Pest Control Insurance

Pest Control Insurance

Dealing with lawsuits against your business can be a pesky situation.  Protect yourself with pest control insurance.

Zensurance - Pest Control Contractor

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Insurance for pest control businesses

Pest control professionals offer a solution no homeowner or business owner wants to need, but they’re incredibly grateful for your expertise if they require your service. Clients trust you to get rid of their nightmare rodent issue or unmanageably weedy lawn, amongst other predicaments.

Even with the best intentions and a great record, you must cover your business for the unexpected. Suppose you overlook termite or rodent damage or damage your client’s property through misapplied chemicals. You could be responsible for paying for these events out of your pocket if you don’t have the right pest control insurance coverage.

Pest control insurance is a specialized insurance policy designed to cover the unique risks of commercial and residential pest control contractors.

An insurance policy for professional pest control businesses will include a combination of several types of coverages, including:

  • Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance: CGL insurance covers a broad range of general business risks if you’re liable for an incident that resulted in third-party bodily injuries or third-party property damage. For example, while providing pest control services at a client’s home, you accidentally knock your heavy equipment into the side of an expensive wooden desk, causing it to need repair work. In this instance, your CGL could pay for the repairs required.
  • Pollution Liability Insurance: Also known as environmental insurance, this covers the cost of damages to a customer’s property or to their health caused by a toxic substance you used or pollution you’re responsible for creating. For example, a customer complains they have breathing difficulties after you used a pesticide to fumigate their home. Pollution liability can cover finances such as legal fees, medical bills and clean-up costs.
  • Tools and Equipment Insurance: If you use expensive and specialist equipment as part of your services, tools and equipment insurance could cover the costs of repairing or replacing lost, stolen, or damaged tools. For example, suppose three expensive backpack sprayers were stolen from your truck while providing a quote to a customer. Your tools and equipment insurance could cover the cost of replacing those tools.  Note: this policy does not cover tools and equipment that stop working due to wear and tear.

Additional coverages may include:

  • Professional Liability Insurance: Professional liability insurance covers claims against professional negligence, errors, or failure to deliver a professional service.  If your client wasn’t satisfied with the quality of pest control services you provided, your business could be held liable. For example, say you were tasked with removing rats from a property and successfully dealt with the issue. However, two months later, the client complained that the rodent issue was never resolved and had worsened. They sue for your failure to provide the agreed service. In this case, professional liability insurance could cover your legal costs and further related costs.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: Also known as commercial vehicle insurance or business auto insurance, this policy can cover the costs of events you’re liable for when driving a work vehicle. For example, say you were in an at-fault accident on your way to a client, commercial auto insurance could cover the third party’s medical bills and property damage costs.
  • Legal Expense Insurance: This coverage can provide financial assistance to offset the costs of hiring legal representation when your commercial insurance policies do not cover you (for example, injury to yourself or an employee or damage to your property). With legal expense insurance, you can be covered for legal advice fees and the cost of retaining a lawyer.

There are several factors insurance companies take into consideration when determining  the cost of insurance for pest control businesses, including:

  • Number of employees (independent contractor/technician vs large business)
  • Project type (commercial vs residential)
  • Years of experience
  • Application methods (heat/pesticides)
  • License/certification
  • Location
  • Tools and equipment owned
  • Annual and projected revenue

Whether you offer residential or commercial pest control services, there is a risk of third-party injuries and property damage. Having adequate insurance coverage provides financial protection if you or your employees are named in a lawsuit.

The types of pest control services that need coverage include:

  • Residential and commercial pest control
  • Fumigators
  • Insect and bed bug extermination control
  • Weed removal
  • Wildlife and rodent control services

Some provinces, such as Ontario, require pest control specialists to carry insurance that includes pollution liability.

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Common claims scenarios

child playing in basement

Problem: After completing a residential pest control service to remove a rat infestation, you accidentally leave a trap in the client’s basement. One of their kids steps on the trap and breaks their toe, resulting in surgery.

Outcome:  The client sues you for the child’s injury. Your commercial general liability insurance could cover the $18,000 lawsuit against your business.

cockroach infestation

Problem: After completing fumigation to remove a cockroach infestation in an office building, some of the remaining gas chemicals leaked into the HVAC system. A couple of weeks later, a group of employees who worked on that floor became very sick.

Outcome: Your pollution liability insurance covers the $250,000 lawsuit for illness-related injuries and repairs for the jeopardized central air system.

work van accident

Problem: While driving to a customer’s home, your employee gets into an at-fault accident with your company’s van, which caused damage to both vehicles.

Outcome: Your commercial auto insurance policy covers the $60,000 to repair both vehicles involved in the accident.

Frequently asked questions

Can I be held liable if the pest infestation reoccurs after providing my services?

To be held liable after providing pest control services, it would need to be proven you were negligent or made a mistake in your service that caused the recurrence after explicitly stating the pest issue was eradicated. If you’re held liable for failure to provide the expected service, you may be covered by a professional liability policy.

Do I need to have a pest control certification to get insurance?

Depending on the province, you may need certification and insurance to operate extermination services outside your property. For example, in Ontario, you can’t run an extermination business without insurance that meets the criteria set by the province.

What are the common risks that pest control companies face?

Pest control businesses may face a broad range of liable risks. From a general third-party property damage claim (say you break an expensive TV while at a customer’s home) to specific, business-related risks such as a pollution claim from chemical exposure or allegations of negligence in your pest control service.

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