Landscaping insurance provides protection against financial losses arising from third-party claims from bodily injury and property damage. Commercial property insurance and workers’ compensation can also be added to cover the equipment and other assets of the business and its employees. The cost of landscaping insurance is $400 to $600 per year for most small business owners.
The coverage types and total cost of lawn care insurance will depend upon many variables, including the size and location of the business, the number of employees, and the type of work that the business does. For a better idea of how to insure your landscaping business, get a free, no-obligation quote from the experts at Hiscox.
How Landscaping Insurance Works
Landscaping insurance is not an insurance type in itself, but there are certain types of insurance coverage or certain policies that landscaping businesses typically need. For example, even a small lawn care service will need general liability coverage. Other coverage types, such as commercial property insurance will be needed when the business owns valuable equipment.
Most landscaping and lawn care businesses will benefit by purchasing what is called a business owners policy (BOP), which combines both general liability and commercial property insurance into one package. Bundling is usually less expensive than buying two separate policies. Because of this cost-effective, broad coverage, BOP insurance is a common small business insurance policy.
Types of Lawn Care Insurance Coverage at a Glance
|Commercial General Liability||Non-employee third-party claims for bodily injury or property damage|
|Commercial Property Insurance||Assets owned by the business like building, equipment or inventory|
|Professional Liability Insurance||Mistakes or damages due to your work or negligence|
|Inland Marine Insurance||Equipment, tools and supplies in transit from one job to another or while delivering to a client|
|Commercial Vehicle Insurance||Injury, damage and lawsuits arising from accidents involving vehicles owned by your business|
|Workers' Compensation||Work-related injuries, medical bills and wage replacement for your employees|
|Commercial Umbrella Insurance||Claims that exceed limits on liability coverage|
Cost of Landscaping Business Insurance
The cost of lawn care insurance is $400 to $600 per year for most small business owners. However, this is for general liability coverage alone, which may not be sufficient for landscaping businesses with employees and commercial vehicles. Landscaping businesses that need more than general liability coverage may pay $1,000 to $2,000 per year.
Lawn Care Business Insurance Costs
|General Liability Insurance|
|Business Owners Policy|
|Professional Liability Insurance|
|Inland Marine Insurance|
|Commercial Vehicle Insurance|
|Commercial Umbrella Insurance|
Most landscaping businesses buy just general liability insurance to cover bodily injury and property damage to third parties. If more coverage is needed, the BOP is a cost-effective means of combining coverages into one package.
Landscaping Insurance Providers
There are two types of insurance professionals that can help guide you through the process of choosing the best landscaping insurance coverage for your business. Those two professionals are insurance agents and brokers. When you use an insurance agent, you are dealing directly with one insurance company that he or she represents. A broker typically works with several insurance companies.
In no particular order, here are five providers of lawn care business insurance:
Hiscox is a small business insurance specialist. The company prides itself on understanding the risks in specific industries and providing customized coverage to its clients. While most providers make you pay insurance premiums in a lump sum, Hiscox allows small businesses to pay their annual premium in monthly installments for no additional charge. Quotes are instantly available online after a brief application.
Insureon is a Chicago-based online insurance provider that offers tailored and direct insurance quotes to small-business owners. Landscaping business owners that want quick and easy service from an online provider may consider this provider. Insureon’s landscaping insurance covers your business property that is stolen, damaged or destroyed.
The Hartford is one of the largest insurers in the United States, but it specializes in small business insurance for landscaping companies and arborists. It offers the primary coverage types needed by retail businesses, such as general liability, commercial property insurance and business interruption insurance. All three of these coverages can be bundled into a BOP.
Trusted Choice partners with multiple insurance providers to allow for customized insurance coverage for the right price for small business owners. Trusted Choice is proud to be independent and strives to provide the prominent insurance types needed by landscaping companies, such as a BOP, workers’ compensation and commercial vehicle insurance for landscaping companies.
Progressive Commercial is large, national insurance company on our list that can cover almost any insurance need for small landscaping businesses. Its Progressive Advantage Business Program helps tailor the coverage for its small business insurance clients for the appropriate programs that will meet the unique needs of landscaping companies.
Tips on How to Buy Landscaping Insurance
Insurance coverage needs for lawn care business insurance will vary according to the unique needs of the business. You may only need commercial general liability coverage but a BOP or additional coverage types may be appropriate. Therefore, there are a few key pieces of information to know before applying for your landscaping insurance.
Here are the four most important things to remember when buying landscaping insurance:
1. Gather the Right Documents
It’s important to have complete and accurate information when applying for landscaping insurance or any other type of insurance. Not only does it help an agent or broker find the appropriate protection to cover your greatest risk exposures but it may also prevent a fraud claim against you for providing inaccurate information.
Here are the documents and information to have ready before shopping for lawn care insurance:
- Business contact information
- Number of employees
- Number and type of vehicles used for the business
- If and how you transport products, such as plants, sod or trees, to clients
- Number of years you’ve personally worked in the industry
- Number of years your business has been in the industry
- Details of any other insurance you currently have
- Details about the nature and risk exposures of your work, including to what extent you work with the public, or with hazardous materials
- Claims history for at least the past three years
- Insurance requirements, such as licensing or requirements for certificates
An insurance agent or broker will be able to steer you in the right direction on choosing the best insurance coverage for your landscaping or lawn care business. However, if you have this information ready when you are looking at your insurance options, you’ll be prepared to get accurate and complete quotes.
2. Know Your Risk Exposures
Every business has risks that are inherent to that business. In landscaping, some of the biggest risks that need to be covered include bodily injury and property damage to third parties and theft or damage to your own tools and equipment. Risks and respective coverage needs increase if you have a building, employees, vehicles and extensive inventory.
3. Value and Coverage is 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. 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. When shopping for an insurance policy, be sure to seek an agent or broker who understands your business. A knowledgeable insurance agent or broker can also help you buy the right coverage types and the ideal limits for your particular risk exposures.
According to Brian Rittenberry, Innovative Risk Services, LLC:
“When purchasing your coverage, make sure the underwriting requirements are answered as truthfully as possible. Most general liability policies will be audited at the end of the term. If an agency bases the policy on $50,000 of gross receipts for the year and the company earns $80,000, the insured could incur a large audit premium. The flip side to that is most new business owners have high expectations and are overzealous when giving an estimated gross for the year. It would be terrible to pay for coverage based on $75,000 in gross receipts when they actually only earn $37,000!”
During your search for landscaping insurance, be sure to speak to a reputable insurance agency, like the experts at Hiscox. Insurance companies that specialize in small businesses are best equipped to get you the right insurance at the right price. Hiscox’s plans are simple, and you can get a free quote online in minutes.
Landscaping Insurance Coverage Types
Landscaping insurance isn’t a specific policy type but typically refers to the collection of policies that landscapers need. Landscaping insurance will typically cover a variety of risky activities that will protect landscapers during their day-to-day operations.
According to Will Arbuckle, Next Insurance, landscaping insurance policies typically cover the following activities:
- Landscaping gardens: Laying out grounds, planting trees, shrubs, flowers, and interior landscaping
- Lawn care services: Mowing, fertilizing, edging, cleaning, removal of leaves, preventive growth, or killing weeds
- Tree pruning: Dusting, spraying, trimming, stump removal, and related tasks
Arbuckle goes on to say:
“Keep in mind that most insurance companies’ landscaper policies (including ours) do not cover tree trimming above 12 feet off the ground or any farm or agriculture work related to land clearing for farms.”
Although owners of landscaping businesses may need multiple insurance types, the most important coverage is general liability coverage, which is often sufficient to cover some of the greatest risk exposures, which are third-party bodily injuries and property damage. However, if you have vehicles, employees, or expensive equipment, it’s likely that you’ll need more than the basic liability coverage. Covering employees is important to landscapers and is likely one of the first additional coverage types you’ll need if you’re employing others.
Commercial General Liability
Commercial general liability (CGL) is the most common insurance type for landscaping businesses. CGL covers bodily injury or property damage to third parties, who are 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, which is why CGL is your most important insurance type.
Since most of your work is on someone else’s property, one of your greatest risk exposures can accidental injury or property damage to a third party. For example, if you own a lawn care business and someone trips over your tools and gets injured, a CGL policy will cover the medical bills. If the third party sues your business, CGL will also cover your legal fees. Also, if you damage your client’s home while trying to install some rose bushes then your CGL policy will take care of the damages.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance covers assets, such as your building, equipment, tools or nursery inventory of plants, trees, and shrubbery. Property Insurance may cover your business for losses due to fire, theft, vandalism and other covered events. Not all weather damage is covered, so be sure to clarify coverage with your insurance agent or broker.
Commercial property insurance is needed by most landscaping businesses because it will cover damage to your equipment like your truck or chipper. It’s a big risk for landscapers to operate without this type of coverage because of how important the equipment is to the business.
Professional Liability Insurance
Sometimes referred to as “errors and omissions” coverage, this covers damages due to your failure to provide the services that you were contracted to do or if you make mistakes in providing the contracted services. Professional liability can also cover lawsuit costs when a client sues you over your services or advice. Some of the things covered under this policy would be damages awarded to your clients for putting bushes in the wrong spot or for not irrigating the lawn properly leading to damage to your client’s property.
The damage covered in a professional liability policy is different than a CGL policy. CGL policies cover damage to your client’s property, or to individuals, that happens while you’re working on the property. An E&O policy will cover damages that are a result of you messing up your finished product or not completing it as you have previously agreed to complete the work.
Inland Marine Insurance
Inland marine insurance covers your equipment, tools and supplies in transit from one job to another or while delivering your landscaping products, such as plants and trees, to a client. 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
If your landscaping business owns a vehicle, such as a car or truck, and one of your vehicles is involved in an accident, commercial vehicle insurance will cover you for repairs and lawsuits. This insurance can also cover you for damage caused by an uninsured driver. You may need additional coverage if you do snow plowing in the winter.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers work-related injuries, medical bills, wage replacement and more for your employees, which is one of the biggest risk exposures for landscapers. This coverage is necessary for many landscaping businesses because most states require workers comp coverage if you have any employees and employee accidents can be expensive to your business if you’re not properly covered. Your workers may face several work hazards, such as sharp tools, heavy equipment, operating machinery and vehicles and even animal bites.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
Commercial umbrella insurance provides coverage above the limits of your liability insurance. A common way insurance claims can rise above your general liability limits is from a lawsuit and related expenses. For example, if you have a general liability limit of $2 million and your legal fees are $3 million, umbrella insurance can cover the $1 million not covered under general liability.
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. Some states require landscaping contractors to be bonded before they can receive their contractors’ license.
Who Needs Landscaping Insurance
Every landscaping business owner, whether they are a freelance worker doing seasonal work or a small business doing $50 million per year in revenue, should have at least some form of insurance coverage, especially commercial general liability. This is because landscaping is a mobile business that works directly with the public, which creates several risk exposures.
According to Maureen Brogee, Senior Advisor, Insurance Bee:
“For landscaping and lawn care contractors, general liability insurance is a necessity. Because most of your time is spent working at clients’ properties, you’re more exposed to risk. All it takes is a stone kicked up by your mower and smashing a window or a client tripping over your power cable, and you could find yourself facing a claim. If you don’t have the right protection and you’re sued, you’re going to have to find the money for lawyers and compensation yourself. That kind of expense might not just empty your pockets — it could put you out of 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. A common requirement of the licensing process is to post 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 $100 to $300 per year for up to $100,000 in coverage. For more information be sure to read more on the types of surety bonds.
According to Jason O’Leary, Surety Bonds Direct:
“One area that many of our landscape customers are confused about is their requirement to post a surety bond. 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.”
The Bottom Line
Every landscaping business, whether it’s a sole proprietor lawn service or a full-service landscaping business, needs to have at least some form of 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. Their plans are easy to understand and tailored to your needs.