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What landscapers should know about insurance

November 14, 2019 -  By
Person signing papers (Photo: iStock.com/peopleimages)

Photo: iStock.com/peopleimages

No one plans to have an accident on the job, but it’s important to be prepared if and when the worst happens. Insurance can help protect business owners from injury and damage claims — if they have the right coverage. See what type of insurance landscapers need and how they can take full advantage of the provider’s expertise.

Plan options

Nikki Allegretto, underwriter associate at Hiscox Insurance Co., says there are two vital types of insurance for landscapers: general liability and workers’ compensation.

“All business owners should have insurance policies available to pay for accidental injury to third parties and employees,” Allegretto says. “Having first-party coverage for business property is also crucial in the event their business’ equipment is stolen or damaged in an accident.”

In addition to those two, Bill Kampf, general manager at Progressive Insurance says landscapers need property coverage for damage to their building, tools and equipment, as well as an auto policy for their vehicles.

“A standard business owner’s policy or BOP will satisfy the property and general liability coverages, while workers’ compensation and commercial auto policies are typically written on a stand-alone basis,” he says.

There are also several endorsements to the various insurance policies that Kampf says landscapers should consider. For example, cyber coverage helps if contractors keep customer information on their computer and fall victim to a hacking incident.

Employment practices liability is another option that provides coverage, Kampf says, if the owner is sued by an employee for wrongful termination, hiring, harassment or other related law. Another one is hired and non-owned auto coverage, which gives owners coverage if employees use their personal vehicle for business purposes and cause damage to a third party.

Without coverage

If a business doesn’t have the proper insurance coverage, it’ll be responsible to pay for any accident, whether it’s an injury to a person or damage to property, Allegretto says.

“Without proper coverage, a business owner would have to absorb expenses that mount quickly, such as medical bills and legal defense costs,” she says. “If business property is uninsured, the business may lose clients if funds aren’t immediately on hand to replace what was lost.”

Another factor Kampf says owners need to consider is they could be putting their personal assets at risk when there’s a claim that’s uninsured, depending on how the business is structured.

“Having an uninsured or underinsured liability claim could cost your business thousands of dollars — and potentially even put your business at risk,” Kampf says.

Build a relationship

With the day-to-day operations consuming most owners’ time, having an insurance company and/or agent regularly review their policies can be an added value, Kampf says. The agent can assess their specifics (drivers, vehicle values, etc.), make sure everything is up to date and let them know about possible discounts.

“Some businesses may try to reduce coverage or limits to lower a renewal premium, especially in a market where prices are increasing,” Kampf says. “Working closely with an insurance professional will help make you aware of your options, including any discounts or programs that can help lower rates.”

To make sure landscapers are making the most of their relationships with their insurance companies, owners should ask questions and candidly voice concerns, Allegretto says.

“A good insurer will want to know what your concerns are to ensure you’re properly covered and comfortable with your purchase,” Allegretto says. “With a strong understanding of your specific business needs, insurers can assess where your primary risks lie, and they’ll have a number of solutions to help with your financial security.”

Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's former managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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