Gardeners, landscapers, and garden centers all offer the necessary services to keep your garden well maintained and looking beautiful. Neat and tidy gardens and landscaped areas add value to your property and provide a quiet, peaceful place to anyone who is looking for an escape from the madness of everyday life.
Whether you are an at-home gardener, hobbyist, or commercial gardener, you should always have insurance cover to protect your tools of the trade, your property, your employees, and yourself from any unforeseen losses and damages. Insurance cover offers peace of mind when you need it most!
Insurance cover for any unforeseen damages and disasters is always a good idea for anyone running a business or even for providing cover for your own home. The risk of not having any cover is far outweighed by the costs involved in replacing your damaged, lost, or stolen items. The inconvenience of replacing these items places stress on the owner, whereas the insurance company is equipped to source and replace most damaged or stolen items.
Do You Need Insurance To Be A Gardener?
Insurance cover is an essential requirement for all gardeners and business owners. Whether you are an at-home gardener, a part-time hobbyist, or the owner of a commercial business or garden center, your business, employees, and even tools of the trade are at risk every day.
There are ways that you can cover the risk through self-insurance, but what happens if you suffer a major unforeseen event which leads to thousands of dollars worth of expenses? Can you afford to cover a risk like that? Can you afford to cover salaries, pay suppliers, or even cover your own running expenses?
If you feel that you can indeed afford to self-insure and cover significant expenses associated with unforeseen events, then all well and good. But if, like many people, you cannot afford any unexpected expenses and drains to your cash flow, what can you do? What options are available to you?
Insurance cover can offer peace of mind to the homeowner, hobbyist, self-employed, or commercial gardener when any unexpected events occur and your business, income, and even lives are at risk. Insurance offers compensation to the policyholder in the event of loss, damage, illness, or death.
Insurance premiums are paid to the Insurance company regularly. In return, the Insurance company will pay for unforeseen circumstances as agreed upon by the policyholder and the Insurance company in a policy schedule. Unforeseen events are defined as any event which could not have been predicted or known about beforehand.
The costs involved in taking out an insurance policy do differ depending on which items are at risk and which cover you require, so contact your nearest Insurance Company, Broker, or Financial Adviser when you have decided what you need insurance cover for.
Insurance Cover For The Homeowner Or Hobbyist
As a homeowner, you will probably have a lovely garden, even if it is a small patch. Some homes might not have a conventional outdoor garden but could have a balcony, veranda, or even a patio that has been converted into a garden area.
Hobbyists can even rent or own a small piece of land away from their own home, which can be used to grow their own produce for either re-sale or to feed their families. This is often an option for apartment dwellers who do not have access to a garden to grow their own produce but feel the need to spend time working in a garden.
The trend these days is to convert garden lawn areas into vegetable growing gardens or even orchids growing fruit trees.
An enclosed courtyard could be defined as a garden area as it could house a shed containing your tools or even be overnight storage for equipment used in the garden. Some courtyards are used as mini, secluded gardens, growing an abundance of plants in containers and pots.
Whichever garden area you have, you should, at the very least, have homeowner’s insurance to cover your tools and gardening equipment, shed, plants, or even your garden furniture from unforeseen events.
What Cover Do I Need As A Homeowner Or Hobbyist?
Other than damages caused to buildings and outbuildings by accidents, theft of tools from sheds and garages are often reported as crimes of opportunity. It is quicker for a thief to break into an outbuilding or steal an item from a garden than to try and enter a home!
To make sure that all your possessions and working tools are covered for all eventualities, the following cover is required for every homeowner or gardener:
- Homeowners insurance cover. This policy will provide financial relief in the event of damages to your property, home, or personal belongings. Compensation could be paid to cover damages or a total loss. Some homeowner’s policies offer liability, medical, and additional living expenses cover. Expensive tools and equipment can be added as additional items to your policy.
- Workmen’s compensation insurance. If you employ a part-time gardener to help out with odd jobs once a week, it is crucial to have this cover so that you are not personally liable for any injuries to the employee while on duty.
- Motor vehicle insurance cover. If you have a van that you are using for transporting your home-grown produce to the local market, you should change the risk cover on your insurance policy. Always declare your intentions to the Insurance company.
- Public liability insurance cover. This is to protect you from any claims that may be instituted against you by a third party. The third-party could trip up over a hose on your property and claim damages from you. This cover is paid annually and can be pretty pricey due to tools and equipment being involved.
Tips For Protecting Your Garden And Equipment
Insurance companies charge you a premium on your policy according to your risk requirements. If they evaluate your home and property and see that you have taken steps to secure your property, they may offer you reduced premiums.
Top tips to protect your garden and equipment:
- Fit strong padlocks to all shed and garage doors.
- Make it a rule that all tools are packed away into the shed or garage at the end of each day.
- Make sure that all the doors are sturdy and cannot be broken easily.
- Attach security bars to all windows.
- Install exterior lights near all doors and pathways.
- Install high fencing and grow thorny bushes around the perimeter of your garden.
- Keep the yard and garden clean from bricks and debris, which can be used during break-ins.
Is Insurance Cover A Requirement For Self-Employed Gardeners?
If you plan on turning your interest in gardening or your gardening hobby into a career and starting a small business, you will need insurance cover as a self-employed business person.
If the worst were to happen and you suffered some devastating, unforeseen event, could you, as a self-employed businessperson, cover the costs to replace what was damaged, or do you have enough savings to cover your bills and pay your staff if you employ any?
What will happen if a Client sues you or if you cannot cover salaries? As a small-business owner, you cannot afford not to have insurance cover.
Which Insurance Cover Do I Need As A Self-Employed Gardener?
While some types of insurance policies are a requirement by law, there are many different types of policies that would benefit you as a small-business owner. Before you decide what you can afford to pay on monthly and annual premiums, consider the compulsory cover you are required to have as these premiums will greatly add to the running costs of your business.
The type of insurance policy that you will need will depend on the following:
- Will you run your business from home or from an office?
- What assets will the business have, e.g., office equipment, tools, machinery?
- Will you buy or rent vehicles?
- Will you employ staff?
The different types of insurance cover that you will need can be divided into the below categories:
1. Protecting Your Assets
You can legally run your business from an office or out of your home, which is often the preferred method for smaller business owners. If you are running your business from your home, inform your current home insurer that you will be working from home. They may require you to make amendments to your existing cover to include your work equipment.
- Buildings and contents cover. This cover is for any damages to the building itself and will include any assets belonging to your business, like office equipment and computers.
- Tools insurance cover. Your tools are covered for the total replacement value if damaged or stolen. This cover will apply to tools that are away from the office at the time that they are damaged or stolen.
- Business vehicle insurance cover. This cover is to protect you in the event that the vehicle is stolen, involved in an accident, or suffers a breakdown.
2. Protecting Your Revenue
This particular section of cover is to protect your income in the event that your client is unable to settle their outstanding account to you. The insurance company will pay the amount directly to you and attempt to recover the funds from your client.
- Credit insurance cover. This cover will protect your business if a client fails to or is unable to pay you.
3. Protection Against Liabilities
This type of insurance cover offers protection against any and all claims made against you by your staff or clients. It will also cover legal costs and compensation claims.
- Employer liability insurance cover. If you do employ staff, you are legally required to have this cover which covers the costs of legal fees and compensation should an employee make a work-related illness or on-the-job injury claim.
- Professional liability insurance cover. This product covers you from claims made against you by a client should they suffer a financial loss due to any mistake made by you or your employees.
- Public liability insurance cover. This will cover compensation payments and your legal cost due to accidental damages or injury claims made against you by your client.
4. Protecting Yourself And Your Staff From Loss Of Income
This is an essential policy for you, particularly if you do not have any employees. If you cannot work for any length of time, you could be without any income during that time but still have your commitments to meet. If you do have staff, you are still required to pay their salaries even if your business has been affected by an unforeseen event.
- Life insurance cover. The company can pay premiums for coverage on your life and will then pay a lump sum to your family members should something unexpected happen to you. This offer can be extended to staff members as a group scheme.
- Income protection cover. This cover will pay out should you become ill or unable to work. An amount will be paid to you monthly by the insurance company until such time that you return to work or until the policy comes to an end. This cover is particularly useful for self-employed people who do not have sick leave and would be without any form of income should they get sick.
- Critical illness cover. If you become seriously ill or critically ill, this policy will pay you a lump sum amount which you can use as you wish to cover any costs.
- Medical insurance cover. Your medical costs will be paid by the insurer as you will need to return to work as quickly as possible. You could offer a group scheme to your employees.
Tips For Protecting Your Gardening Enterprise
As a self-employed gardening entrepreneur, you need to establish a good reputation by always being on time and by doing a great job. To do a great job, you will need great equipment and great employees. By providing excellent service, your business will grow, and you will need more equipment.
Word of mouth from your clients is an easy way to advertise your business without costing money, but this means being professional and portraying a good business image by having equipment that is always in good working order. Build your brand by being punctual, honest, and reliable.
You will need to inform your insurance company whenever you purchase new equipment. They will evaluate your risk portfolio and advise on ways to reduce your insured risk. By taking a few small preventative measures, you can ensure that your equipment is protected from unforeseen events and even breakdowns.
Top tips for protecting and establishing your gardening business:
- Maintain all your vehicles and equipment – make sure they are always in top working order
- Replace any old equipment that could injure an employee or the client
- Make sure that anyone who drives your vehicles has the necessary license and permits
- Make sure that anyone who operates any heavy machinery has the necessary permits
- Always provide the required safety clothing and equipment to your employees
- Establish procedures for locking away all equipment at the end of the day
- Appoint safety and equipment officers
Insurance Cover For The Commercial Gardener
As a commercial business owner or a garden landscaper, you should always have the right insurance cover for your business. Not only will your Gardening or Landscaping business need to be compensated for any loss or damages, but you need the necessary cover in place for any unexpected and unforeseen events.
You need to make provision for the daily running of the business to continue without too much interruption and to ensure that salaries are available for yourself and your staff in the event of a catastrophe.
Which Insurance Cover Do I Need As A Commercial Gardener?
The rules are very different for a commercial business owner. You will need a comprehensive commercial insurance policy to cover any eventuality. Your insurance company may be able to add your risk portfolio needs onto one tailor-made policy, but they may advise on different policies which offer specialized cover for specific items. Check the premiums first before deciding on which policy option will suit you.
The most probable and necessary insurance cover that you could need could include the following options:
Day to day insurance cover options:
- Building insurance cover. This policy provides cover for your building structure from any damage or loss. Request additional cover for greenhouses, sheds, and outbuildings from your insurance company.
- Contents insurance cover. Business property like computers, plants, tools, and even sprinkler systems are covered and will be replaced because of fire, theft, or damage to any items.
- Motor vehicle and heavy machinery insurance cover. This policy protects the vehicles and machinery which is used in the day-to-day operation and running of your business.
- Tools insurance cover. Tools and equipment used by your business are covered for the total replacement value if damaged or stolen.
- Materials and plants stored outside insurance cover. A specialized product for plant nurseries and businesses, this policy is designed to provide extra cover for inventory and material stored outdoors.
- Flood insurance cover. Plant nurseries and businesses are more at risk from flooding because of the outdoor space. This cover is in addition to traditional insurance policies but offers more cover for flooding.
- Credit insurance cover. This policy will cover any loans made to the company, like credit cards and mortgages. If the business is not able to settle the monthly payments due to loss or damages, this policy will pay the balance.
Liability cover options:
- Business owners policy. Provides limited protection for a variety of situations, including general liability protection, commercial property coverage, and business income protection. Tailor-made for the commercial business.
- Lawn care general liability insurance cover. Operating without this cover is a risk for any gardening business. This policy covers damages from any third-party claims like bodily injury, property damages, and medical payments.
- Umbrella insurance cover. Offers liability protection which extends beyond other liability policy limits, in other words, extra liability insurance in addition to your existing liability cover.
- Herbicide and pesticide application insurance cover. Protects your business from any liability claims in the event that there are any injuries or damages to a third party from the chemicals used.
- Peak season endorsement. Plants are seasonal and are more valuable during some seasons than during others. With this policy, you can increase and reduce the amount of cover that you require during the different growing seasons.
- Premises liability cover. Offers cover for company equipment and materials like cellphones and laptops used to operate the business and are carried outside of the office.
- Off-premises liability cover. If any of your employees causes property damage or bodily damage to a third party while conducting a work-related activity, your business is protected against any claim.
- Professional liability cover. Cover for any claims instituted against you by a Client should they suffer a financial loss due to any error made by you or your employees.
- Public liability cover. This will cover your company for any compensation payments and legal costs due to accidental damages or injury claims made against you by your client.
- Employment liability cover. Your business is legally required to have this cover. It covers the costs of legal fees and compensation should an employee make a work-related illness or on-the-job injury claim.
- Workmen’s compensation cover. Compulsory cover will protect your business from legal action if your employees are injured on the job.
- Cyber liability insurance cover. Assists in reducing the risk of civil claims and liabilities if your business suffers a data breach.
- Business crime insurance cover. This is an essential policy to have! It provides cover for your business from losses due to crimes committed against the company like embezzlement, theft, and fraud and protects your clients against crimes committed against them by your employees.
Cover for owner and staff:
- Medical and life insurance cover. Many companies offer a group scheme to employees to take care of their medical needs. This ensures that staff receives the best medical care without taking extra days off from work and inconveniencing the client.
- Business income protection cover. Financial protection for companies when they cannot operate due to shutdowns, fire, or other losses.
- Keyman insurance cover. An insurance policy is taken out on the life of a crucial staff member or key executive. Should the person die or develop a critical illness or disability, the insurance payout is made to the company to ensure that it will keep running for a period of time.
Can I Start A Business Without Insurance Cover?
It’s very unlikely that you would be able to start a business without holding some kind of insurance policy to cover any unforeseen circumstance. Having adequate insurance cover may be the difference between you landing that big client or not. Many businesses will not hire any uninsured firms or contractors due to the liability risks involved.
Thus, it is not only wise to start out with insurance cover to protect you and your clients, but the insurance cover could be beneficial in landing clients too, especially corporate clients.
Business rules vary from State to State, so do your research first before starting your business and find out what insurance cover you are required to have.
Having insurance cover will provide for you, your business, and employees should you experience any unplanned events and protect you from any claims against you from dissatisfied clients.
Many Insurance companies offer insurance products to cover all kinds of events, from unexpected catastrophic life-changing events to simple theft and breakdowns of equipment.
Specialized Insurance companies are experts in their chosen fields of risk and can offer you a tailor-made product to suit your particular requirements for your home or your business.
As a gardener running a small or a commercial business, there are ways that you can mitigate the risk to your assets and reduce the premiums that you will have to pay to the insurance company.
You will, however, always be required to have insurance cover in place for any business that you own, so make sure that you disclose all information necessary to save time and avoid any complications during the claiming process
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