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Mark Tarpinian, CLU, ChFC
Licensed Insurance Counselor
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7 Parts to Insuring Your Lawncare Business

You’ve worked hard to start, fund, and establish your business. You’ve invested a lot of money, but a great deal more sweat equity. The future is so bright you need shades on your eyes and all your windows. potential terms. Unknowingly you call a corner, big box insurance agency/company and ask for business insurance. They fix you up quick, and for what seems like an inexpensive price. There wasn’t much of an initial review, or there hasn’t been any review for years.Your business grows, you pay your premiums on time, and everything seems fine.

You assume you are covered well and concentrate on the business of lawn care and making money. Then an accident occurs, and you are rudely shocked to discover you are not covered the way you thought, or not covered at all! What was missed? A thorough review with a knowledgeable independent agent that wants to understand your business and offer you pertinent options. 

1.) General Liability Insurance: Provides for 3rd Party property damage and/or bodily injury. That typically means everyone else and their stuff, but not yours or your customers. And “your work” is specifically excluded. Examples: Your mower throws a stone and hits a neighbor’s car (property damage) or hits the neighbor (bodily injury)—the GL form would cover these. Your mower breaks an axel (your stuff) and plows into your customer’s beautiful, lush, green, pristine lawn (“your work” on your customers stuff) – the GL form would exclude these situations. Your GL policy must be endorsed separately to cover these situations. Is yours?. 

2.) Workers Compensation: Covers work-job related injuries and diseases. In the distant past, some group health policies would provide 24 hour coverage for business owners, then owners would exclude themselves from their works comp policies to save premium. With rare exception, all other health insurance policies specifically EXCLUDE coverage for work injuries. Moreover, in Michigan, uninsured 1099 Subcontractors are treated like w2 employees for both injury disease coverage, and the amount you pay them will be subject to premium charges.

3.) Commercial Auto Insurance:
 Covers vehicles and liability situations arising from and used for work/business operations. The policy form is structured and priced to cover business entities and employee drives/use of business vehicles. Personal auto policies cannot or will not cover your business or allow for business use by employees. In most case employee drivers need to be disclosed, and their driving records checked for insurance company eligibility. You may unknowingly not have coverage for an employee with an invalid, expired, or license with major violations, leaving your business fully at risk for an accident.

4.) Equipment Insurance:
 Covers your work stuff: hand tools, mowers, power rakes, blowers, vacuums, plows, salters, etc. Policies will make a distinction of on-premises (your business location cited on your policy) and off-premises (everywhere else) coverage for your equipment. Just because you have business personal property coverage don’t automatically assume your stuff is covered on the worksite. What about equipment you leave in a trailer parked on the street in front of your house? Or equipment storage in your personal, detached garage or pole barn? And surprise: if so, your homeowners policy might exclude coverage for the garage or pole barn.

5.) Crime Insurance: 
Covers criminal acts committed against or by you. Examples of common “crime” situations include someone stealing your business cash (robbery), stealing and forging business checks or withdrawals, an employee (current or former) stealing your stuff, or an employee stealing stuff from one of your customers. These situations are always excluded on the basic commercial liability and property forms/policies without endorsements. The proliferation and common use of the internet, and burgeoning hacking associated with it, have taken the issue of crime coverages for business to whole new level of risk and related surprises for the unsuspecting.

6.) Cyber Insurance:
 Covers the loss of “protected” customer information. If you lose customer names, addresses, phones numbers, and/or credit card and checking account information, State and Federal law and regulations require you to notify these customers that their info has been lost—that you have had a “data breach.” Theft of this data is no exception; theft is considered a loss, a breach, and you are responsible for it. Do you use a credit card vendor for customer payments? Not only do these vendors no longer afford you any coverage unless you buy an additional protection plan, they now will hold you responsible to reimburse them for the costs associated with issuing new cards, notification, and other expenses associated with the theft.

7.) Life Insurance: Do you have a spouse or children that depend on your income? Life insurance will pay a lump sum to your survivors when you die. This could very likely be both the least expensive and most important piece of insurance for your business. Do you want your mortgage paid off if you die? Are you the bread-winner? How many years worth of income does your family need replaced if you die? Term life insurance rates are inexpensive and can easily protect your family and replicate your business income for them. Check out samples of monthly premiums below:

Starting a lawn business and not sure where to start? Have a business and need help with the insurance? Contact Mark for experienced help.
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