Landscaping provides more value than just a better view for homeowners or business owners. In fact, studies show that well-designed landscaping can help protect water quality, improve air quality, and even lower crime rates. A study in a recent editon of Smart Money Magazine showed that the average homebuyer values a well-landscaped home 11.3% more than it's base price. From a real estate perspective, landscaping investments are nearly always recouped when a home is sold, and good landscaping design can greatly reduce the time a home is on the market.
As a landscaper, owner of a landscaping company, or lawn care provider, you take great care to create, plan and maintain a beautiful outdoor environment. The same care should be taken to make sure your business is protected against the risks of your trade. The right landscaping insurance can help ensure that your business will continue to thrive after unforeseen accidents, injury or property damage.
Landscapers and lawn care companies require a general liability policy that provides the following coverage:
A business owners insurance policy, also called a BOP, is designed for small businesses with less than $5 million in sales and no more than 100 employees. It includes a group of coverages that meet the needs of a small business owner.
Here's an overview of the basics contained in the policy. Keep in mind you can add additional coverage, if needed.
A tools and equipment floater may be needed, since you work with specialized equipment that is expensive to replace. Also, if you are a sole proprietor and do not employ other workers or have business property other than your vehicle, you may be able to drop some of these coverages and just carry general liability. These two items are good to discuss with your insurance agent.
Normally, workers compensation is a state-mandated coverage. If you have employees, your state most likely will require you to carry a policy. In some states, all business owners must carry workers compensation for their own protection, even if they do not hire employees.
Workers comp covers your employees in the event of job-related illness, injury or death. The policy includes medical and diagnostic expenses for treatment and pays a portion of the employee's wages if they cannot return to work.
In most states you are not required to carry this coverage if you are self-employed and the only worker in your business. In that case, you can choose to have workers compensation or decline coverage, however it can be a very valuable coverage to have if you suffer a work-related injury or sickness.
As a landscaper or lawn care provider, you most likely spend a lot of time in your vehicle traveling to different jobs. When you drive, you are at risk of a commercial vehicle accident during the course of business. Your personal auto policy will most likely not provide coverageif you're using your personal vehicle for commercial use. Make sure you have all your cars, vans, trucks and trailers insured with a commercial vehicle policy. Any vehicles you use for business purposes can be added to this policy.
An independent agent in your area can help you design a customized commercial vehicle policy that can protect one or more of your landscaping vehicles.
General liability, business owners policies, workers compensation and commercial vehicle coverage are the keys to a well-maintained risk management plan for your landscaping or lawn care business. While these are pretty straightforward coverage options, it's important to consider that the process of finding the right coverage to protect you might not be so simple.
Researching insurance options that fit your needs and budget is a process you shouldn't take lightly. Understanding how much your business is worth and what kind of legal issues you could face are both things you can discuss with an insurance agent or a lawyer before you buy a policy. When you shop smart, you'll get the coverage you need to go about your business confidently.