compensation insurance. Accidents can carry a hefty price tag for small business owners, from medical expenses to court costs and potential settlements, if you don’t have the proper insurance in place. Worker's compensation benefits vary by state, but most programs will cover employee medical expenses and lost wages due to a work-related injury or illness.
Some programs also provide death benefits to an injured worker’s beneficiaries if the worker is killed on the job.
How to Avoid Gaps in Your Tree Service Insurance Coverage
Most tree services will need more coverage than what is included in basic property and liability policies. Your independent insurance agent can help you decide what types of additional coverage you need.
The following types of coverage can help you avoid gaps in your insurance protection:
- Commercial umbrella insurance provides excess liability protection to any of several other policies you might have. If a negligence claim leads to an expensive lawsuit that exceeds the limits of your commercial general liability policy, your commercial umbrella policy kicks in with higher coverage limits.
- Crime coverage protects your business if an employee or a group of employees engage in theft, forgery, or fraud that damages your business.
- Business owners policy (BOP) combines general liability insurance, property insurance, and business interruption insurance so small business owners can purchase comprehensive protection at a more reasonable rate.
- Environmental liability coverage protects companies from the costs associated with damage caused by improperly disposing hazardous waste or causing environmental harm.
- Flood, windstorm, or earthquake coverage may be necessary to protect your business property, depending upon your location.
Tree services might also have a need for employee benefits programs, as well as professional liability insurance and even crop insurance, depending on their operations and the types of services they provide.
How Much Does Tree Service Insurance Cost?
Insurance costs are hard to predict for any business, because every business is unique.
Your costs will depend on the type of coverage you need and the coverage limits you require to adequately protect your commercial property and the liability risks that you face.
Insurance companies who specialize in businesses like yours will evaluate your unique characteristics, including:
- The location of your business
- The amount and value of your commercial property (buildings, vehicles, equipment, machinery, tools, trees/plants/shrubs, and more)
- The number of employees you have
- The crime and weather risks in your area
These factors will determine your cost for coverage.
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 tree service 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 savings 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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