What Types of Insurance Does a Tree Trimming Business Need?

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Tree Trimming Business Insurance Quotes

Costs for business insurance can vary greatly, and getting insurance quotes from multiple companies is recommended in order to get the best pricing.

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Quick Reference

Tree trimming is a business that offers a wide variety of services and reaches many clients. From homeowners to homeowner associations, from businesses to government contracts, professional tree trimming and tree removal is always needed. There is a lot of opportunity in starting a tree trimming business and with that opportunity comes risk. Knowing the types of tree trimming insurance that will best protect your business will help alleviate the financial loss associated with the risks.

Related: Guide to starting a tree trimming business

What Are Some of the Risks for a Tree Trimming Business?

Tree trimmers use heavy and specialized equipment to do difficult jobs like tree trimming, tree removal, debris removal, which puts them at risk for cuts, falls, being hit by debris, and more. Also, the customer’s property can be damaged by the equipment and debris. Some exposures to risk in the business include:

  • Employee injury
  • Damage to client’s property
  • Car accidents
  • Damage to business equipment
  • Environmental hazards from chemical use

Not only is having insurance important to protect your equipment and employees, but many customers will also require a certificate of insurance (COI) before allowing work to start. In many state jobs, workers’ comp insurance will be needed for any employee or contractor working on the project.

Employee Injury

During cutting, trimming, and downing trees, an employee may be injured. They use heavy, power equipment and sharp tools, which can cause injuries. Additionally, injuries occur from contact with debris or falling out of trees.

Damage to Client’s Property

The client’s property is at risk of damage when a tree is trimmed or cut down. The falling branches and trunk could fall on and damage roofs, cars, fences, and other property. It is essential to give employees proper training for safely removing branches and tree trunks to avoid damaging a client’s property.

Car Accidents

Vehicles are used in the business to drive between job locations. The risk of car accidents is significant in this field. Trailers are frequently used to haul materials, and accidents can happen when backing up or driving with a trailer in tow.

Damage to Equipment

A variety of equipment and tools are needed by tree companies that are exposed to vandalism, damage, or theft. Some specialized assets, like bucket trucks, chippers, and cranes, are expensive to replace. Specialized equipment is especially at risk of being stolen or vandalized because of its high value.

Environmental Hazards

At times, there will be a need to use pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers to treat or maintain trees. These chemicals could become airborne and affect unintended areas or enter a drainage system. This could lead to claims regarding environmental safety.

Moreover, if the chemicals leak or catch fire, there is a potential for toxic fumes to cause damage and illness.

 

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Types of Insurance Coverage a Tree Trimming Business Should Consider

Although there are a handful of hazards associated with tree trimming, a well-rounded tree service business insurance package will protect your business from financial strain if a claim were to happen. A tree trimming business should consider the following policies:

  • Workers’ compensation
  • General liability
  • Automobile
  • Inland marine
  • Environmental impairment

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation, sometimes called workers’ comp, covers the medical expenses and loss of income if an employee is injured on the job. Falls, concussions, cuts, and broken bones can all happen since the crew is working with heavy machines and oftentimes, working high up in a tree. In the worst scenarios, death is a possible risk associated with tree trimming. A workers’ comp policy also helps to cover funeral expenses.

Proper training, experience, and supervision are essential to protecting employees from harm, but in the case when an accident does occur, workers’ compensation coverage helps to protect the business from additional liability.

Workers’ compensation insurance covers:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral costs
  • Disability
  • Lost wages
  • Illness (for example, illness due to chemical exposure)

How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost?

The cost for a workers’ comp policy will vary depending on the pay the employee receives and the type of work done. Due to the business being high risk, a business can expect to pay around $2,700 annually.

General Liability Insurance: Premises and Operations

A general liability policy for premises and operations will cover property damage or personal injury claims if a third party is injured. The injury or damage may occur at the business owner’s location, like trips and falls. However, claims are more likely to occur at the client’s location where the work is being done.

Falling limbs and debris may damage a client’s property. Also, a bodily injury liability claim could arise if a third party is injured by falling limbs or wood chips from the chipper. Proper care and training should be enforced to prevent a liability claim.

However, if a claim does occur, general liability coverage will cover:

  • Court costs
  • Settlements
  • Injuries or damages to a third party

How Much Does a General Liability Policy Cost?

A general liability policy will cost around $400 – $1,000 annually.

Automobile Insurance

Commercial automobile insurance will cover the vehicles owned and operated by the business. Any trucks, cars, and trailers are covered under the policy. The policy will cover claims for liability (when the insured’s vehicle causes damage or injury to a third party), physical damage to the insured’s autos, and medical payments for the driver.

Since vehicles are often used in the regular operations of the business, it is important to have proper coverage. Accidents can happen on the road to and from job sites, or they can occur when an employee backs the trailer into a client’s driveway.

Tree trimming businesses are hired for projects after storms and when trees block roads or lean against power lines. This means that occasionally, drivers may drive down uneven or unfinished terrain, which can also lead to an accident. Although accidents happen, insurance will help prevent financial hardship on the business because of the accident.

How Much Does Automobile Insurance Cost?

Automobile insurance will fluctuate depending on the type of vehicle insured. Specialty vehicles will be costlier to insure as they are costlier to replace. On average, a business can expect to pay around $1,700 annually per vehicle.

Inland Marine Insurance

An inland marine policy will provide coverage for the equipment owned by the tree trimming business. Also, it will cover the shipping of trees for clients. The amount of coverage needed will depend on how big the business is and how much equipment is used. If your business uses chippers, stump grinders, cranes, or other heavy specialized equipment, there would need to be considerable coverage to protect those items.

An equipment floater is an additional insurance that protects the equipment if it is damaged and if the items are vandalized or stolen. This policy follows the equipment wherever it goes, so this policy will cover the equipment if the incident happens at the client’s location or on the road between jobs.

An inland marine policy will also provide what is called bailee coverage. Bailee coverage protects a customer’s property while it is in the care of the business. For example, if a client wants a tree transported from one location to another, this policy will protect the business from liability while the tree is in your care.

How Much Does an Inland Marine Policy Cost?

The average cost of an inland marine policy is $2,500.

Environmental Impairment Liability

Environmental impairment liability is sometimes referred to as pollution insurance. At times, chemicals are used to treat trees for pests and diseases. There is a risk of the chemicals becoming airborne when sprayed, polluting other areas.

Also, during transport, use, or storage of the chemicals, there is a risk of damage if they leak or catch fire. Having an environmental impairment policy helps cover this liability.

This insurance policy covers:

  • Liability claims
  • Legal fees
  • Clean-up costs

How Much Does Environmental Impairment Liability Cost?

The cost will vary depending on the exposure and the amount of coverage on the policy. However, an average policy will cost between $1,200 – $1,900 annually.

The Bottom Line

There will always be trees to trim, treat, or remove. A tree trimming business has plenty of opportunities to grow, and with that growth comes additional risk in regards to liability or damages. Insurance is a great way to strengthen the safety net around your business to keep it protected.

The annual business insurance costs for a tree service company are:

  • Workers’ compensation – $2,700
  • General liability – $400 – $1,000
  • Automobile – $1,700
  • Inland marine – $2,500
  • Environmental impairment – $1,200 – $1,900

A tree trimming business may pay between $8,500 – $9,800 per year on insurance. Of course, the price fluctuates depending on the size of the company, the number of employees, and the scope of the work. Overall, the best way to protect your company from financial hardship due to accidents and losses is to have a comprehensive tree service insurance policy.

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