As a landscaping contractor, or other landscaping business, choosing the right insurance is important to keep you and your employees covered. A Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) is a good place to start with the insurance coverage most small businesses need. With that said, there are also some other insurance plans you should also consider for your landscaping company.
What type of insurance does a landscaper need?
Let’s start with the Business Owner’s Policy. BOP insurance typically includes general liability, commercial property insurance, and business income insurance.
General Liability Insurance
This is insurance coverage every business should carry—including arborists, lawn care companies, and other landscaping businesses. This is coverage that will protect your business from bodily injury claims and property damage caused to a customer’s property by something you’ve installed, damage caused during excavation like clipping an unmarked waterline or unmarked electrical line, or other injury or damage caused during the course of a project (provided it’s not due to professional negligence). You can read more about general liability insurance here.
Commercial Property Insurance
The property where your company does business also needs protection, and that’s what commercial property insurance does. Should you experience property damage or theft, this policy will reimburse you for your loss. This coverage includes damage caused by natural disasters like fires, but may not include damage caused by earthquakes or floods, so be sure to see what your policy covers, as you may need an add-on for these.
Note that a commercial property policy will not likely cover personal property.
Business Income Insurance
What would you do if your business burned to the ground or some other natural disaster prevented you from conducting business as usual? The COVID-19 pandemic impacted a lot of landscaping businesses in 2020, for example. You could lose thousands of dollars in revenue while you rebuild.
That’s where business income insurance coverage pays off. Also called business interruption coverage, it pays for the loss of income you might experience while rebuilding after a disaster.
In addition to what’s typically included in a BOP plan, a landscape contractor (or even a small lawn care company) should consider some of the other insurance coverages available to small businesses.
Professional Liability Insurance
Although general liability insurance doesn’t cover any claim due to professional negligence, professional liability insurance does. Mistakes happen in businesses every day, including potentially costly mistakes. Professional liability insurance covers mistakes that can have a financial impact on any project.
Professional liability insurance doesn’t usually cover the cost of rework, but just the liability of the error. You can read more about professional liability insurance here.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Most states require workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance protects the workers from lost wages and medical expenses due to on-the-job injuries and protects you from potential lawsuits related to those injuries. Because of the pesticides, herbicides, mowers and other equipment if not used correctly, there is some risk to employees working with these things. Make sure your business and your employees are covered with adequate workers’ compensation insurance, should something happen, is on the top of your list.
Depending on the state you’re in, workers’ comp could be available through a marketplace of private carriers or run exclusively by the state. You’ll need to check with the state you’re in to see what’s available to you.
You can read more about workers’ compensation insurance here.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Because most landscape businesses work on location, the use of vehicles during the course of business, whether they be automobiles, pickup trucks, or larger commercial vehicles, need commercial auto insurance. Even as a sole proprietor, if you use your personal vehicle for business purposes, relying on your personal auto insurance could create a gap in coverage. This is also true of employees that drive your company vehicles or their personal vehicles.
Basically, if it needs to be licensed to operate on the roads where you do business, you should purchase commercial auto insurance for your vehicles. This includes cars, trucks, dump trucks, or other vehicles. You can read more about commercial auto insurance here.
Inland Marine Insurance
Most lawn care businesses and other landscape companies move mowers and other landscaping tools from jobsite to jobsite. General liability insurance covers property while at the worksite. Inland marine insurance provides coverage as equipment is in transit from one job to another.
Why do landscapers need to be insured?
There are a number of reasons why a landscape contractor might need insurance. Like most small businesses, there are potential risks to that need to be considered. Here are a few that might make it necessary for insurance coverage.
- A client or employee was injured by falling into a trench, hit by a falling tree branch during pruning, or injured by a large rock being placed into a retaining wall. This could take place during a client inspection or an employee could be injured while on the job. Depending on the circumstance and who was injured, a general liability policy, professional liability policy, or even workers compensation insurance might be needed.
- While mowing an overgrown client’s lawn, a worker could damage sprinkler heads or otherwise damage the clients property. Your general liability policy would make it possible to make the repair without cost to you or your client.
- A new sprinkler system your company installed could cause flooding that damaged the client’s property or home. Professional liability insurance would cover the costs associated with fixing the damage to your client’s property.
- If a client refuses to pay a bill as agreed upon, a business interruption insurance policy will help you keep your business afloat until you are able to either get paid by the client or obtain some kind of court settlement.
How do I get landscaping insurance?
Fortunately you have options. There are a number of insurance companies that offer the collection of policies you will need in one place. Or, an independent insurance agent can help you pick the policies that will best meet your needs from multiple carriers. Additionally, there are online insurance marketplaces that can help you find the insurance policy suited to what your landscaping business needs.