Arborist Insurance

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Arborist Insurance that’s Designed to Fit Your Business… and Help It Grow

Arborist insurance is a niche specialty here at C&S Insurance

Arborist insurance is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Whether you focus on land clearing, disease management and diagnostics, insect control, trimming and pruning, or all of the above, it’s important to work with an agent who understands your company’s unique coverage needs… and has access to the industry’s premier specialty program. Our arborist insurance program is designed specifically for arboriculture professionals, offering more competitive rates and more optimal terms than you’re likely to find elsewhere.

What kinds of insurance do arborists need?

General liability (including arborist E&O), MA worker’s comp, MA commercial auto, and equipment floaters are the minimum essentials.

Which other types of insurance for arborists are recommended?

Commercial umbrella (more on this below), business crime insurance, cyber liability, EPLI, and key employee insurance are also important coverages to consider and discuss with an experienced agent. Sometimes additional coverages are available through a “broadened” or “enhanced” endorsement on a general liability or commercial auto policy. Policies are unique to each arborist insurance carrier and vary widely.

What’s a common area where arborist insurance programs are lacking—either in recommended coverages or appropriate coverage limits?

Believe it or not, there are insurance programs out there that do not provide professional liability insurance for arborists (Errors & Omissions coverage), which is critical for anyone working in this industry—whether you work in commercial, private, municipal arboriculture or as a consulting arborist.

Why do arborists need professional liability (E&O) coverage?

Professional liability (a.k.a. Errors & Omissions or E&O coverage) provides for suits brought against an arborist for making a mistake.

Cutting down the wrong tree, for example, is a common error that can cost tens of thousands of dollars to correct—especially if the tree in question is particularly large/mature. Other use cases for E&O coverage include faulty risk assessment (you say the tree is stable, but it ends up falling down), misdiagnosis of a tree problem, faulty pesticide applications, improper pruning techniques, and other bad advice that results in tree damage or property damage.

Does arborist insurance cover claims that happen years later?

This is a common question related to arborists’ professional liability. An E&O policy provides coverage from the time you put it in place until the time it is cancelled or non-renewed. In other words, if you added E&O coverage effective today, then there would be no coverage for an incident that happened prior to today. Starting from today, the coverage would stay in effect until the policy was cancelled (likely one year from today).  Some arborists choose to purchase coverage known as “tail coverage,” which gives them protection for some predetermined length of time (e.g. 1 year, 5 years, etc.), in case a claim crops up from a service provided years prior.

What does arborist insurance cost?

Arborist insurance costs are specific to each individual tree care company, depending on the size and scope of the operation. Rates are determined by the size of the company (sales volume and payroll), experience, safety programs, loss control systems, and the overall management view on operating a safe company. Another key factor is the type of work offered (tree removal, pruning, landscaping, land grading, lawn maintenance, mulch operations, snow removal, commercial vs. residential clients, etc.).

In addition to company size, coverage limits, experience and claims history, types of service offered is a primary rating factor in the cost of arborist insurance. (Some applications ask owners to map percent of revenues to different types of service.) Which services tend to ramp up costs because they are associated with a higher risk level?

Large tree removal is always a hazardous part of the operation. Climbing trees is also considered hazardous, especially when scaling very tall trees in dense neighborhood settings.

Why do arborists need commercial umbrella insurance policies?

Commercial umbrella policies provide an extra layer of liability protection over and above an arborist company’s general liability, auto insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance. Given the increasing size of claimant payouts, an umbrella policy is an efficient way of providing extra protection for the entire operation.

How much insurance do arborists need?

This answer will be unique to every tree care business, but it is worth noting that arborist insurance policy limits can be structured in two very different ways: per policy and per project. A “Per Policy” aggregate means the limit shown on your policy is the most your insurer will pay for the total of all claims during your policy term (usually one year). A “Per Project” aggregate means the insurer would pay up to that same limit for multiple claims, but not exceeding that limit for any one specific project. The Per Project aggregate is important for arborists and other contractors who work on multiple projects. Instead of purchasing separate policies, it is more cost effective to dedicate limits to each project as necessary.

Arborist Insurance Experts Working for You

For more than a decade, our focus on landscapers insurance and arborist insurance has truly set us apart from other local agencies. Our team of experts is available to provide a host of value-added services–including help drafting/revising your safety manuals, conducting onsite trainings, implementing fleet safety protocols, and much more. In fact, our service team stands beside you, all year long. While other agents might show up once a year (at renewal time), we proactively engage throughout the year, to ensure you get the most from our mid-term reviews, loss control services, and overall risk management strategy. Our approach also ensures that your program is constantly improving. Ask us to review your current coverage today!

We are proud members of the Massachusetts Arborists Association and the Massachusetts Association for Landscape Professionals.