In this business insurance is a very important part of the business. Unfortunately in our industry a lot of these companies do not carry the proper coverage to cover any potential damage to physical property or even bodily harm to an employee or a customer!
What Kind of Insurance Should One Have?
When you ask your tree service if they’re insured, there are two types of insurance that you want to see. Every qualified tree service company should have general liability insurance, which protects you, your property and the tree company from damages for potential accidents or injuries. The other is worker’s compensation, which protects the employees themselves. Lets say your arborist takes down a tree and it falls onto your neighbor’s property, damaging their house, and injures your arborist in the process. If your hired tree service has insurance, the policies will cover the damage done to personal property and the worker’s medical needs. If they don’t, you as the homeowner are held accountable for taking the bill. You would be liable because it happened on your property and you were the one who hired them.
Why do some companies not carry proper insurance coverage?
Proper General Liability and Workers Compensation insurance coverage is expensive to purchase as we are in a very high risk category. Some companies would rather gamble at your expense!
It is very important that you VERIFY and CONFIRM that the company you are hiring is fully insured with adequate coverage. Anyone can print out a forged document showing they are covered but actually having active coverage is another thing!
News Article of Home Owners Liable for injuries to a Tree Service Employee
The case history: Truman hired Anthony's Tree Service to trim his tall trees for $450. ATS' owner, Eliseo, gave Truman his business card describing ATS services such as topping, trimming, tree removal and cleaning trees.
The business card listed a license number so Truman concluded the company was experienced and capable of doing the tree trimming. The license number, however, was for an expired city business license and did not assure ATS was capable of doing the dangerous work.
When Truman asked Eliseo for evidence of his workers' compensation insurance on his tree-trimmer employees, Eliseo showed Truman an expired policy. Eliseo promised to bring the current policy the next day when the tree trimming was to begin.
But the next day, before tree trimming began, Eliseo told Truman he forgot to bring the insurance policy. However, Truman allowed work to begin because he figured the license number on the ATS business card meant there was adequate insurance.
ATS tree trimmer employee Miguel was severely injured when he fell from a tall tree. Upon learning his employer, ATS, had no workers' compensation insurance, Miguel sued homeowner Truman. When Truman contacted his homeowners insurance company, he learned he was not insured for this type of injury because Miguel was not Truman's direct household employee.
The question: If you were the judge, would you rule Truman is liable to tree trimmer Miguel for his injury damages?
The decision: The judge said yes.
Because ATS was uninsured and unlicensed, the judge explained, Truman became the employer of Miguel. Therefore, Truman was obligated to provide workers' compensation insurance benefits to Miguel.
This type of dangerous work does not come within the household employee exception for coverage under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules, the judge said.
At the least, the judge continued, homeowner Truman should have verified the ATS workers' compensation insurance policy. Therefore, homeowner Truman can be held liable to Miguel for his uninsured injuries, the judge ruled.
How To Verify Workers' Compensation Coverage on a Tree Service:
Please click "Workers Comp Coverage Verification" Button below to verify ACTIVE Workers Compensation Coverage.
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