There are many benefits of being a tree removal expert. Perhaps you work for a large company and get to spend your days enjoying the beautiful weather outdoors. Or maybe you're a business owner, and get to feel empowered as an entrepreneur; taking the jobs you want to take and making a name for yourself as a tree service company.
However, as any arborist knows, there are many dangers related to your line of work. Anytime you climb up a tree or use power tools to trim and shape a client's landscaping, there is a chance that something could go wrong. Even the most experienced and well-practiced arborists can make a mistake from time to time.
Not to mention, if a third-party is near your worksite while felling trees, there is a chance that they could get hurt or that property could get damaged. It's all too common for tree branches to fall on cars or to go through windows. Having the right arborist insurance in Ontario is essential for protecting you and your business from financial ruin due to a lawsuit or injury.
Also known as tree removal insurance, arborist insurance is a broad term for a range of different coverages that can be tailored to your business' specific needs. For instance, an arborist working out of their truck has different needs than a company that employs multiple arborists and has a fleet of commercial vehicles.
No matter how proactive you are and how diligently you follow safety protocols, it's impossible to mitigate all risks. As the saying goes, accidents happen. Even the most highly-trained arborist could fall from a ladder, or slip while using a chainsaw and cause serious bodily harm. And those are only a couple of examples of the harm that could befall yourself, let alone if you're responsible for employees or if a client happens to be nearby as a tree branch is cut down. Insurance is essential for ensuring that your business does not go bankrupt because of an accident. If you don't have insurance, you'll be forced to pay for damages, settlements, legal fees and medical costs all out of pocket. This can be a serious financial strain for most people.
Whether you work as a seasonal employee, a sub-contractor or if you own an arborist tree removal business, you need to have arborist insurance. Many customers will not feel comfortable hiring an arborist who is not properly insured. And, if you employ subcontractors, it's essential that they have their own coverage as well. A few tree services that should ensure they have arborist insurance include:
Your arborist insurance policy can be uniquely tailored to your specific needs. There are many types of insurance that can be added to your policy, and different arborist insurance companies offer different extensions of coverage. For this reason, it's best to partner with a qualified broker such as the team at Morison Insurance. By shopping around for competitive rates at the province's top arborist insurance carriers, we will find you a policy that offers the best coverage for your needs. For example, your tailored insurance policy could include any of the following types of coverage
Also known as errors and omissions insurance, professional liability arborist insurance is essential for tree service professionals. Professional liability differs from general liability protection, which we'll dive into in a moment. Essentially, professional liability protects you against claims of misconduct, negligence, failure to deliver a promised service, bad advice and breach of contract that result in a client and/or third-party experiencing financial damages. An example of this could be if a client is trying to sell their home, chooses your company to complete landscaping work, and then the landscaper makes a mistake, like cutting down the wrong tree, which makes it harder for the client to sell their home. Likewise, if you're supposed to finish pruning trees by a certain deadline before a house goes up for sale but you don't meet this deadline, it's possible a client could lose money. Then they would be within their rights to sue you. With errors and omissions coverage, your tree service business is protected financially. The insurance will offset the cost of legal fees and settlement costs.
A commercial general liability insurance policy covers two essential risks: that of bodily injury to a third-party while you're completing your tree services, and that of third-party property damage. An example of this could be if you cut down a tree branch and it lands on someone's car, damaging the vehicle. You could be found responsible for the damage, and possibly sued over the damage incurred. Likewise, say while performing your tree care services a felled tree accidentally lands in a third-party's backyard and injures their playing children. You could wind up in serious legal—and financial—trouble because of this incident. General liability arborist insurance will help offset legal defense costs and settlement costs.
If you own a commercial building where you store equipment or operate a head-office out of, then you need comprehensive coverage to protect the space from a range of perils. Usually, a commercial property insurance policy will cover the cost to repair and/or replace your physical building and any tools, equipment and inventory within in the event of an accident or disaster. For instance, if a fire burned down your head office, this type of insurance would help you repair/replace the building. If you don't have commercial property insurance, you'd be forced to pay for these repairs out-of-pocket. Usually, this type of coverage also offers protection against theft and vandalism. It's important to ask your Morison Insurance broker to go over your commercial property insurance policy so you know what it entails.
If you own a vehicle for strictly commercial purposes, then you likely already have a commercial auto insurance policy. However, if you use a personal vehicle you may not realize that a personal auto policy will not provide coverage if the vehicle or any possessions within the vehicle are stolen or damaged while being used for work. For arborists and other tree removal specialists, the concern is that your equipment will get stolen from your vehicle while on a job. If you use a personal vehicle for work purposes and it's not insured correctly, you may not be able to claim the loss.
Do you own multiple commercial vehicles for your arborist business? Then you may want to ask your insurance broker about fleet insurance. In a nutshell, fleet insurance allows you to insure all your commercial vehicles under one policy—rather than individually. You also usually have the choice to insure all drivers to all vehicles, or assign named drivers. This can help you save on your insurance premiums, and also makes it easier in that any of your employees can drive any of your insured vehicles.
If you operate a tree care business from home, especially if you store tools and equipment at your house, then you need to have home-based business insurance coverage. Most homeowners policies will not provide coverage for any business-related activities that take place at your home. This includes if tools and equipment that you use for commercial purposes are stolen or damaged in a fire or flood.
Your tools of the trade are one of the most important aspects of running a tree care business. If something happens to your tools and you're forced to replace them, the costs can be astronomical. This may force you to take out an additional loan, or close your business down for good. Equipment insurance is essential for protecting heavy equipment from external damage, vandalism and theft. It's important to note that this type of insurance does not cover equipment malfunction or other internal problems.
This type of arborist insurance is essential for all types of contractors, including arborists. Business interruption insurance covers you for loss of income during periods when you can't conduct business as usual due to a covered event. Sometimes, business interruption insurance can help you cover the cost of renting your office building and paying employee wages while you can't operate to your full capacity.
Similar to general liability coverage, pollution liability insurance covers third-party bodily injury, property damage and environmental damage caused by either gradual or sudden pollution events that occur on job sites. For instance, if you use fertilizer and accidentally use too much, poisoning a client's lawn. Or, if a child got into the harmful chemicals some arborists use while maintaining trees and needed to go to the hospital. You could wind up in serious legal and financial trouble in this situation. That's why it's important to ensure you're properly protected.
There are many ways that your unique arborist insurance policy can protect you from financial loss due to a range of risks. The above are just a few examples of what can be included in your arborist insurance policy. If you'd like further insight about what protection these coverages offer and how you can be sure to have the most protection possible, reach out to our dedicated and licensed Morison Insurance brokers today.
Do you have questions about arborist insurance? Our team has the answers. We've answered a few commonly asked questions about arborist insurance below. If you don't see your question here, feel free to reach out to our brokers. We love chatting with clients!
There are a number of factors that impact arborist insurance rates. A few of these include, but are not limited to:
In addition to the above factors, arborist insurance costs vary per provider, and by how much coverage you need. The best way to establish how much your unique arborist insurance will cost is by obtaining a quote from one of our qualified Morison Insurance brokers.
The limitations of your insurance depends on how much coverage you purchase. That said, each type of coverage will have its own exceptions as well. For instance, tools and equipment insurance does not cover damage from general wear and tear or damage incurred because of poor maintenance. To best understand the limitations of your policy, speak with an insurance broker today.
Before purchasing arborist insurance, it's important to gather all the necessary documents and information needed to get an accurate quote. Some of the documents you should ensure you have prepared include your payroll estimates, information regarding previous claims, and annual revenue estimates. In addition to that paperwork, you should also be prepared to answer a series of questions during the application process. Some of these questions may include:
To get an arborist insurance quote in Ontario, reach out to our friendly and experienced team today. Each of our brokers are experts at finding clients the best coverage possible at competitive rates. We can be reached at 1-800-463-8074 or via the online form below.