Frequently Asked Questions for Tree Services
Q: I am starting a tree service, what insurance coverage do I need?
A: The main coverage that businesses need to start is called General Liability. This protects you from being sued for injuring another person or damaging their property. After General Liability, Workers Compensation is the next most requested coverage to pay for injuries to your employees or people working with you. There are separate policies that you can purchase to cover the damage to your vehicles, tools, equipment and buildings. It is best to consult with a licensed agent to determine which policies you should purchase.
Q: What is the process of getting an insurance policy for a tree service?
A: Fill out the online quote form or give us a call at 262-432-7173. We’ll need a brief questionnaire completed to find out more about you and your business. After that, we submit the application to the insurance company and a quote is usually returned within a week. We can then start the policy at any point in time after we receive the official quote from the insurance company.
Q: How long does it take to get a tree service commercial insurance policy?
A: Although quoting times can vary, it takes roughly a week to get a policy set up.
Q: I heard I need workers comp. What does it cover and do I need it?
A: Work comp covers injuries that occur while a person is working. The general rule of thumb is if you are paying anyone to do work for you and who works solely for you, then you need a work comp policy. If you only have independent contractors working for you, you may or may not need a work comp policy. Contact us to discuss on whether your contractors would be viewed as an employee or true independent contractors.
Q: What is inland marine coverage?
A: Inland marine coverage is for your equipment and tools. It covers any of your business property (chipper, skid steer, chain saw, etc.) that you transport from your premises to your job site. For any equipment over $1,000 in value, we will need the make/model/year and serial number.
Q: What is professional liability for a tree service and why do I need it?
A: In any tree care job that you do, there is an element of consulting and advice that you give to your customers. Afterall, they hired you because you know more about how to care for their trees than them. If you were to wrongly advise your customer or improperly prune a tree or simply work on the wrong tree, all of those situations could be covered by professional liability.
Q: I drive my personal truck for work, am I covered?
A: If you are driving your personal vehicle for work, and don’t have it listed for business use, it may not be covered. Having your vehicle under the LLC name separates your personal assets from any liability you have while driving for the business. The commercial policies also have much higher limits than the personal policies.
Q: Do I need an LLC to get tree care insurance?
A: You do not need an LLC to get insurance. However, we do suggest starting an LLC because your personal assets won’t be at risk from an accident while operating as a business. Please view the Legal Entity video for more information on LLC’s and other entity types.
Q: Do I need special coverage when I apply chemicals?
A: Yes, you should add herbicide and pesticide applicators coverage. This covers anything from over spraying to treating the wrong tree or using the wrong chemical. This coverage typically costs $250 for the year.
Q: How do I add a piece of equipment to my insurance policy?
A: Adding a piece of equipment is easy. It goes on a coverage called inland marine. That is added simply by sending a request to the underwriter. To add the equipment we need to know year, make, model, serial number and how much you paid for it.
Q: What is the claims process?
A: We know claims can be a difficult and trying experience, but that is why we are here to help. A claim can be started with a quick phone call to us, your agent. We typically need basic information like what happened, when it happened, where it happened, etc. After that we call up your carrier and report the claim to them. Your carrier’s claim department contacts you for any additional information needed and takes you through the rest of the claim process. Please know we are always here to help you through the claims process.
Q: What is a certificate of insurance and how do I request one?
A: A certificate of insurance provides information regarding your current insurance coverage. It shows limit of insurance along with policy number, and policy effective dates. Requesting a certificate of insurance is simple, you can call us directly, email us, request it from our website or print your own on our customer portal.
Q: Are we covered if an employee uses their own vehicle drive to and from a work site for business purposes?
A: If you have Non-Owned Auto Liability coverage on your policy, your LLC is protected if you are brought into a lawsuit involving an employee’s car. The employee has the primary exposure and their insurance policy would be the first to pay, however, the Non-Owned coverage would cover your LLC for an additional costs that the business is sued for up to the limit of insurance. It’s important to note that this coverage will not pay for damages to your employee’s car.
Q: Can I break my payroll out into different classifications?
A: Ah, this question’s answer is a standard one in insurance. It depends. With the proper documentation and proper separation of an employee’s duties it is possible to break out payroll into different classifications. Call us to discuss your situation to see if you will be able to.
Q: What is an audit? Why do I need to do one?
A: While the word audit sounds intimidating, an insurance audit is common and nothing to worry about. It is something insurance companies do to make sure they are charging the correct premium for the size of your business. Tree care companies are rated by payroll for both General Liability and Workers’ Compensation policies.
Q: What is the difference between an additional insured and a Certholder?
A: The difference between an Additional Insured and a Certholder is a matter of coverage. An Additional Insured is given coverage by your insurance company when they are listed directly on your insurance policy. There is typically a small premium charge to do this, say $50 or $100 per year. A Certholder does not get any coverage and is used when you are merely required to show proof of insurance.
Q: Is it true that if your tree service offers strictly tree services and no landscaping services, that all employees working in the field must be classified under the 0106 code (tree pruning,Spraying, Repairing- all operations&drivers)? Why should the ground man be paying climbing rates? They obviously feel that there exists the same exposure to injury no matter what your tasks are. Do you agree?
A: We agree that the class codes should be split out per the employees jobs. However the state of Wisconsin designates the class codes and how employees fit into them. Unfortunately this is how they have designated them. We have been working with carriers to try and split out the class codes to better reflect the work being done.