Get a quote on Business Insurance
As a solar photovoltaic installer, or PV installer, purchasing the proper insurance coverage is an important part of securing your business. From natural disasters to accidents at the workplace to litigious customers—business insurance can help protect you from a variety of risks and liabilities.
What insurance coverage do I need as a solar photovoltaic installer?
Some of the most common coverages for solar photovoltaic installers are listed below, along with relevant examples of incidents that would trigger these coverages.
One of the most important coverages for PV installers is general liability insurance, which protects your business if you physically injure another person or cause damage to someone else’s property. Given that much of solar installation work takes place on-site at customers’ offices or homes, there is a high degree of risk in third-party property damage or bodily injury. Not only could you or your employees directly cause damage or injury to a third party, but the solar panels you sell and the PV installations you complete could also result in damage or injury to a customer. General liability is so crucial in this line of work that many clients will require PV installers to carry this insurance in order to be hired.
Moreover, you likely have a number of vendors and suppliers making deliveries to your warehouse or meeting with you in your offices. This also presents a risk, as someone could injure themselves on your business premises and sue your company. General liability insurance also provides protection for this liability.
- Property damage: You are installing solar panels on a client’s roof and accidentally damage a skylight. The client sues your business for the cost to replace the skylight.
- Bodily injury: A client trips over spare tools that were left out by one of your workers. The client injures their hip and requires surgery. They sue your business for medical expenses and lost wages from being unable to work.
- Products and completed operations: You complete a solar panel roof installation for a client. Months after completing the job, a leak springs in the roof due to a few poorly installed PV racks. The leak ends up causing significant water damage to the client’s home. The client sues your business.
If your solar PV business has employees, it’s likely that you’ll need to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, which is required in almost all states. Workers’ compensation insurance, also referred to as workers’ comp, provides funds for medical expenses and lost wages if one of your employees is injured, killed, or falls ill while on the job.
For industries and professions that involve manual labor or high-risk work environments, workers’ comp is an essential coverage. For PV installers, workers’ compensation can provide critical coverage as many of your jobs will involve scaling rooftops and working with heavy and potentially dangerous equipment. The risk for injury is high, and workers’ comp can provide a much-needed safety net for your employees.
- One of your employees falls off a ladder while carrying a solar panel to the roof. He injures his back and is unable to work. Workers’ compensation insurance would provide coverage for the employee’s medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, and a portion of his lost income.
It is likely that your business owns or leases cars, trucks, or vans as part of your PV installation work, and in order to fully protect your business, you’ll need commercial auto insurance, which is required in most states. Commercial auto insurance protects your business if you or one of your employees causes injury or damage to someone else while driving a business vehicle or while driving for business purposes. It also protects vehicles owned by your business from damage, theft, or other covered peril.
For any commercial business that uses company vehicles or has employees use their own personal vehicles for business purposes, commercial auto insurance is an important coverage to obtain. The potential financial losses from an at-fault accident can be severe, and you’ll want to have some basic coverage for liability, as well as for physical damage to your vehicles in order to protect their value.
- While driving one of the company trucks on the way to a residential solar installation job, an employee of yours gets distracted and crashes into another vehicle. The other driver is injured and ends up suing your business. Commercial auto insurance would cover any legal costs and medical expenses.
- Over the weekend, two of your company vans are stolen from the parking lot in front of your business. Commercial auto insurance would pay for this loss.
Your business likely owns or leases office space or a warehouse, and in order to provide protection for these spaces and the contents within them, you’ll need to obtain property insurance. Commercial property insurance covers property that your business owns or is responsible for and can provide crucial funds for your business if you suffer any property damage. If an unexpected incident or disaster befalls your business, especially if you have specialized and expensive equipment, it could be difficult to recover. Property insurance coverage can give you the financial assistance that’s necessary to keep your business operating.
Commercial property insurance provides coverage for:
- Buildings belonging to or leased by your company
- Contents of the building
- Property of others while it is under your care, custody, or control
- You have an inventory of solar panels stored at your warehouse. A fire breaks out in the warehouse, destroying the panels and causing significant damage to the warehouse building structure. Commercial property insurance would provide the funds to repair your warehouse and replace your inventory.
- Inland marine insurance provides protection for mobile equipment that is commonly stored on client sites or outside of your business premises. This insurance protects your mobile equipment regardless of where it is. For solar installers, this type of coverage is important if you are moving property and equipment from job site to job site. A few examples of mobile equipment include cranes, cherry pickers, and tools.
- Installation floater insurance protects property before or during installation. For PV installers, this could cover solar panels or mounting racks you are transporting or installing for clients.
- A business owner’s policy packages general liability, property, business income, and extra expense coverage into one policy. For small or midsize companies, this can be a convenient policy to purchase that provides a broad range of coverage while also saving you money over buying each coverage type individually.
- Business income coverage will reimburse you for lost income and operating expenses if your business is forced to close due to a covered peril, such as fire, storm damage, or other property damage.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for solar installer 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 solar installer 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 solar PV installation businesses:
|Provider||General Liability||Professional Liability||Business Owner's Policy|
Finding the right set of insurance coverages for your business is a critical step in protecting your company and setting yourself up for success. Insurance coverages like general liability and workers’ comp can protect you, your employees, and your customers from bodily injury and property damage, while coverages like auto and property insurance can protect the value of the property your business owns. For solar PV installers, coverage is crucial, as you not only operate in a high-risk environment where bodily injury and property damage are more prevalent, but you also work with specialized and valuable equipment and inventory. Make sure you investigate exactly what coverages you’ll need and consult with your insurer on setting up a comprehensive plan.