Is Workers’ Comp Insurance for Landscapers Necessary?

By: 
The Kickstand Team
Last Updated: 
March 6, 2023
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If you take a walk or even look out a window, odds are you’ll see work completed by professional landscapers.

The trees that line roadways and the carefully curated bushes situated beneath a neighbor’s window are all likely the handiwork of hardworking landscaping employees.

Landscaping and lawn care workers spend hours outside each day, all year long. They’re exposed to harsh weather (both hot and cold) and perform manual labor as a regular, reliable part of their jobs.

Injury is common in the industry, and employees deserve peace of mind and medical care as they perform their valuable work.

As a result Workers’ compensation for landscapers is absolutely necessary. Not only does it greatly benefit workers, but it’s also mandated by every state. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a way around purchasing workers comp insurance for landscaping businesses.

Still, there are a few important things to know about this critical purchase before diving in. 

Why do Lawn Care Workers and Landscapers need Workers’ Comp? 

As stated above, lawn care employees and landscapers frequently face harsh weather conditions and difficult manual labor tasks.

Additionally, they work with tools and equipment that pose risks to their health and increase the likelihood of being injured.

landscaper holding shears needs workers compensation insurance

Think of the most basic piece of lawn care equipment: a lawnmower. Over 6,000 people in the United States annually suffer injuries from lawnmowers. While lawn care professionals handle the tools of their trade with more finesse than the average homeowner, accidents still happen.

Even with proper safety training and equipment, it only takes one thing going wrong for an injury to happen. Landscapers have added risks if they work with equipment like brick pavers. 

The most common injuries for lawn care workers and landscapers include: 

  • Pulled muscles
  • Strains and Sprains
  • Hearing Loss
  • Falls
  • Broken Bones
  • Burns (electrical or chemical)
  • Heatstroke
  • Cuts 

Experts consider landscaping to be one of the most dangerous professions and hundreds of employees have lost their lives on the job.

Workers’ compensation for landscapers and lawn care workers gives those individuals a chance to get the medical care they need or, in the most unfortunate cases, help their families cover expenses in the event of their death. 

Lawn care workers’ comp insurance covers the more severe injuries suffered in the profession, too. Amputation is certainly not unheard of, given the types of equipment that workers regularly use. Shrub trimming, the use of wood chippers, and many other common landscaping practices are high-risk endeavors. 

What Does Workers’ Compensation for Landscapers Provide? 

Obtaining workers' compensation insurance for landscaping businesses benefits employees in numerous ways. Workers’ comp covers medical costs, lost wages, funeral costs, and generally ensures that workers are taken care of in the event of an accident or illness. 

medical cost

Medical Costs - Whether short-term or long-term, insurance for lawn care workers and landscapers covers medical costs.

That can include reimbursing employees for mileage as they travel to appointments, covering the cost of doctor’s visits, scans, and medication, and even providing rehabilitation services.

Workers’ compensation insurance for landscapers gets good employees back to work or allows them to get the care they need while they’re unable to return to the job. 

Wage Reimbursement

Wage Reimbursement - Lost wages are devastating, especially for employees who can’t return to work right away. Even one missed check is enough to put workers and their families in a bind.

Reimbursement rates vary by state but injured or ill workers can expect to get at least two-thirds of their average weekly pay from workers’ comp. If an injury or illness leaves someone impaired or disabled, payments may be higher. 

funeral costs

Funeral Costs - As mentioned previously, deaths do occur in the population of lawn care workers and landscapers. It’s a tragic reality, but one that landscaping and lawn care insurance accounts for.

It covers burial expenses and may pay out weekly compensation to surviving spouses and dependents. 

long-term care

Long-term Care - If an injury or illness causes long-term damage, workers’ compensation insurance for landscapers covers the cost. Major injuries like amputations or burns sometimes require a lifetime of care to manage symptoms or other conditions that arise as a result of the injury. Workers’ comp benefits continue to cover that care.

Return-to-Work programs

Return-to-Work programs - Some workers’ compensation programs cover services that get employees back to work.

Programs cover things like training in different areas if a worker has new permanent physical restrictions, transitional work as they go through rehabilitation, and generally promoting communication between employer and employee to find a fit for the injured worker.

These programs are incredibly useful for getting dedicated employees back into their positions (or similar ones) and keeping teams together. 

The above list isn’t an exhaustive view of workers’ compensation, but it highlights some of the best benefits. 

How Much is Lawn Mowing Insurance and Other Coverage? 

There is no set cost for workers’ compensation insurance for landscapers, as the price varies according to the jobs being done. Premium costs are determined with a combination of payroll information and class codes (or comp codes). 

What does that mean for lawn care businesses and similar operations?

Class codes designate the amount of risk a job has. They’re not set by insurance companies, but carriers do use them to determine premiums.

Different positions have different codes, and codes that have higher inherent risk will cost more, although there is a slight variation between states.

Common codes associated with lawn care and landscaping are: 

  • 0042 - Landscape Gardening Contractor
  • 0042 - Turf or Sod Installation
  • 9102 - Park or Lawn Maintenance
  • 9102 - Lawn Maintenance - No Tree Planting or Removal
  • 9102 - Lawn Mowing Service
  • 6217 - Landscaping With Tree Removal or Excavation
  • 0106 - Tree Trimming
  • 5221 - Hardscaping (flat work with concrete or cement) 

Depending on the type of work a business does, policies for workers’ compensation insurance for landscapers can include multiple different comp codes.

It’s important to note that many underwriters allow companies to make distinctions between a business that only performs or offers maintenance (such as mowing, edging, and trimming) and classic landscaping businesses that plant trees, mulch, and perform other related tasks.

That type of distinction makes a major difference in premium costs. “Mow and blow” businesses that just do mowing, edging, and trimming fall under class code 9102, whereas traditional landscaping businesses are included in the 0042 workers comp code. 9102 businesses are less expensive to insure and see lower rates than 0042 workers. 

There are a few other quick things worth remembering to get the correct landscaping workers’ comp code: 

  • If a landscaping company offers paving as a regular service, the comp code 5221 for hardscaping work needs to be added to the policy. All those factors and others affect premium rates. 
  • Company’s offering off-ground tree trimming services can include code 0106 in their policy. It applies regardless of whether the trimming is done via climbers or with a boom lift. Clear record-keeping is necessary to distinguish tree trimming work from regular landscaping duties. 

Tips for Lowering Premium Costs 

Workers’ compensation insurance for landscapers is vital, but keeping costs low is understandably important to employers, too.

Landscaping work is high-risk by default, but there are things companies can do to reduce the cost of their premiums. 

  1. Accurate Information - Underwriters want information, whether it’s about payroll or the full scope of what a business does. The more equipped an employer is to answer questions and present detailed, clear information about job duties and positions, the more they’ll benefit.

    Getting accurate rates is an important part of getting workers’ compensation insurance for landscapers. That means including the correct class codes, clear payroll information, and anything else underwriters might require. 
  1. Workplace Safety - Workplace safety training programs are important in every industry, but they make a huge difference in landscaping and lawn care businesses. Employees regularly use dangerous equipment and tools and face overexertion. Instituting safety protocols and training employees to follow them reflects well on businesses.

    When purchasing workers’ compensation insurance for landscapers, ensure that underwriters are aware of any qualifying programs! 
  2. Report Claims - Each state has its own protocol for reporting workers’ compensation claims. Familiarize yourself with the applicable procedures and laws and follow them to the best of your ability. In some states, employers carry the responsibility for reporting claims. In others, it’s on the employee to initiate the process.

    In every case, there’s a certain time frame for paperwork to be filed. Adhering to procedures and presenting clear, concise information keeps things smooth with the insurance company. 

The Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Landscapers 

Lawn care and landscaping are high-risk positions and some insurance companies turn away businesses just trying to protect their employees.

If you’re looking for workers’ comp coverage, the experts at Kickstand Insurance are ready to help. The process is simple and only takes a few minutes. Start immediately by getting a free quote online.

Kickstand Insurance works with a wide variety of industries and has an excellent team standing by to help with the application process and answer any questions about workers’ compensation insurance for landscapers!

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