When researching a lawn care service to hire, most people look at customer ratings, testimonials, and ask around for quotes.
That’s all definitely crucial to making a smart hire. However, between the pricing and service comparisons, you may forget to ask yourself an essential question: what insurance coverage should my lawn service have?
Accidents happen in every job. You want to make sure you’re protected if property damage or an injury occurs while your lawn service is on site. But how can the average homeowner tell which companies are carrying the right coverage?
For pointers, we reached out to King Insurance, a family-owned Gainesville agency that offers business, home, and auto coverage in the southeast. King Insurance agent Chris Vermeulen offered some guidance on what kinds of coverage to look for when hiring a lawn care or landscaping service.
Guest Expert Chris Vermeulen of King Insurance: What Insurance Coverage Should My Lawn Service Have?
What essential insurance coverage should I look for in a lawn care or landscaping company?
You want to look for two key coverages: general liability and workers’ comp. Broadly speaking, general liability covers your lawn care company against claims for property damage or injuries. Workers’ comp covers medical expenses and payments to workers who become injured on the job.
What are the dangers of hiring an uninsured lawn service or landscaper?
Let’s say there’s an accident while an uninsured lawn service is working on your property. For instance, what if a rock gets shot out from under the lawn mower and breaks the windshield of a car parked on the curb, or even hits someone walking down the street?
If your lawn service doesn’t have a general liability policy, it opens up a claim against your homeowner’s policy and you could wind up facing a lawsuit. Not only will the expense of a lawsuit become a burden, but your insurance rates can also spike as a result of the incident, causing you headaches well into the future.
Then there’s the issue of somebody getting hurt while working for you.
Your lawn service is essentially a contractor of yours. If someone on the team is hurt and your lawn service doesn’t have workers’ comp, you could wind up on the hook for that person’s medical bills. Again, it will all come down on your homeowner’s policy and your shoulders.
How should I get proof of insurance from a lawn care service I’m thinking of hiring?
The first thing you’ll want to do is ask for the name of your lawn service’s insurance agent. Then you can call the agent and ask to see a current certificate of insurance. The agent should also be able to tell you about the type of coverage the company has.
Remember, anybody doing business dealings in the state of Florida has the right to call an insurance agent and ask for this type of information. It’s not nosy, it’s not high maintenance, you’re not asking the contractor for a favor.
This is just part of ensuring that you hire a legitimate business so you can rest easy while they’re on your property.
Are landscapers and lawn companies required to have insurance in Florida?
There are laws in place to ensure that the contractor has workers’ comp, but that part is open to some interpretation. It depends what kind of contractor it is and whether they’ve filed for any workers’ comp exemptions.
So ultimately, it’s up to you to do your homework and hire a properly insured lawn care service. Again, calling their insurance agent is the simplest way to find out what coverage they have.