Recommended Insurance: Small Landscaper

July 13th, 2009
by Drew Roberts, CPCU, ARM

Landscaper with 2 Employees

Landscaper with 2 Employees

In a previous article, I recommended insurance to landscapers with one owner and no employees. In this article, I will discuss how the insurance needs change when the landscaping business grows and adds two employees. The primary difference in recommended insurance coverage is that the landscaper should add workers’ compensation coverage to protect the company from the liability of injury to these employees.

For a local landscaping business with one owner and two employees, we recommend that the business carries four insurance coverages: general liability, commercial auto, equipment floater, and workers’ compensation.

1. General Liability: This policy provides protection to your business from many types of lawsuits. We recommend that you obtain limits of $1,000,000 for each occurrence and $2,000,000 for the policy period. For lawn maintenance companies, your premium for this coverage will be around 650 dollars for the year and if you install landscapes, your premium will be slightly higher at around 850 dollars. Depending on your business model and other variables, we have several insurance carriers that might be able to offer lower premiums.

2. Commercial Auto: This policy provides protection for your vehicles and the liability arising out of their use. It is important to move the vehicles you use for your business to a commercial auto policy instead of a personal auto policy. We recommend a limit on this coverage to be $1,000,000 combined single limit, and for small landscapers wishing to save money, we recommend that you should not go below $500,000 combined single limit. For a landscaper with two drivers, one truck worth around 10,000 dollars, and one trailer worth around 5,000 dollars, the premium will vary depending on your radius of operations and driving record. If your drivers have a good driving record, you are looking at a premium in the ballpark of 1,500 dollars to 3,000 dollars depending on all those variables. We have many insurance carriers we use for these policies, but have been very pleased with Travelers’ and Progressive’s commercial auto rates and service for landscapers with fewer than 5 vehicles.

3. Equipment Floater: This policy provides protection for your equipment against a variety of exposures with the highest threat being theft. Lawn mowing equipment and landscape installation equipment can be very expensive for a new business and you want to make sure this equipment is protected. For a landscaper with 15,000 to 30,000 worth of equipment, you can expect a premium on this coverage in the range of 200 dollars to 600 dollars. We often package this coverage in wit the general liability insurance policy, but we can also write it by itself through a few insurance carriers.

4. Workers’ Compensation: This policy provides protection for your business when your employees are injured during the course of employment. It will pay the state regulated hospital expenses and a portion of the payroll from missing time off work. Most states do not require your business to carry workers’ compensation insurance until you have over 3 employees, but we recommend that you carry it regardless. Even if you have one part time employee, our agents recommend that you purchase this coverage to protect your business in the event that an employee gets injured. In Florida, for two employees with an annual remuneration of 30,000 dollars, you are looking at a total premium of 1,470 dollars for your workers compensation coverage if your business operations are landscape maintenance and 2,250 dollars of premium if your operations are landscape installation.

With these four insurance coverages, your small landscaping business will have the protection it needs to avoid the losses that would otherwise end your landscaping career. These policies will allow your business to be protected from most loss exposures, so you can focus on expanding your clientele. For more information or to receive comparative insurance quotes, please contact us or complete the online quote request form. We enjoy working with landscapers of all sizes and look forward to being your insurance advisor as your business grows over time.

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