Landscaping insurance is a group of policies that protect your business’s assets. The most common lawn care business insurance policy is general liability, which pays for nonemployees’ injuries and property damage. Most businesses need other policies like property insurance and auto coverage. Landscapers’ general liability insurance starts around $400 per year.
The policies you need and the total cost of your lawn care insurance depends on many factors, including the size and location of your business, the number of employees, and the type of work you do. For a better idea of how to insure your landscaping business, complete a short online form to receive a quote from the experts at The Hartford in minutes.
Top Lawn Care Insurance Providers
Small lawn maintenance companies that provide mowing, leaf blowing, and weeding
Specialized coverage for tree surgeons working above 20 feet
Low-cost and quick coverage for small landscaping businesses
Lawn care businesses that own vans, trucks, dump trucks, and flatbeds
Snow plow and removal businesses that require specialized equipment and licensing
Landscapers want to look for top business insurance companies that offer coverage for different types of landscaping businesses. This usually shows the company has a good understanding of the risks involved with each service and can offer policies that work for your business.
Hiscox shines at insuring businesses with fewer than five workers, making it a great choice for small lawn care companies with payrolls of $500,000 or less. General liability policies from Hiscox start at $29.17 per month or $350 annually. The company also offers most lines of commercial insurance, including business property and professional liability.
The Hartford is the right choice for landscape companies that offer tree trimming, maintenance, and removal. Policies are competitively priced for these high-risk services, as long as you or your employees are professional arborists, and you have strict safety procedures to prevent accidents when working 20 feet or higher.
As a top online insurance broker, CoverWallet can usually help landscapers compare quotes, pick policies, and get coverage in place the same day they apply. Lawn care business owners can find general liability for as low as $39 per month through CoverWallet. Adding property coverage increases the lowest available monthly premium to $59.
Progressive Commercial is best known for auto insurance, and its experience in this area is ideal for landscapers, especially those that work on-site preparation, excavation, stump removal, and installations. Landscapers can cover all of their work vehicles through Progressive Commercial, including dump trucks and flatbeds, and pay an average of $165 per year for coverage.
Bolt Insurance is another insurance broker that works with top carriers across the country to get insurance for difficult-to-place small businesses. It is great for landscape companies that also plow snow during winter. Liability in snowy and icy conditions increases as vehicles may slide, or unseen property could become damaged in the process.
How Landscaping Insurance Works
Landscaping insurance is not a specific type of insurance policy. Instead, it’s a combination of business insurance policies rated for the specific risks for lawn care companies. The most common policies for landscapers are general liability, commercial property, business auto, and workers’ compensation.
Most landscaping and lawn care businesses should consider purchasing a business owner’s policy (BOP), which combines general liability and commercial property insurance into one package. Bundling these policies is usually less expensive than buying them separately.
Who Landscaping Insurance Is Right For
Landscaping insurance is designed for businesses that maintain both commercial and residential lawns or install shrubs, plants, trees, and grass. Some may also provide landscape planning services or build features like walkways, decks, ponds, and retaining walls.
The different types of businesses that need landscape insurance include:
- Lawn care services & maintenance: Mowing, weeding, and general gardening services to maintain already-completed landscapes
- Tree pruning & removal: Dusting, spraying, trimming, branch and stump removal, and related tasks; may require licensed tree surgeons to address tall trees safely
- Excavation & grading: Adjusting ground level to create drainage and prepare the land for landscaping.
- Hardscape design & implementation: Landscapes with rocks, boulders, and other nonplant concepts often require bigger equipment to relocate heavy items.
While lawn care business insurance is rarely required for business registration, coverage may be required to obtain city permits or work with public entities. Private clients also usually expect insurance to be in place and may want to see a certificate of insurance (COI) before hiring you.
Landscaping Insurance Costs
Landscaping insurance costs vary widely depending on the total policies chosen, the coverage options selected, and your primary operations. A sole proprietor might see an annual cost of $400 while a larger company offering stump removal might have costs of $2,000. Most companies can expect to pay $400 to $10,000 in premiums per year for necessary coverage.
Typical Lawn Care Business Insurance Costs
Typical lawn care insurance costs are based on these factors:
- Location: Your city and state dramatically affect all insurance policy premiums. For example, businesses in California are more expensive to insure than Oregon but, within California, San Bernardino is less expensive than San Diego.
- Payroll: Workers’ compensation coverage is directly related to payroll costs and increases based on the type of risks employees face and the amount they are paid.
- Revenue receipts: Insurance carriers use annual receipts to determine the exposure for liability insurance purposes. The higher the company revenues are, the higher the premium costs.
- Property value: Business tools and equipment value determine the overall amount of property coverage required. The more business property is worth, the higher the insurance premium will be.
- Vehicle type: The year, make, and model of the truck or van used for your lawn care business directly impacts the cost. Different vehicles have different safety features and ratings.
- Main landscape duties: Landscapers who excavate or move earth at all are a higher risk category than those who have a small garden and lawn care maintenance business.
- Deductible: Higher deductibles reduce annual premium but mean the business is responsible for more out-of-pocket expenses in a claim.
All these factors combined are part of the underwriting process, along with the landscape business owner’s experience and claims history. A landscape business can save money by combining some policies into a BOP that includes general liability, business property, and business interruption insurance.
Land Care Business Insurance Policies
Landscaping insurance is an industry-specific collection of policies that most landscape companies need. Landscapers need coverage for third-party claims, employee injuries, and business property damaged by theft or vandalism.
Types of Lawn Care Insurance Coverage
What It Covers
Non-employee claims for bodily injury or property damage
Business-owned assets like building, equipment, or inventory
Equipment, tools, and supplies in transit or stored at job sites
Injury, damage, and lawsuits arising from accidents involving vehicles owned or used by your business
Medical bills and wage replacement for employees injured at work
Added liability coverage for general liability, workers’ compensation, and commercial auto policies
Commercial General Liability
Commercial general liability (CGL) covers bodily injury or property damage to third parties, aka the people or entities other than your employees or your business. Third-party injury and property damage are the greatest risk exposures in the lawn care business with claims and lawsuits that can exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Imagine hitting a gas line when digging a hole, leading to an explosion and fire that engulfs a million-dollar home. If the landscaper has no insurance, a lawsuit could potentially bankrupt the business. Moreover, the landscaper’s personal assets may be at risk if he is a sole proprietor.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance covers assets such as your building, equipment, tools, or nursery inventory of plants, trees, and shrubbery. Property insurance typically covers your business for losses due to fire, theft, vandalism, and other events. Not all weather damage is covered, so be sure to clarify coverage with your insurance agent or broker.
Landscapers depend on a lot of tools and equipment to get their work done. Property insurance helps pay to repair or replace these items if they’re damaged in a covered event. Keep in mind, however, that most property policies only cover equipment at the address listed on the policy. If someone steals a lawnmower out of the back of the truck, your property insurer most likely won’t pay. For that, you need inland marine insurance.
Inland Marine Insurance
Inland marine insurance covers your equipment, tools, and supplies as you move them from one job to another or while delivering your landscaping products, such as plants and trees, to a client. Policies can also cover any equipment that you store away from your primary location, like a client’s shed or a garage. Standard property insurance coverage will protect your building and assets at a particular location, but inland marine insurance may be needed in addition to cover assets taken off-premises.
Commercial Vehicle Insurance
Commercial vehicle insurance pays for claims to third-parties for injuries or property damage and covers your vehicle for repairs after an at-fault accident. Most landscaping businesses own a vehicle, such as a van or truck, that is required by state law to have at least minimal liability insurance, but owners can opt for coverage that pays for damage to their vehicles, roadside assistance, and medical bills for them and their passengers.
Make sure to look at how your vehicle is covered as well as whether or not you have coverage if an uninsured motorist hits you. Some landscapers perform snow plowing during the winter, and this may require additional riders.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical bills and wage replacement for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. This coverage is necessary for many landscaping businesses because of the risks involved, plus most states require workers’ comp coverage if you have any employees.
Your workers may face several work hazards, such as sharp tools, heavy equipment, operating machinery and vehicles, and even animal bites, which make workers’ comp coverage critical for your small business.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
Commercial umbrella insurance provides coverage above the liability limits of other primary insurance policies. Lawsuits or significant injuries can lead to very expensive legal and medical bills. If you have a general liability limit of $2 million, but your legal fees are $3 million, umbrella insurance can pay the $1 million not covered under general liability.
Commercial umbrella insurance adds liability coverage to general liability, commercial auto, and workers’ compensation policies. It does not add coverage for professional liability or personal business property coverage.
A BOP combines several of the most important insurance policies in one, usually less expensive policy. Within the BOP, a business owner can customize general liability coverage, business property values, and protection against business interruption.
Surety Bonds vs Landscaping Insurance
In addition to the types of coverage listed above, some landscaping businesses need to be bonded. Surety bonds work differently than liability insurance but are often discussed at the same time. They aren’t insurance policies; they are guarantees to clients that there is some level of financial coverage.
A surety bond is purchased through insurance carriers and offers limited coverage for claims against the company, typically around $10,000 to $100,000. If a claim is made, the bond issuer pays the injured parties and then collects that amount back from the small business.
When to Get a Surety Bond
Depending on the state where you do business, you may need to be licensed as a landscaping contractor, and that often means getting a surety bond in the amount the state requires. The bond ensures that the purchaser of the bond (you or the business) will live up to the financial obligations of the contract.
This type of bond is an insurance product and can be obtained through any insurance agency authorized to sell bonds from a surety insurance company. In addition to meeting state requirements, being bonded can help attract larger contracts. Surety bonds for landscaping contractors typically cost 1% to 15% of the total bond amount per year for up to $100,000 in coverage.
“Surety bonds are insurance, but they protect the state and the constituents. In several states, landscape contractors are required to purchase a surety bond as a condition of licensure. For many states, landscape contractors are licensed by the state contractors board. The key takeaway for landscape contractors that require a bond is that the contractor is indemnifying herself or himself, so the contractor is ultimately responsible for losses.”
—Jason O’Leary, Surety Bonds Direct
Tips for Buying Landscaping Insurance
Which lawn care business insurance policies you get varies according to the unique needs of your business. You may only need CGL coverage, but a BOP or other policies may be appropriate. Therefore, there are a few key pieces of information to know before applying for your landscaping insurance.
1. Gathering the Right Documents
It’s important to have complete and accurate information when applying for lawn care insurance or any other type of insurance. Gather payroll and revenue information for the past 12 months as well as business and vehicle registrations. If you have existing insurance, have those policies available to compare quotes accurately.
2. Mitigating Your Risk Exposures
There are many inherent risks a landscaping business faces, but owners can reduce the chance of claims with a risk mitigation plan. Create a manual based on best practices and train your employees to prevent injury and property loss. Fewer problems mean happier and more productive employees and a potential discount from your carrier.
3. Value and Coverage Are More Important Than Price
You don’t want to be underinsured, nor do you want to buy more insurance than you need. The cheapest policies with minimal coverage limits will not likely be the best policies for your business. At the same time, paying too much or buying unnecessary coverage types is not good for your financial bottom line. When possible, bundle your coverages into one package.
4. Use an Agent or Broker Who Knows the Landscaping Business
Landscaping insurance is industry-specific, which means it’s a specialty type, unlike standard policies. Even within the landscaping industry, there are different types of landscapers with different risks from others. Make sure your agent or broker takes the time to understand your business fully to insure it properly.
Lawn Care Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
With so many factors affecting coverage and lawn care insurance costs, you may still have questions. We’ve answered some of the most common ones below.
Is a business license needed for a lawn care business?
Depending on the city and state where you conduct business, you may need a business permit. Unless you are doing work that requires a general or subcontractor’s license, you will not need a specialized license. When there are licensing requirements, a bond is usually required to fulfill the application requirements.
Do I need workers’ comp insurance if I have independent contractors?
Business owners usually do not have to get workers’ comp for the independent contractors they hire. However, you want to make sure you treat them as independent contractors based on the IRS requirements to prevent potential penalties and fines. Independent contractors don’t have job duties, schedules, and wages extensively controlled.
Is a riding lawn mower considered a vehicle?
A riding lawn mower is not a vehicle and doesn’t require department of motor vehicles (DMV) registrations. It is considered personal property and insured by either a home insurance policy or a business property policy for lawn care companies.
Every landscaping business, whether it’s a sole proprietor lawn service or a full-service landscaping business, should have at least some small business insurance coverage. Even if you don’t have a building or valuable business assets to protect, you work with the general public, which opens up many potential risk exposures, especially employee bodily injury and property damage.
Purchasing insurance for your landscaping business is a relatively inexpensive way to prevent a potentially devastating financial loss. If you need a quick, no-hassle quote for landscaping insurance, a good place to start is with the experts at The Hartford. Plans are easy to understand and customized to meet your needs.