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Snow removal is a crucial service, but your company will be exposed to a number of risks when you provide these services. Whether it’s someone suffering an injury, an auto accident, or damaged property, unpredictable events can have a major impact on your business. Purchasing business insurance is a great way to help you financially protect your company from costly disasters, accidents, or lawsuits.
What insurance coverage do I need for my snow plowing business?
There are many types of insurance coverage to consider, but these policies are particularly relevant to snow plowing businesses:
Commercial auto insurance is a critical type of insurance for snow removal companies since they depend on vehicles to perform their services. This coverage will pay for damages if you or your employees are at fault in a collision while driving a company vehicle. It will cover medical costs if the other vehicle’s occupants are injured as well as paying for damages to the other vehicle. Commercial auto insurance can also cover your company vehicles if they are physically damaged or lost due to theft, vandalism, collisions, or other hazards.
It’s important to note that the physical damage coverage portion of commercial auto insurance includes coverage for snow plow blades, whether they are permanently attached to your vehicle or installed temporarily during the snow season. You will likely need to list this equipment in your insurance application.
However, liability coverage functions differently. Liability coverage will apply to snow plows with permanently attached plowing equipment, but many commercial auto policies will exclude liability coverage for vehicles with temporary snow plow equipment installed. In this situation, you can add liability coverage by endorsement or purchase additional coverage for the snow season to ensure that your vehicle has liability coverage while functioning as a snow plow.
If your employees drive their own personal vehicles for work purposes, you may need to add hired and non-owned auto insurance. This coverage will protect your company if an employee is at fault in an accident while driving a personal vehicle for work purposes.
- While driving a snow plow, one of your employees misjudges a turn and collides with a parked car. Your commercial auto insurance would cover damages to both vehicles.
General liability insurance can protect your snow removal services company from third-party claims of accidental bodily injury or property damage. Clients may require you to have this coverage before they will hire you. When you purchase general liability insurance, you’ll need to ensure that your policy covers snow and ice-related claims. In some cases, you may need to add an endorsement to your policy to ensure sufficient coverage.
General liability insurance also includes coverage for products and completed operations liability. The completed operations portion of coverage is relevant for snow removal services companies since you could be sued with claims that you failed to fully remove snow or ice and someone suffered an injury as a result. General liability insurance would provide funds to cover the lawsuit in these situations.
- Bodily injury: One of your employees accidentally leaves a snow shovel on a job site. A passerby trips over the shovel and falls, suffering a skull fracture. Your general liability insurance would pay for medical expenses and legal fees if the injured person sues.
- Property damage: While shoveling snow in a client’s driveway, one of your employees accidentally damages the client’s parked car. Your general liability insurance would cover the damages.
- Products and completed operations: Your company is hired to remove snow and ice from a parking lot. Your employee fails to salt part of the parking lot and ice develops. Someone slips and falls, suffering a torn ligament. The injured person sues your business. General liability insurance would provide coverage.
Inland marine insurance provides financial protection for your business property that does not remain at a fixed location and is not covered by a standard commercial property insurance policy. For snow removal companies, this could include equipment and tools such as snow blowers, ice scrapers, shovels, and salt spreaders.
- Your company is hired to clear snow from a large office complex’s parking lots and parking structures. You’ve stored some of your equipment overnight on the job site. Someone ends up stealing two of your snow blowers and a snow plow blade. Your inland marine insurance would cover the loss.
If important machinery such as snow blowers or snow plows break down, your services could be severely delayed. Equipment breakdown insurance can pay to repair or replace covered equipment that breaks down, as well as provide for business income losses while the equipment is out of commission. Unlike commercial property insurance, which covers property that becomes damaged as a result of an external force like a storm or fire, equipment breakdown insurance provides coverage when equipment malfunctions or is damaged due to internal forces, like a mechanical failure.
- One of your snow blowers develops a mechanical problem and stops working. You’re unable to complete your snow removal jobs on time until repairs are completed and you lose income as a result. Your equipment breakdown insurance would pay for repairs to the snow blower and cover your lost income.
Commercial crime insurance provides protection from financial losses related to crimes such as theft, burglary, robbery, forgery, and fraud. Snow removal services often own expensive equipment and tools which could be a target for employee theft. It’s important to note that commercial property insurance may provide limited coverage for losses caused by crime but does not cover employee dishonesty. Commercial crime insurance can provide reimbursement for crime-related losses, including crimes committed by employees and by third parties.
- Someone breaks into your snow plowing company’s offices and steals cash from your safe. Your commercial crime insurance would cover the loss.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers employees’ medical costs and lost income if they suffer an injury or illness caused by their job. In the case of a work-related employee death, workers’ comp will provide financial benefits for employees’ dependents.
Workers’ comp coverage is crucial for snow removal services companies. Employees may be injured in auto accidents while driving snow plows, slip on ice, hurt themselves while fastening or removing snow plow equipment, or suffer other common injuries. In almost every state, workers’ compensation insurance is required for employers, and there may be serious fines and penalties for companies that do not secure adequate coverage.
- One of your employees slips and falls on ice while clearing a parking lot, injuring her back and neck. Workers’ comp would pay for her medical bills, a portion of lost income, and any physical rehabilitation expenses during her recovery period.
- A business owner’s policy (BOP) combines general liability, property, business interruption, and extra expense coverage into a single package. For small or midsize snow removal companies, this is a convenient insurance product that could help you obtain a wide range of coverage. Premiums for a business owner’s policy are typically cheaper than the cost of buying each coverage separately.
- Business income insurance will reimburse you for lost income and operating expenses if your business is unable to operate temporarily due to a covered reason, such as fire, storm damage, or other property damage.
- Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) protects your business against lawsuits by prospective, current, or former employees accusing your business of wrongful treatment such as discrimination, harassment, or other employment-related issues.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for snow plow insurance will vary based on the type of insurance coverage and the risk profile of your business. Insurers consider factors such as:
- Business size
- Number of employees
- Claims history
Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, a snow removal business with a history of frequent claims will face higher premiums. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer coverage for snow removal businesses:
|Provider||General Liability||Professional Liability||Business Owner's Policy|
Snow removal businesses could be held liable for many significant risks, from accidental damage to a client’s property to auto collisions. No matter how careful you are, there’s always a possibility that an unexpected lawsuit will arise. Purchasing a broad range of business insurance policies can provide financial support that will enable your business to continue operating even after a costly disaster or lawsuit.