Would you drive a car without insurance? If not, then you shouldn't ever hire a landscaper or tree specialist without insurance, either. Yet looking for insured and bonded contractors might not be your top concern—after all, these guys are professionals. What could go wrong?
Truth is, whenever you hire a company or individual for lawncare, mulching, irrigation, weed control, maintenance, planting or tree removal, you're taking on the burden of possible mistakes. And the mistakes made by uninsured contractors can be extremely costly. The most reputable and trustworthy lawncare and tree specialists should have 3 distinct types of insurance for us to consider them fully covered.
- First of all, they need to carry General Liability insurance, which covers—you guessed it—general damages to your home or yard. That could mean everything from your picket fence to your tool shed. General liability insurance is so important because your personal homeowner's insurance doesn't cover damages by outside contractors—it's your job to scrutinize those companies and make sure they're able to foot the bill. Damage from falling limbs and accidental fires isn't as uncommon as you think.
- Second, contractors must have Worker's Compensation, which covers injuries to their own employees due to falls, electrocution, et cetera. Tree removal especially is very risky business, and every decent contractor should have worker's compensation.
- Finally, contractors need to have Commercial Auto Insurance. This covers any and all damage done to your property through the company's vehicles—without it, you're the one stuck footing the bill when a worker backs into your bay window by accident. In extreme cases, lawncare companies have even struck pedestrians on or near a worksite, resulting in exorbitant court fees—for the homeowner, not the contractor.
That's why you need to be extra careful about who you let onto your property to undertake major (and even minor) work. Many people don't know anything about their liability when it comes to outside contractors, and they're in for a rude awakening if and when something goes wrong. Make the smart choice and research your lawn or tree professional's credentials first, and you won't be sorry later. #contractorliability #contractorinsurance