It’s been said the one good thing about wintertime is snow makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbour’s.

But now it’s spring, and your landscaping and lawn care business is ramping up to service your customers and make their properties lush, trimmed, and tidy. 

But before loading that equipment trailer and firing up your lawn mower or trimming hedges at a customer’s property, take some time to ensure your landscaping insurance policy adequately covers the potential risks your business faces.

And the risks are many. For example:

A professional landscaper servicing a client's property.

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  • Bodily injuries to passersby or property owners.
  • Accidental damage to a customer’s property.
  • Failing to provide service as agreed upon to a customer or making a mistake that causes them to suffer a financial loss.
  • Sudden equipment breakdowns.
  • Theft of handheld tools or other equipment from a job site or while in storage.
  • Damage to tools and equipment while transporting them from one location to another.
  • Auto accidents or collisions.
  • Environmental liabilities resulting from exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful chemicals.
  • Inclement weather conditions damaging vehicles and equipment or resulting in lost work time.
  • Working near electrical lines.
  • Operating gas-powered machinery like lawnmowers, trimmers, and chainsaws.
  • A fire breaks out, or a flood soaks your storage shed, damaging your lawn care equipment and materials inventory.
  • Theft of equipment and electronics or vandalism at your landscaping company’s office or storage compound.

Depending on the size and complexity of your landscaping and lawn care business, these and possibly other liability exposures represent risk management blind spots. 

Getting a clear view of those liabilities, mitigating them in advance, and having an updated landscaping insurance policy to cover costs following an accident or allegation of wrongdoing can ensure this season is safe and problem-free.

What Does a Landscaping and Lawn Care Insurance Policy Include?

A comprehensive landscaping and lawn care insurance policy typically includes the following coverages:

General Liability

General liability covers you for third-party bodily injuries and property damages. So, if a passerby trips over a piece of your equipment, falls, and is injured, or while digging a ditch across a customer’s lawn as part of a land makeover, you accidentally cut into the natural gas line leading to the house, general liability insurance can cover the cost of those unfortunate incidents.

Equipment and Tools Protection

If your tools (hedge trimmers, edgers, hand tools; items below $1,500 in value) or equipment (lawn mowers and items over $1,500) are stolen, vandalized, damaged by a fire, or have water damage, tools and equipment insurance is designed to pay to repair or replace those items.

Pollution Liability

Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers juiced with chemicals to kill insects, prevent weeds, and produce perfect-looking lawns can threaten human health, animals, and the local water supply. Pollution liability insurance can help offset those risks by covering the costs of your business’s environmental liabilities if facing a claim or lawsuit for damage and loss.

Commercial Auto

Covering damages to the vehicle and equipment trailer you own for shuttling people, materials, and equipment from one customer’s location to another requires commercial auto insurance. Similar to the coverages in a private-passenger car insurance policy, commercial auto insurance includes statutory coverages every auto policy must have, but with higher coverage limits. Most private-passenger or personal car insurance policies don’t cover the cost of collisions or damages involving a business vehicle.

Property Insurance

Protecting your office, business contents, inventory, and storage compound from damage or loss caused by fire, water, extreme weather, theft, or vandalism is what commercial property insurance does. It pays for repairing or replacing your property and contents. Commercial property insurance usually includes business interruption insurance to cover overhead costs following an insurable claim. If it doesn’t, you can add it to your policy.  

In general, what your business’s policy should have, its coverage limits, exclusions, and deductibles, depends on the risks you face. 

Speak to a licensed Zensurance broker if you are uncertain about what your policy should include or for a review of your existing policy to ensure you’re protected.

What to Consider While Reviewing Your Landscaping Insurance Policy

When reviewing your landscaping and lawn care insurance or any business insurance policy, there are multiple things to consider to ensure your insurance adequately reflects what’s changed in your business. For example:

  • If you purchased new tools and equipment.
  • If you’re offering new services.
  • If you’ve hired or intend to hire more employees.
  • If you are moving to a new office or are renovating your existing commercial property.
  • If your annual revenue has increased.
  • If you’re buying a new vehicle or acquiring additional vehicles.

It’s also important to consider inflation and rising interest rates impact your bottom line when refreshing your inventory or raw materials. If you must file a claim, your insurance policy’s coverage limits should account for these factors.

10 Tips for Managing Landscaping and Lawn Care Business Risks

Beyond updating or purchasing a comprehensive business insurance policy, here are 10 tips to help you manage some of your business’s risks:

  1. Regularly inspect and do maintenance on the tools and equipment you use to prevent breakdowns and accidents.
  2. Ensure all employees are trained to use equipment and tools correctly.
  3. Insist all employees wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while working, including hearing protection. Provide them with fresh water, and encourage them to wear sunblock protection.
  4. Prevent the spread of chemicals used at job sites by ensuring employees remove contaminated clothing and footwear before entering the office or going home.
  5. If you hire subcontractors, only hire ones carrying liability insurance with a minimum coverage limit of $1 million, sign a contract with them, and ensure there’s a “hold harmless” agreement that benefits your business.
  6. Test your office’s fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide alarms and replace the batteries in them if applicable.
  7. Maintain a tidy office space free of tripping hazards and clutter.
  8. Ensure the eavestroughs and downspouts around your building are clear of debris.
  9. Encourage employees to report hazards on job sites immediately.
  10. Have a plan for unscheduled downtime triggered by bad weather. Use the time to finish paperwork, do maintenance on your equipment, and clean up your vehicle(s).

If you’re seeking a landscaping insurance policy, we can get the low-cost protection you need quickly and easily and help you plant the seeds of success. 

Fill out an online application for a free quote from Zensurance. Our friendly brokers can advise you on the coverages and coverage limits you need and customize a policy that addresses your specific risks.

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About the Author: Joe Sarraino

Joe Sarraino is a Team Lead, Contractors, at Zensurance.