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The coverage you carry could make the difference between winning or losing a large bid—or protecting your business if customers’ data is stolen.


A landscape professional sells a lawn care contract that includes fertilizer and weed control—but because accidents happen, the wrong product is sprayed and kills off an area of grass. The client is upset, and so is the landscaper. He wants to fix the problem without charging the customer, but it won’t be cheap. And he realizes that he does not have professional liability coverage.

Now what?

A landscape design/build firm is bidding on a large project for an HOA. The property manager wants to see the company’s insurance to make sure it includes a waive of segregation and a limit to protect the association. But these two coverages are missing.

Insurance needs for landscapers depend on the services a business offers, the types of properties it services and the scope of projects. There are certain coverages that are necessary regardless of the service mix, including professional liability. Here are some important considerations.

Business Basics

A business owners policy (BOP) that includes property and general liability is important if you own property (a headquarters or equipment yard), or if there is business personal property you need to insure. Be sure to pay close attention to exclusions. For example, some policies do not include general liability for landscaping on new residential
properties (track home developments) because of the risk of construction deed back claims. Employee practices liability protects you against employment related claims from staff, independent contractors (subs) or even people applying for jobs at your business. And if you accept electronic payments or collect clients’ data online, you should seriously consider cyber protection in case of a data breach. Cyber protection can help cover costs related to identity recovery.

Trucks, Trailers & Equipment

New landscape startups might figure that personal auto coverage is sufficient. But even if you’re using a personal vehicle for business purposes, you should carry the proper insurance in case an accident occurs. As for equipment, the type of coverage required depends on your business model. For instance, a policy designed for a lawn care company that is focused on fertilizer and weed control is different than an operation that builds upscale outdoor living spaces. Be sure the limit on contractors’ equipment coverage is appropriate. If you rent equipment, consider coverage for non-owned tools.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation protects your business if employees are injured on the job—and landscaping is a physically demanding job. Accidents happen. The type of coverage you need depends on exposures employees might experience. For instance, a company performing tree work that operates cranes has different risk exposures than a mowing business that is focused on maintenance only. Companies that have safety protocols and training programs in place could get better premium pricing—especially if these best practices result in a clean track record, which is measured by Experience Modification Factor. This benchmarks where your claims stand vs. similar businesses to determine if you are more or less of a risk to an insurer.

Navigating the Insurance Landscape

You’re in the business of maintaining healthy landscapes and adding value to clients’ properties—not reading fine print on insurance documents or navigating jargon-filled exclusions. Just as your customers hire you to do expert work that they could not do on their own, rely on a knowledgeable insurance advisor who can educate you about the coverage you really need.