Insurance Tips for your Lawn Care Business

According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the Lawn Care and Landscaping Industry amounts to $78 billion as of 2016.  This is an enormous part of our economy that employs nearly a million people. Because of the vast size of this industry there is a huge amount of risk being taken on by businesses both big and small.  Because of these risks there are an equally big market for the insurance industry to help these businesses to properly protect their businesses.  Here are three tips for how to properly protect your lawn care business.

 

How does a lawn care business owner find the best insurance coverage for their Lawn Care Business?

There are many things that go in to finding the best insurance policies for your business depends on may aspects.  Most of those aspects deal with factors that are unique to you and your business.  For example, one business owner may be comfortable with more risk than another. The help of an experienced independent agent can help you determine just how much risk your business faces and how best for you to protect your business from those risks.

Once you have found a good agent, it is equally important to take a little extra time to speak long and honestly about everything your business does and does not do.  There are numerous classification codes for the landscaping industry and classifying your business improperly can impact your rate on premium tremendously.

 

How can a business owner find the best price on insurance coverage?

Once a business owner has found a good insurance agent and has spoken with that agent about all the ins and outs of their business, it is important to ask for all credits and debits that your business qualifies for.  The best way to do this is to be direct.  If price is what you value than tell your agent that is what you value. Insurance agents interact with many different people from all walks of life.  Not all business owners value getting the absolute best price on coverage. If this is important to you than express that to your agent and they should be able to find the most suitable coverage.

 

What do I do when I have and claim and am forced to use the insurance policy?

It is normal for an entrepreneur to be confident.  Many of those same confident entrepreneurs have an affinity to assume bad things are not going to happen to their business. The only true way to prevent this is to take the proper steps within your power to prevent and be prepared for when disaster strikes.  A major part of that preparation is to have proper insurance in place.  Once you have the proper policies in place, it is important to take pictures of all the equipment and property you have covered.  This can prove the state of the equipment before the occurrence.

After securing the proper policies and documenting the state of your covered assets, you need to have policies and procedures in place for how to report an occurrence when a disaster strikes you business.  You should have all managers on duty trained to be prepared for all bodily injury occurrences.  You should notify both your agent and the carrier when you have a claim.  Do not be upset if your agency informs you to contact your carrier.  It is the job of the carrier to process the claim, not the agency.  At the same time, it is important to keep your agency in the loop in case the carrier is not living up to their end of the bargain. Many medical facilities are not prepared to process the workers compensation system. Your carrier can help you find the proper facilities in your area to provide the best coverage to your inured employee or customer. This can drastically limit the severity of a claim and it can allow your injured worker to get the best care without the least amount of doctors’ visits possible.

Keeping the injured worker on your side is important to getting them to return to work and limiting the severity of the workers’ comp claim.  If this process runs smoothly it will make your employee happy and motivated to return to work and it will help your insurance carrier to limit the amount of the claim and prevent too much damage to your businesses experience modification rating.

 

 

6 coverages every Lawn Care or Landscaping business should carry.

Lawn Care and Landscaping is a diverse industry and with that diversity comes a lot of risk. How you go about protecting your business from those risks can make all the difference in the long term success of your business. Some landscaping businesses simply mow lawns, others lay sod and plants shrubs, some even climb several feet into the air to work on trees and others grow and sell plants at one central location. No matter what type of landscaping business you are running, here are 6 coverages that every business in this industry should carry.

  • General Liability
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Commercial Auto or Hired and Non-owned Auto
  • Inland Marine
  • Commercial Property
  • Business Owners Package

General Liability

General Liability Insurance is a policy that most every business needs. Depending upon the state and industry you operate in, it is required by law to be in business. For the lawncare and landscaping industry this coverage can prevent your business from damage that is caused to third parties by you or your employees. This can apply regardless of whether the incident occurs on your property or at the property of the customer.

Workers’ Compensation

In 48 out of 50 states workers comp is required by law. What you pay in premium will depend on your experience modification rating and the NCCI class code for your business.  Lawn care and Landscaping is an industry that has several classification codes which include: 9102, 0042, 9182, 0106, 9220, and 9016.

Commercial Auto or Hired and Non-owned Auto

Commercial Auto and Hired and Non-owned Auto Insurance are two coverages that deal with vehicles being used for business purposes. Which of these two coverages your business needs is determined by whether or not the business owns the vehicle that is being used for daily work. If you have employees using their own vehicle as a part of their job than you need Hired and Non-owned Auto Coverage. If you are leasing the vehicle for the season, than this is the coverage you need as well. If your business owns the vehicle than you need commercial auto insurance.

Inland Marine

Inland Marine Insurance Coverage is also known as equipment coverage or floaters coverage. These terms are used because this insurance is for equipment not covered by your property or auto insurance policies and it is usually equipment that is going to be in transit. If you have a trailer with several pieces of equipment that is going to be transported to several locations throughout the day than you need this type of coverage. This could also be necessary for greenhouses if they are having plants delivered to a clients location. while the products are being transported they would be covered by this policy.

Commercial Property

If you own property, no matter how big or small than you need this coverage. Without it you can put at risk everything that makes your business run. Unless you can afford to replace the property and everything inside it than you need this coverage. This policy can usually be added to  BOP for minimal cost to the business.

Business Owners Package

Most insurance carriers have what are called Business Owners Packages designed for each industry and each classification code. Through their experience with claims in each industry, each carrier has a basic recommended package of coverage they deem appropriate for each business. These packages can be adjusted based on the industry you are in and the amount of risk you as a business owner are comfortable taking. This is where the advice of an experienced insurance agent who you trust can be very valuable. An experienced agent should be able to lay down the risks and rewards of each coverage and help you to make the most informed decision possible when buying insurance for your business.

 

 

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

    • •   0781- Landscaping and Planning

•   0782- Lawn and Garden Services

NAICS Liability Classifications:

    • •   541320- Landscaper Architectural Services

•   561730- Landscape Services

Business ISO General Liability:

    • •   Code: 97047- Landscape Gardening

•   Code: 97050- Lawn Care Services

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

    • •   0042- Landscapers and Drivers
    • •   9102- Park Maintenance, Lawn Care, and Drivers
    • •   0106- Tree Pruning or Spraying