Tree service insurance is business insurance that covers tree service professionals. Tree service professionals or arborists care for trees and other woody plants. These businesses have got the tools and equipment to provide the following tree care services:
- Removal of dangerous trees and tree branches
- Tree trimming and shrub pruning services
- Storm prep support for trees
- Tree planting & transplanting services
- Tree & Shrub fertilization
Tree removal in densely populated residential areas is a dangerous business. Therefore, certified tree service professionals need adequate insurance packages to cover the specific risks that their profession entails.
Arborists’ Business Risks
While there aren’t designated arborists or tree trimming insurance for tree services providers, it is important to assess the specific insurance risks that this profession involves and get the right coverage in place to protect your business.
Here are some of the risks you may need to consider, no matter if you are just starting up your tree service company or you already have a well-established company.
- Damage to client’s property
- Bodily injury clients or third-parties due to negligence, equipment malfunction, or use of toxic substances
- Loss, damage, or theft of power tools, equipment, heavy machinery, or service vehicles
- On-the-job injuries or illnesses that you or your employees may experience
- Errors and omissions exposure, due to tree care or landscaping advice that may lead to a client’s loss
- Job site accidents that business owners or employees may cause while driving commercial vehicles
Your tree service business requires special commercial insurance
As you assess the business risks and liabilities listed above, make sure to consider the specific work you must perform on daily basis, as well as the power tools and substances you and your employees have to handle.
There are many aspects of tree care work that can expose your employees to bodily injuries. While working, they may also cause damages to the client’s property or to the company’s vehicles or equipment. Picking up a knowledgeable insurance agent can guarantee that the small business insurance coverage will shield all risks enumerated above.
Types of Insurance for Tree Care Businesses
Tree service insurance is a combination of several insurance types that cover the most common tree trimming and tree removal risks. Here are the most important insurance policies that your insurance agent may recommend.
General Liability Insurance
A standard general liability policy covers common tree removal and landscaping risks. If tree branches fall on your customer’s roof, your general liability insurance will cover the customer’s property damage as well as any bodily injury of the customer.
Because landscaping and tree removal services take place at customers’ residential or business property, third-party injuries and property damage are a serious risk. A client could trip in a hole your workers have dug to remove tree trunks and break a leg, or one of your tractors could reverse into a client’s fence.
General liability coverage spans customer’s medical bills or repairs to damaged property, as well as any legal expenses that landscaping businesses may incur. The general liability insurance policy is the most important of all tree service insurance policies because it provides coverage related to:
- Customer bodily injury
- Customer property damage
- Advertising injuries
Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)
If you own a small, tree trimming business, you may be able to bundle general liability insurance and commercial property insurance in a business owner’s policy for a lower premium than the retail cost of each policy if purchased separately. A tree trimming business that is eligible for a BOP typically:
- Has fewer than 100 tree-care employees
- Has a small office
- Makes less than $1 million a year
- Operates in a low-risk industry
- Needs less than a year of business interruption insurance
A typical business owner’s policy includes general liability, business interruption, and commercial property insurance. As BOPs are very flexible, so your insurance agent may recommend adding professional liability, commercial auto, or other specific types of coverage to your package.
Types of general liability coverage for tree service professionals
Third-party bodily injuries
If a customer gets is injured on his property while your tree servicemen are working, your business might have to pay significant compensations, hefty medical bills, and incur serious legal costs. General liability insurance covers:
- Attorney fees
- Court settlements
- Court-ordered judgments
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses in fatal incidents
This policy does not cover employee injuries. For that, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance.
Third-party property damage
General liability insurance protects your tree service business when customer property gets damaged. For instance, if an employee lost control of a tree branch they’ve just cut off and the branch damaged a client’s window, your general liability policy could cover the repair costs. This policy can also cover legal expenses if a client files a lawsuit against your tree service business to recoup costs.
While advertising your tree service business, you may unknowingly imitate a competitor’s business slogan or logo. Accidental advertising injuries are covered by general liability insurance. The business insurance coverage spans defamation and copyright infringement.
If your tree care company is trying to win clients via newspaper ads, social media campaigns or other forms of advertising, it’s important to have this insurance policy in place.
Workers’ compensation insurance
Workers’ comp insurance is another important component of your tree service insurance coverage. Tree trimming and landscaping involve exhausting physical work that could cause your employees to suffer bodily injuries on the job site.
Don’t underestimate this business insurance type
If a tree care company’s employee gets exposed to pesticides for too long, or a tree trimming professional gets hit by a loosely falling branch, your small business may incur costly medical bills. Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical expenses from work-related injuries and illnesses.
It also helps your small business pay wages while the injured employee is recovering. The insurance also covers tree trimmers in case of temporary loss of income. Therefore a workers’ comp certificate of insurance is an integral part of your tree trimming insurance package.
Business Property Insurance
Your tree trimming insurance package can never be complete without a valid commercial property insurance policy. Commercial property insurance is a key business insurance coverage for small tree service businesses that normally have a wide inventory of different tree trimmers and other tree care and removal tools.
Commercial property insurance coverage can help a small business owner if:
- A fire damages or destroys your equipment
- Lightning strikes your office
- Someone breaks into your office building and steals your inventory
Professional Liability Insurance
Business owners who provide landscaping and tree care services need to add a professional liability certificate of insurance to their tree trimming insurance package. This special type of insurance must be included in any standard tree service insurance package.
It covers any errors and omissions that tree care professionals may commit. Professional liability insurance also provides protection against liability claims due to negligence, poor advice, or recommended services that result in a client’s loss.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial auto insurance covers legal bills, medical expenses, and property damage if a tree service vehicle gets involved in a road accident.
The median commercial auto insurance premium for tree care companies is about $150 per month. Commercial auto insurance is a business insurance policy that can help pay for lawsuits, property damage, and medical fees that arise from an accident involving a tree care company’s vehicles. It also covers theft and vehicle damage.
Who needs commercial auto insurance?
Any business owner who provides tree services needs a commercial auto certificate of insurance. Company-owned vehicles such as tree trimming trucks or excavators must be covered by commercial auto insurance.
Commercial auto is required for bucket trucks and chipper trucks’ operators, as well as for van drivers who transport tools and equipment from one job site to another.
Product liability insurance
More often than not, tree service companies sell soil fertilizers and insecticides along with the traditional tree care services that its arborists provide. If your client’s kids turn out to be allergic to any of your products, the property owner and concerned parent may promptly move on to sue the landscaping project owner.
The Product liability coverage provides protection if products that your small business sells have accidentally caused damage or injury to a client. The product liability insurance coverage for tree service business types spans trimming tools, sprayers, chemicals, and fertilizers.
Inland marine insurance
The special type of small business insurance policy can protect equipment and cargo that you transport from one job site to another. Inland marine policies vary by the insurance broker, so it’s a good idea to discuss the specifics with your insurance agent.
For example, if your employees use a bulldozer in the field and need to transport it to another job site, your inland marine insurance would typically provide sufficient protection regarding the transportation process.
Business interruption & loss of income insurance
This type of commercial insurance will pay for the actual loss of income you may experience due to the necessary suspension of your business operations over a certain time period. The suspension of tree care operations must be caused by direct physical loss, damage, or destruction to the insured business property. The loss or damage must also be caused by or result from a covered cause of loss.
Contractor’s tools & equipment insurance
A contractor’s tools and equipment insurance policy pays for repairs or replacement of a contractor’s tools and equipment if they are lost, stolen, or damaged. The inured items must be less than five years old. This is a nice addition to your tree service insurance package because the business property insurance I mentioned above property doesn’t cover mobile property.
The tools & equipment insurance typically covers the following tools and machines:
- Lawnmowers and leaf blowers
- Hand tools, such as shovels, rakes, and hoes
- Equipment you lease to third parties
Umbrella insurance is extra insurance that provides protection beyond the existing limits and coverages listed above. Umbrella insurance may provide coverage when your business property, personal auto insurance, or other commercial nsurance policies’ limits are exhausted. The umbrella insurance coverage extends to claims ensuing from false arrest, libel, slander, and defamation.
How much does tree service insurance cost?
An average tree service business in the USA spends between $400-$1,500 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage. Business owners may be able to acquire general liability insurance at a discounted rate by purchasing it as part of a business owner’s policy (BOP).
The coverage limits on the insurance policy should be high enough to pay for any costs arising from an accident or injury. Here are some minimum limits to consider:
- General Liability: $1 million for each occurrence and $2 million aggregate
- Commercial Auto Liability: $1 million for each accident
- Umbrella Liability: $1 million
- Workers Compensation Insurance: $500,000 per accident
Tree care is inherently dangerous. Make sure the company or arborist you hire is well protected with tree care-specific workers’ compensation coverage.
Clients seldom understand just how dangerous tree care work can be, even if the employees have the required training, equipment, and professional experience. Tree work is sometimes performed at great heights and is affected by heavy objects, unpredictable weather changes, dangerous tools, and more.
Because certified arborists take on dangerous tasks every day, they need insurance providers that understand their specific needs. This means that tree service providers should be very careful when choosing their insurance providers.
What does TCIA say?
According to America’s Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), some tree service insurers have more specialized coverage and industry knowledge than others.
ArborMax provides risk management services in association with TCIA, along with the following special insurance options:
- Waiver of subrogation
- Blanket Additional Insured’s at no extra costs
- Special pesticide & herbicide applicator coverage
- Commercial Auto and Commercial General Liability with broadening endorsement
- Crane insurance without boom and overload exclusions
- Per project aggregate
Therefore, TCIA has endorsed the ArborMAX insurance program as one of the best tree service insurance packages in the USA.