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Who needs Gardener insurance?
As a gardener, you’re likely to spend huge amounts of time preparing the ground ready for planting but can you honestly say you give your insurance the same care and attention? You might feel like the biggest risk to you is falling into a bed of nettles, but accidents can happen anywhere at any time so it’s crucial to ensure you’ve got the cover you need – here’s what to consider.
Why do I need self-employed gardener insurance?
Gardener insurance covers you for a number of risks known as insured events, including incidents like theft of tools, fire or flood damage and vandalism to your equipment or business premises. Policies can also pay legal fees and compensation costs if you need to defend yourself against a claim in court.
If you don’t have insurance in place (or adequate cover) you run the risk of having to cover these costs yourself – placing you and your business at financial risk.
What does gardener insurance cover?
Policies are a combination of different types of business insurance. In most cases, insurers will offer a basic package and give you the option of adding on extra features to create a plan that fits your needs exactly. Typical policies often include one or more of the following:
- Public liability insurance for gardeners – covers the cost of legal fees and compensation if a member of the public blames you for injury or damage to their property and takes you to court. Levels of cover can range from £1 million to as much as £10 million and it’s up to you to assess what you might need. Realistically, if you’re involved in large or complicated landscaping projects, you’re going to need more cover compared to a gardener who only does a few odd jobs every week. If you’re hoping to attract business from local authorities, you’ll usually be expected to have at least £5 million of cover.
- Employers’ liability insurance – covers compensation claims if an employee is injured or becomes ill because of work. You must have a minimum of £5 million worth of cover.
- Tools and equipment insurance – pays to repair or replace damaged or stolen tools and equipment.
- Personal accident insurance – compensates you for lost income and covers medical expenses if you have an accident and can’t work.
- Legal expenses – pays legal fees and court costs if you need to settle a dispute.
- Business buildings and contents insurance – covers the cost of repairing, rebuilding or replacing your business premises and contents if they’re damaged because of an insured event.
- Contract works insurance – compensates you for any unfinished work you have to re-do because it’s been damaged. For instance, if a flood destroyed an incomplete landscaping project.
Do you need insurance to be a gardener?
The short answer is that it depends on your circumstances, as there are some types of insurance that you do need by law, for example:
- Employers’ liability – if you have employees (even part-time or temporary workers), then you must have employers’ liability. There are a few exceptions, for instance if you run a family business and only employ close relatives but a full list of exemptions can be found at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). If you need employers’ liability but don’t have a policy in place, you could be fined £2,500 every day you go without it.
- Van insurance – whether you have one or a fleet of vans, if you use a vehicle for work, then you’ll need commercial van insurance.
It’s also worth knowing that if you have a mortgage on a commercial property, your lender could insist that you have buildings insurance in place to cover the cost of damage or destruction. While this isn’t a legal requirement, your lender could make it a condition of the loan.
What exclusions should I be aware of?
An exclusion is an event that isn’t covered by insurance. Almost all policies have exclusions within their terms and conditions, but they vary by insurer. With that in mind, it’s important to compare before you make any decision about what policy to buy.
Common exclusions and conditions include:
- Wear and tear – you’re unlikely to be covered if tools or equipment are damaged through age or use.
- Legal expenses – insurers will only proceed with a claim if they think you have a good chance of winning a dispute in court.
- Negligence – insurers expect you to take reasonable care of your tools and premises so if (for example) equipment was stolen from an unlocked van, you’re unlikely to receive compensation.
How much does gardeners insurance cost?
Price can vary considerably depending the policy you choose, the levels of cover you need and also whether or not you add on extra features.
While it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest policy on offer, you may find that they don’t give you the cover you need. By the time you’ve added on extra features to bring the policy up to scratch, you could also find they cost more than policies you initially dismissed as expensive.
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