Do you know what insurance cover is right for you and your business? We have some advice and tips for anyone who has a landscaping business, as accidents do happen and the consequences can be devastating.
On average around fifty self-employed people die from workplace injuries every year, so the right insurance cover is a necessity rather than a luxury.
If you are a large landscaping business with several divisions, or if you are a one-man band there will be low risk and high risk aspects of what you do and it is essential that you have the right insurance cover.
What does the law state that you need to have?
If you are an employer, you need the correct health and safety procedures in place for a safe working environment. You will also need to ensure that you have a competent person to deal with any health and safety issues.
If you are a larger landscaping business with five or more employees, it is a legal requirement to have a written health and safety policy. This must be communicated to your staff and form part of the day to day running of the business. This policy will minimise the potential risks your business could pose to members of the public, other contractors, your customers, and your own employees.
Employers Liability insurance
If you have employees, you must have Employers Liability Insurance. This is a legal requirement and protects your business against compensation claims from an employee getting injured or becoming ill during work.
Public Liability Insurance
If you are a sole trader and don’t have any employees, it is advisable that as a minimum you have adequate public liability insurance.
Public Liability Insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but is certainly something you should have. This insurance protects your business against injury to members of the public, your customers, other contractors and or damage to their property from your business activities.
If you are a small business and most of your work is domestic, you will need lower levels of cover. Larger businesses, working on larger sites and commercial work, will require higher limits from £5 million and upwards. Local councils and larger commercial customers will often insist on the higher levels of cover before you undertake the work.
Risk Assessments; do you need them and how many should you have?
The law expects you to have written risk assessments in place for key activities of your business, including the following circumstances:
- Wet, uneven, or slippery surfaces
- Steep banks
- Insufficient standing space at the top of a bank
- Heat and sunshine
- Cold and wet environmental conditions
- Moving traffic
- Remote locations (Lone working)
- Vehicles & moving machinery
- Flying debris
- Noise levels
- Carrying and or operating strimmer’s for long periods
- Damaged and or defective equipment
- Working at height and depth
- Accidental chemical spillage or leakage’s
- Repetitive manual work
- Contact with power cables
- Lifting and carrying tools and materials
- Chemical handling
What do we need from you to arrange your insurance?
To ensure that you have the adequate insurance cover we can work with you to guarantee that you have the right insurance cover and that you get the best deal for your money.
This is the information we need from you to obtain quotations:
- Employee numbers or wage and turnover levels
- The type of work undertaken
- The type of premises that you will be working on
- Is the cover required for work at height? For example, tree felling and lopping
- The number of years’ experience
- Details of any specialist equipment used
- Details of previous claims
- The indemnity limit
Once we have this information we will identify the best policy for you and provide you with a quote for the required premium.
Are there any additional cover extensions that a landscape business should consider?
In our experience, landscape gardening businesses often need additional cover for some or all of the following:
- If you own plant, tools, and equipment you will need cover for this whilst on site, in transit and in storage.
- If you hire plant and equipment you will need cover for the potential risks from storing the equipment on site, whilst in transit and when in storage.
- If you undertake contract works you will need protection against potential damage to work in progress on site.
- If you have stock, you will need to be covered for theft and damage to your stock.
- If your employees could be injured whilst working your cover will need to be available as either a capital sum and or as a weekly benefit for your employees who may be injured in work and therefore unable to work and earn.
- If, as a business, you provide advice to customers or other contractors you should consider Professional Indemnity Insurance, providing cover for financial loss resulting from the advice you provide.
If any of these situations relate to your business, then you should be looking for these cover extensions. If these aren’t in place we would advise that you speak to your insurer, or call us, sooner rather than later.
What happens if a claim is made?
Liability claims, especially those involving injuries, may be quite long drawn out affairs.
If you are issued with a liability claim you need to keep detailed notes of the incident and take as many photographs as possible.
Notify your broker or insurer immediately. The insurers will gather all the information required to establish whether your business is liable for the claim. If you are they will arrange a settlement with the injured party.
If you are not liable, a suitable defence will be put forward by the insurers and any defence costs associated will be picked up by the insurers also.
Loss or Damage Claims
Loss or damage claims are more simple to deal with but again must be reported to your insurers or broker.
Small losses can usually be dealt with by completing a claim form and submitting relevant purchase or replacements receipts.
Larger losses, like fires or loss of large items of plant, will often require the services of loss adjusters to arrange the relevant settlement.
Once you have the right cover in place you will have the peace of mind that, should the unthinkable happen, the claim will not result in your business suffering financial hardship and even closure.
Whatever the size of your landscaping business, by having suitable health and safety procedures in place along with the correct insurance cover, you will ensure the longevity of your business and will protect the financial position which you have worked so hard to establish.