Insurance Coverage for Arborists… tree surgeons need protection too

Posted by Matt Simon on Jun 2, 2016

As a responsible arborist, you take great pride in your knowledge of the best ways to care for, and maintain trees.

We think that type of specialized care and dedication to your craft is worth protecting should your business or its reputation be put at risk because of a claim.

The fact is, your line of work can be extremely risky whether it’s an injury from a falling tree branch to damaged property that you’re working on.

When you manage trees and shrubs professionally, you need specialized Arborist Insurance that covers the risks you encounter in your day-to-day work.

Like any other business, arborists need a variety of insurance coverages to ensure their operation is protected. Additionally, rules and coverages can vary from state to state, so understanding Ohio arborist insurance is essential.

Commercial General Liability Insurance

As an arborist, or a professional tree service business, Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance is a must. This policy would protect you when lawsuits or financial losses occur.

A typical CGL policy provides coverage for claims of bodily injury or other physical injury, personal injury (libel or slander), advertising injury and property damage as a result of your products, premises or operations.

For example, you cut down a tree for one of your clients, but the tree ends up falling on the neighbor’s property. Not only is the tree on his property, but it hit his vehicle and caused extensive damage.

Without a CGL policy, you or your business would be paying for the damages out of your own pocket.

As a safeguard against these types of liability claims, the General Liability Insurance policy enables you to continue your normal operations while dealing with real or fraudulent claims of negligence or wrongdoing. CGL policies also provide coverage for the cost to defend and settle claims.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial Auto Insurance is another important policy that an Ohio arborist business must consider because you’re relying on vehicles to get you from one client to another.  Doesn’t matter if you have one truck, or a dozen employees that you’ve provided with a company vehicle, you still need Commercial Auto Insurance.

A Commercial Auto Policy can be used to insure vehicles for:

  1. Liability – this would protect the business owner in the event of an at-fault accident where the owner, or any employees, caused injuries to others while driving a company vehicle
  2. Physical damage to the vehicles owned by the business if they’re involved in an accident, stolen or vandalized
  3. Or both Liability and Physical Damage

Imagine being on your way to visit with a new client.   You’re waiting to turn left at an intersection.  You look both ways, but the sun is in your eyes so you don’t get a good view of oncoming traffic.  All appears to be clear, so you proceed.

Unfortunately, you pull right in front of a motorcycle.  He lays the bike down before colliding with your vehicle.  While not life threatening, the injuries and damages are still extensive.

Your Commercial Auto policy could cover the property damage to the motorcycle and your car, the medical expenses, and any potential legal costs involved.

Contractor’s Equipment Insurance

In addition to the vehicles that you’re using to haul equipment, you’ll also need to insure the equipment.

The standard Commercial Property Insurance policy provides coverage for your equipment, but it’s only covered while it's on your premises.

For an arborist business that routinely has most of its equipment away from its office premises, this creates a problem.

In order to protect these types of items that are regularly off your premises, you need an Inland Marine policy (also known as a Contractor's Equipment policy or floater).   

For example, if you were to leave a large chainsaw on customer property for the night and you returned in the morning to find it had been stolen, an Inland Marine policy could cover those costs even though it didn’t occur on your business premises.  A Commercial Property policy would not provide coverage.

Professional Liability Insurance

Many arborists are providing consultations with their clients, or offering advice on how best to handle a specific situation with a tree or trees.  Any time you find yourself in this ‘consultant’ role, or you’re providing professional advice to your clients, you open yourself up to a Professional Liability claim.

Imagine you diagnose your client’s favorite tree with a disease which requires its immediate removal.  Your client later accuses you of a misdiagnosis and is bringing a lawsuit against you.  This type of claim would not be covered by a General Liability policy, but could be if you have the right Professional Liability Insurance in place.

Who needs arborist insurance?

  • Hardscaping professionals
  • Landscape gardening professionals
  • Tree pest management specialists
  • Tree pruners
  • Tree removal specialists
  • Tree trimmers

Conclusion

Finding the best insurance policy for arborist businesses in Ohio, and figuring out the types of coverage needed to protect your business, can be confusing, time consuming and difficult.

However, the right insurance protection is still critical to the success of your business.  Without it, you're one claim away from being out of business.

And remember, not all policies are created equal.

You probably wouldn’t go to your eye doctor instead of your dentist if you were having a toothache, right?  Just because they’re both doctors doesn’t mean they have the same skillset.

Just the same, you need an Insurance Advisor that understands your industry, your risks of loss, and how best to protect you and your business.

We can help.

We know the industry, we understand your needs, and we work with multiple insurance companies so we can deliver the insurance solution that’s perfect for your business, and your budget.

When you have confidence in your business insurance, you have greater peace of mind knowing that you can keep working to generate revenue, even when disaster strikes. 

To get started on your customized solution, contact one of our Licensed Advisors, or Request a Proposal and we’ll get to work right away.

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Category: Business Insurance (4), Commercial Auto Insurance (4), General Liability Insurance (4), Professional Liability Insurance (4)