Landscaping insurance, or lawn care 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. Landscapers’ general liability insurance starts around $500 per year. However, most landscapers need additional policies, and that increases the overall costs.
The policies you need and the total cost of your lawn care insurance depend on many factors, including your business size and location, and the services you offer. For a better idea of how to insure your landscaping business, complete a short online form to receive a quote from the experts at Hiscox in minutes.
How Landscaping Insurance Works
Lawn care and landscaping insurance is not a specific type of insurance policy. Instead, it’s a combination of business insurance policies, each of which covers a specific risk lawn care companies typically face. The most common policies for landscapers are general liability, commercial property, business auto, and workers’ compensation.
Who Needs Landscaping Insurance
Lawn care insurance is designed for businesses that maintain commercial or residential lawns or install shrubs, plants, trees, and grass. Policies typically cover a variety of services, including:
- 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
All 50 states require some sort of license or certification for lawn care and landscaping businesses. In some states, most landscape contractors have to get licensed while others only mandate licensure for specific operations—most commonly for using pesticides. About 20 states want to see proof of insurance before issuing a license.
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 $500 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.
Lawn Care Business Insurance Costs by Policy
$500 to $1,000
$500 to $1,000
$100 to $550
$2,000 to $4,500
$3,000 to $5,000
$300 to $800
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 business owner’s industry experience and claims history.
Pro tip: A landscape business can save money by purchasing a business owner’s policy (BOP) that combines general liability, commercial property, and business interruption coverage. When insurers bundle these policies, they can usually offer them for a lower rate.
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. Additionally, you can also get coverage for snow removal operations.
CoverWallet helps landscapers compare quotes, pick policies, and get coverage in place the same day they apply. This is because CoverWallet is a top online insurance broker, which means it has access to multiple carriers. 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 and pay an average of $181 per year. Moreover, landscapers who already have a general liability or BOP can see discounts of up to 15%.
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.
Lawn Care Business Insurance Policies
Landscaping insurance is an industry-specific collection of policies that most lawn care companies need. Landscapers need coverage for third-party claims, employee injuries, and business property damaged by theft or vandalism.
Common Lawn Care Insurance Policies
What It Covers
Non-employee claims for bodily injury or property damage
Commercial Property Insurance
Business-owned assets like building, equipment, or inventory
Inland Marine Insurance
Equipment, tools, and supplies in transit or stored at job sites
Commercial Vehicle Insurance
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
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
Added liability coverage for general liability, workers’ compensation, and commercial auto policies
Commercial General Liability
General liability covers bodily injury or property damage to third parties like 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. Without general liability insurance, a lawsuit could bankrupt your business. Worse? Your personal assets may be at risk if you are a sole proprietor.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance covers assets like your building, equipment, tools, or nursery inventory of plants, trees, and shrubbery. The specific coverage depends on the policy, but most pays for losses from events like:
Other events are often covered, so be sure to clarify coverage with your insurance agent or broker.
Another important thing to know about commercial property insurance is that it usually only covers 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. Because transporting equipment is common in the industry, most insurers include at least some inland marine coverage on their property policies.
Pro tip: Lawn care business owners who switch to snow removal during the winter may need to ask specifically about inland marine for that unique equipment. Be sure to mention this additional operation to your agent to ensure you have sufficient coverage.
Commercial Vehicle Insurance
Commercial vehicle insurance pays for the other party’s injuries or property damage if you or your employee cause an accident while driving for work. However, that is just liability coverage, and it’s the minimum required in most states. Landscaping business owners can opt for coverage that pays for damage to their vehicles, roadside assistance, and medical bills for them and their passengers.
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.
Surety Bonds vs Landscaping Insurance
In addition to the insurance policies listed above, some landscaping businesses need to be bonded. Surety bonds are not a type of insurance. Instead, they act as a guarantee to clients that there is some level of financial coverage. The landscaper pays a premium to the bond issuer, often an insurance company. If a claim is made, the bond issuer pays the injured parties and then collects that amount back from the small business. Bonds usually cost between 1% and 15% of the total bond amount.
“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
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?
Most states require some sort of business license for lawn care companies and, even if you’re in a state that doesn’t, local governments may mandate licenses. Landscapers and lawn care contractors typically have to get specialized licenses too, particularly if they perform excavating and grading or use pesticides in their work.
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 penalties and fines. For example, independent contractors usually have control over their job duties and schedules, and they typically provide their own equipment. If that doesn’t sound like your workers, then you may have employees.
Is a riding lawn mower considered a vehicle?
A riding lawn mower is usually not considered a vehicle for insurance purposes because it’s designed to be used off public roads. It is considered mobile equipment 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 Hiscox. Plans are easy to understand and customized to meet your needs.