When you spend all day working up in trees there is a lot to consider, from your equipment to your employees to your professional reputation. What about what belongs to others? Your livelihood can be ruined by personal injury and property damage claims. Your reputation can be damaged by accidental errors.
The two main types of liability insurance you should take into consideration when looking for coverage for your tree trimming business are general liability and professional liability (errors & omissions). General liability protects others and professional liability protects your business.
Common Questions You Should Be Asking:
What limits of coverage should you purchase for your business?
The short answer is: as much as you can reasonably afford. When trying to determine adequate limits of coverage you should take into consideration the types of property you are working on or near (commercial property, high value homes, high income areas with expensive vehicles). Discuss with your agent the typical payout on a claim in your area and how much coverage you might need to protect yourself.
Is general liability enough?
Not always. Most tree trimmers coverage packages also include professional liability to cover other types of accidents.
General Liability for Tree Trimmers
General liability insurance covers your business for accidental damage to the property of others, as well as accidental injury to others. Coverage is included for these types of accidents:
- A branch being trimmed from a tree falls on a parked car belonging to the patron of a shop across the street. (Property damage)
- Tree trimmings on the sidewalk cause a jogger passing by to trip and fall and break a leg. (Personal/bodily injury)
- A tree being cut down falls the wrong way, destroying the awning of a nearby building. (Property damage)
General liability may also be written to include other types of land maintenance coverages including lawn mowing, landscaping and even grading of land. Coverage is rated based on payroll.
Coverage limits can be purchased in amounts ranging from $100,000 to $1,000,000 or more per occurrence. Most customers or contractors will require a certain limit of insurance to satisfy their contract, but this amount should be considered a minimum suggested limit. Additional insureds may be added on a blanket basis for a flat fee or per contract for an additional charge.
Professional Liability for Tree Trimmers (Errors and Omissions)
While we would all like to believe that it won’t happen, occasionally there are mistakes made with regard to client communications, or even human error on the part of employees. That is where professional liability (otherwise known as errors and omissions coverage) comes in to play. Professional liability for aborists covers the following types of accidents:
- The wrong tree is cut down. Perhaps the tree was an expensive import or a family heirloom.
- A tree is pruned back so extensively that it dies.
- Failure to remove a tree as requested, with roots causing damage to underground plumbing. Plumbing backups can cause major damage to the interior of buildings.
Claims of this nature can spell the end of your business. Errors and omissions coverage is crucial.
Professional liability accidents can cause even more expensive claims than general liability. Limits for this coverage can follow form for the general liabilty (equal limits) or be written at a high limit. Coverage is rated on gross receipts.
Other Coverages Tree Trimmers Should Consider
General liability and professional liability coverages are just two pieces of the puzzle for protecting your business. Automobile liability, property coverage (for your own buildings), contractors equipment coverage, workers compensation insurance, pollution insurance and pesticide/herbicide endorsements may also be right for your business. Contact your Hayes Insurance agent today for more information and applications about tree trimmers liability insurance.