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Why snow removal professionals shouldn’t go without their insurance this winter

11-11-2022

Winter is the time of year when snow removal experts like you get to shine.

You’re out there braving snow storms and blizzards, plowing through snowdrifts and knocking ice off buildings. All so you can protect drivers, pedestrians, and residents from the dangers of snowmageddon.

This makes checking your snow removal insurance is ready to go this winter number one.

By doing so, you’re protecting your business from the impact of third-party claims for accidental injury or damage.

Without it, you may have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation and legal fees fighting a lawsuit. Which could melt away your finances quicker than a sudden spring thaw. And put you out of business entirely.

Why do you need snow removal insurance?

You know from experience how changeable the weather can be. And how tracking it so you clear snow at the right time helps keep you and your crew safe.

Then there’s training your employees, maintaining your tools, buying the right products and equipment… it all helps keep your operations running as safely and smoothly as possible.

Still, chances are you’re going to have an accident at some point, regardless of how much you prepare.

If you’re unlucky, it might be the kind that triggers a claim for property damage or physical injury, where you’re asked to compensate someone. And if you’re very unlucky, you could end up with a lawsuit too.

For example:

You knock a large icicle off your client’s porch at an angle that sends it flying straight through a window. The client’s none too happy about it and demands you pay for the repairs.

You clip a pedestrian’s ankle with the end of your shovel while clearing snow off the sidewalk. Their ankle starts bleeding and they’re soon rushed off to hospital for stitches. Weeks later, you receive a letter from their lawyer asking that you cover their medical bills and lost wages.

What kind of insurance do I need for snow plowing and removal?

Snow removal general liability (GL) insurance covers the types of scenarios we’ve mentioned – where there’s accidental damage to other people and property. As snow blowing and removal are considered risky activities, it’s essential cover to have.

It means your insurance carrier will hire an attorney to defend you if you’re sued – even if you’re not at fault or if the lawsuit is groundless. You don’t have to pay a cent towards your defense (other than what you’ve already paid for your premium).

Although, if you offer snow plowing services then you should double-check this is covered by your insurer and under what terms.

Some carriers may only insure you plowing for a specified period of time. And while most won’t have a problem with you pushing along a manual snow plow, some may refuse to cover third party injuries or damage caused by a plow clipped to the front of your vehicle.

The other type of insurance you may need is workers’ compensation insurance. It’s mandatory in most states, if you have staff, as it takes care of the costs of workplace injury claims, including medical bills and legal expenses. You need it even if you only have one employee.

Lastly, you should think about your snow removal equipment and how much it would cost to replace at short notice. If it’s a lot, you may want to add business personal property (BPP) to your GL policy, insuring your tools against loss or theft.

Talk to us about your cover

It’s worth talking to an insurance broker (like us) to make sure your snow removal business is covered this winter. Your provider needs to be aware of all your activities and the types of contracts you take on. From there, they can offer you the best quote.

Remember, not all snow removal insurance includes damage or injury caused by your truck or any attachments (including snow plows). For that, you’ll likely need commercial auto insurance.

Find out more about snow removal insurance and get an online quote. Or speak to one of our licensed advisors on 978.344.4215.

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