Protecting your landscaping business with commercial auto insurance
Running a landscaping business requires a great deal of travel. A typical workday in the life of a landscaper might involve traveling to buy or load materials, fueling equipment, or visiting suppliers to pick up materials. It may also involve traveling to several job sites in different cities or dumping debris at waste facilities. The more your vehicles are on the road, the greater the risk of being involved in an accident.
If you’re a landscaping business owner, you probably drive your own vehicle to the shop to start the day. But you likely send out at least one company vehicle, such as a trailer and/or a truck, to transport large items like lawnmowers, blowers, trees, shrubs, pipes, fencing and masonry tools, and more. Landscapers don’t travel light.
Do landscapers need a commercial auto policy?
The short answer is yes. First, small businesses like landscapers are required by law to carry commercial auto insurance in every state except New Hampshire and Virginia. Even if you live in one of those two states, you and your drivers can still be held liable for damages to commercial vehicles.
Even if insurance is not required in your state, with all the traveling involved in the landscaping industry, a commercial policy is still a wise choice.
You’re a safe driver, and you believe your team members are also safe behind the wheel. But none of us know what kind of roads, traffic, and weather conditions we’ll encounter. Not to mention the other drivers with whom we share the road. Accidents happen, and your personal auto policy may not cover your commercial vehicles or their drivers.
What does commercial auto insurance cover for landscapers?
In the event you or your crew get into a collision when driving to or from the worksite, you can rely on your auto insurance to support you in the case of vehicle and/or property damages, medical bills, lawsuits, and more. What your auto insurance covers will depend on your policy. Your commercial auto coverage may include:
- Collision to cover any costs associated with your work vehicle being hit by, or hitting, another vehicle. This includes the cost to repair or replace the damaged vehicles involved in the accident or collision.
- Comprehensive to cover any damages that may occur without an accident. For example, vandalism or weather-related damages.
- Auto liability to protect you and your company’s assets should another driver sue your business after an accident with a work vehicle.
- Personal injury or medical payments to cover any medical expenses should the occupants of a work vehicle be injured in an accident.
- Uninsured or underinsured to cover repair or medical costs after an accident if a driver doesn’t have personal auto insurance or insufficient coverage.
Factors to consider when shopping for a policy include the number of vehicles you need to insure and the level of risk your business faces (based on how you use those vehicles).
Landscaping business insurance should be comprehensive because you and your employees travel more frequently than someone who owns a bakery, for example. You also carry expensive tools, supplies, and equipment with you, whether you’re installing a fence, laying a patio, or simply providing a “mow, blow, and go” lawn care service.
What happens if you don’t have auto insurance?
A personal auto policy will rarely (if ever) provide enough coverage for landscape contractors. You’re expected to have higher liability insurance limits when you transport materials, equipment, and people.
Personal liability is also problematic because of titling issues. An individual policy is in the holder’s name, whereas a business policy is in the business’s name. For that reason, if a claim is filed against the company, but the policy is in an individual’s name, the claim will likely be denied.
Additionally, with a commercial policy, employees, partners, and stockholders are also considered insured drivers, as long as they have permission to use the vehicle for the landscaping work the vehicle is classified to do.
If you don’t have commercial auto insurance and your crew is driving your vehicle under your individual policy, they won’t be considered insured drivers and won’t be covered under that plan.
Not covered yet?
Operating a vehicle for your business comes with risks. Even the safest driver can find themselves in circumstances out of their control, and no one wants to be stuck paying the cost of repairs out of their own pocket.
Luckily, commercial auto insurance can help you avoid expensive repairs and keep your landscaping business running smoothly. Think you may need a policy? Pie can help with that!