Landscape Gardeners & Tree Surgeons

19/06/2013 -- Mary Simpson
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Landscape Gardeners and Tree Surgeons

You could be a general contractor carrying out tree planting and landscape works for other businesses, or a small jobbing gardener doing general garden maintenance work for your own clients.

If you’re a landscape gardener or tree surgeon, be aware that a standard tradesman insurance policy often won't cover tree maintenance, tree felling or use of pesticides except on a small domestic garden scale.

For everyone working in the gardening and landscaping business, gardeners’ insurance policies can have set cover, optional extras and add-ons to suit your budget, including:

Public Liability Insurance:  To cover damage claims for accidents in clients’ gardens or property and legal costs.

Employers Liability Insurance: Necessary if you employ someone, even on a casual basis, to cover injuries or illnesses suffered by employees as a result of their work. 

  • For tree surgeons the work can be noisy and lead to hearing loss. The use of chainsaws is particularly dangerous and can result in serious accidents, even death.
  • Exposure to sawdust and fumes from tools, pesticides and fertilisers can cause serious long-term health problems.

Tools & Equipment: Look out for high excesses.  

Contractors All Risks: Compensation if site works are damaged or plant/materials stolen or vandalised.

Professional Indemnity: Covers claims of negligence against your business and legal costs.

Business Interruption: This can cover you for loss of income - if there’s a fire at your gardening premises, for instance.

Personal Accident: Popular with sole traders, this can provide income till you can return to work.

Insurance Policy Restrictions

Watch out for restrictions your insurer could place on where you can work (e.g., rail track verges, airports, powerline vegetation clearance), and the height you can work at.

There could also be limits on the depth, e.g., below 1 metre, which could influence decisions on stump removal.

Check that the insurance covers fencing work if you include this in your landscaping contracts as well as chemical applications.

If you carry out heat work and/or burning of debris on site, let your insurer know and make sure you follow health and safety guidance and have strict fire prevention measures in place.

Arboricultural consultant

As an arboricultural consultant, you’ll provide professional advice for a fee on issues such as estate management, tree preservation orders, mortgage reports and public safety investigations for local authorities, etc.

Providing negligent advice - on a tree conditions report for a mortgage, say - could result in a costly compensation claim, so professional indemnity insurance is important to cover you from any unintentional error, omission or neglect on your part.