So, you've finally decided to hire out your lawn care to avoid the sweltering heat, those itchy bug bites and the aches and pains that follow doing it yourself. That’s Great! Welcome to the world of professional lawn services.
So, you ask, whom do you call? What’s that gonna cost me? Whom should you hire? You do a little research and hire your very first lawn company to do the mowing, trimming and blowing each week. After all, you saw their sign; they returned your call and even gave you a nice low bid. Isn’t that the usual way? Seems simple enough. But, what credentials did you confirm? Did they give you any references or a copy of their BBB report? Did they offer you a copy of their business insurance coverage? Are any of these really that important? After all, they’re just cutting the grass, and you have been doing it yourself for years. What on earth could go wrong?
Well, today’s the day! You’re all excited to get home because it’s the first week you don’t have to worry about the lawn. You return from a hard day at the office to find your lawn’s only been half cut; there’s body damage to your wife’s car where someone’s run up against it with something yellow; the two dining room windows in front are broken. and your prize Hybrid Tea Rose garden is trashed, apparently by the wheels of a commercial grade mower. When you call the company, they apologize and explain the damage to your wife’s car was from backing their trailer onto your driveway; the windows were broken by rocks from your bedding workers happen to run into, and your prize roses were caught in the path of their guy’s runaway mower that took a life of its own after he was knocked off by a low hanging branch from your Maple tree. He couldn't finish the job because he went to the ER for a concussion and lacerations. And, oh by the way, they needed the name of your Homeowners Insurance Agent to file a claim to cover his ER bill and lost wages since he couldn't return to work for a few days. Don’t think all this could happen? Well, it did, and it does.
Before you hire ANY contractor, ask for the credentials mentioned above. Specifically, get a copy of their Business Liability/Property and Worker Compensation coverage. Very much like auto and home owners insurance, businesses should carry protection for when damages are incurred or caused to others under their care. There should have been an insurance claim filed for this debacle alright. However, it should have fallen on the lawn company’s General Liability coverage for the damages and repairs to your wife’s car, broken windows and lost prize rose bushes. Their employee’s medical bills should have fallen on their Workers Compensation coverage. and the damages to their runaway mower, covered under their Business Property coverage. All the while, this has been a Valuable Learning Experience and your Auto and Homeowners insurability remained protected, by not filing that claim on your policies.
Always require your service providers to show proof of General Liability, Property and Workers Compensation coverage before allowing them to set foot to work on your property. Don’t become a victim. Be protected, not surprised.
In some cities, like Atlanta Georgia, Lawn Care companies are required to have insurance, so you may even check with your local municipality.
About the author:
Luis Roque is a full service, independent insurance agency servicing the Home, Auto, Life and Business insurance needs all across Rutherford and its surrounding sister counties.