What Landscaping Companies Need Multiple Types of Insurance for Complete Coverage

Starting a landscaping company means implementing the right insurance to keep your business and employees safe.

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Owning a landscaping company can be a smart way to turn your green thumb into a cash cow. Armed with a lawnmower, edger and leaf-blower you can cover the basic needs of your customers this spring.

However, what you might forget among all that lawn equipment are your insurance needs. Even if you are just mowing lawns for a couple of neighbors, you’ll need basic insurance coverage.

It can mean the difference between success and failure, as any unexpected event can tip the scales against a small company.

“Failure to insure against key liability risks is especially dangerous for small businesses,” says Loretta Worters, vice president of communications for the Insurance Information Institute. "You don't have the financial resources of a big company to back you up in the event of a client lawsuit."

To start, try a BOP or business owner’s policy. This policy is a cost-effective way to obtain the coverage needed in a single package, instead of buying single policies for each insurance need.

General liability is the most important component of a BOP for a landscaper. It will cover expenses associated with bodily injury, property damage, personal injury and advertising injury For very small business, $300,000 in general liability should cover you and is considered a good starting point when thinking about basic insurance coverage.

Although a BOP will cover many of your basic needs, lawn maintenance companies and landscapers should consider additional types of coverage.

Lawn care professionals provide services opposed to selling a product, so occasionally, unhappy customers may sue your company for damages, contending you injured them financially with an act of negligence, error or omission.

Errors and omissions liability coverage pays for legal costs and damages connected to such lawsuits, which can help protect your business and financial security.

Even if you’re never sued, having errors and omissions liability coverage can give you a leg up on the competition.

"More and more clients require the professionals they hire to carry E&O insurance," Worters says. "You may risk losing the opportunity for a new project without it."

You should also consider commercial auto insurance, because you likely are transporting equipment to the job site. Your personal policy will not cover you if you are traveling for work.

Your policy rates could be impacted by the driving records of those who use your equipment on a regular basis.

You may be required by state law to carry auto liability insurance as part of your lawn care business insurance. This would pay for medical treatments for those injured by your vehicles, and any property damage your vehicle causes.

Most states require companies, with a certain number of employees, to carry workers compensation insurance in case workers are killed or injured on the job.

Landscapers need general liability insurance to protect against claims that something they've done, or failed to do, on a job have injured someone.

Workers compensation insurance covers both acute and chronic occupational injuries and diseases.

An example of an acute injury: A lawn maintenance worker falls through a metal grate and wrenches his knee, necessitating emergency surgery and long-term orthopedics.

An example of occupational injury: A secretary suffers repetitive stress injury to his thumbs after typing eight hours a day for 12 years; he has to undergo surgery, therapy and rehabilitation.

Lawn maintenance and landscaping businesses are unique, because owners can easily take on a commercial job, or be asked to do light masonry projects. Doing commercial work requires a much higher liability policy that offers coverage in the millions.

Masonry work could be excluded from your current policy.

Mowing and edging will keep you busy in the spring or summer, but what about winter? Many lawn companies transform themselves into snow removal companies. That makes business sense, but make sure you have the right insurance.

Always explain any new business or expansion of your company to your insurer before you take action. If not, you could be putting your business at risk.