Business Insurance

What's the Best Insurance for Self-Employed Gardeners?

A quality Gardeners insurance policy can help protect even the safest of gardeners from something going wrong. This guide will explain everything you need to know about insurance as a self-employed gardener, whether you're just starting out or have been in the business for a while.

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As a self-employed gardener, you take great pride in delivering a quality service to each of your customers, no matter the size of the task. And while you may be used to providing the highest standard of work to your customers, occasionally things can go wrong. When they do, it’s important to make sure both you and your clients are protected.

If you’re looking for more information, check out our in-depth guide to Gardeners insurance. This article, however, will cover everything you need to know as a self-employed/sole trader gardener specifically.

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Best Insurances for Self-Employed Gardeners

Public Liability

It isn’t a legal requirement, but almost no gardener would be comfortable operating without the safety of a Public Liability policy.

One staple of a good quality gardener is a strong Public Liability policy. If something goes wrong, and a third party (customer, other business, general public) incurs damages or injury as a result of work, then Public Liability will help keep you protected.

You may find it regularly mentioned on job postings—many clients won’t hire you if you don’t have one in place already, and a good policy from a reputable insurer can give your customers peace of mind that you’ve taken the necessary precaution to protect them in the event something goes wrong.

The average settlement for a Public Liability case is roughly £13,500 in the UK, and when you consider that £2M of cover can be as little £88 for the year, most would consider it a worthwhile investment.

You’re covered for any compensation awarded against you in court, and any legal fees you incur during the process.

Examples

  • A customer is standing nearby chatting to you while you’re trimming a hedge, when a branch falls onto their foot, injuring them. They have to take 2 weeks off work, and sue you for their lost wages.
  • You drop a heavy set of tools onto a customer's outdoor table and it breaks. They sue you to cover the cost of replacing it.

Product Liability

Product Liability insurance is often packaged with Public Liability, however it can also be sold separately too. As with Public Liability, you’re covered for both legal fees and compensation awarded.

Product Liability can be especially effective if you regularly sell or install products as part of your business. And keep in mind, even if you didn’t manufacture the product yourself, you can still be held liable if you’re unable to identify the supplier or have repaired or changed the product.

Examples

  • You sell a weed killer you use to a customer, however the product kills their flower bed. They sue you for the cost of having it replaced.
  • You’ve installed a new set of lights in a customers garden, however they malfunction and are permanently damaged. They sue you for replacement.

Professional Indemnity

Professional Indemnity insurance will cover you in the event a customer isn’t happy with your service. It’s especially important for those involved in design or professional advice, and protects you in a number of different circumstances, such as if you offered poor quality advice or a customer is simply unhappy with the outcome of your work.

Examples

  • A customer has spent £3,000 asking you to draw up a design for their new garden. When the work is complete, they believe you’ve ignored their specifications, and sue you for your fee.
  • You’ve helped plant an apple tree in a customer's garden, however the tree almost immediately dies. The customer thinks your handling of the tree caused it, and sues your for the removal and replanting of the tree.

The combinations of these three coverages should give you well-rounded protections against any issues on the customer-side. The upcoming insurances will help protect you and your business in the event that something goes wrong that might not directly affect your customer, instead impacting you and the business.

Business Protection insurances

Employers’ Liability

Employers' Liability insurance is a must-have for almost any business in the UK that hires staff. Irrespective of whether they’re full-time or part-time, stranger or family friend, you’re legally required to have an Employers’ Liability policy before hiring them to work for you.

If someone you’ve hired believes their work for you caused them to become injured or unwell it’s possible they’ll sue you to recuperate any medical bills or lost wages. Like Public and Product Liability, it’ll cover compensation and legal fees, so if something does go wrong your business finances should be safe.

Example

  • You give a set of your hedge trimmers to a contractor you’ve hired and they cut themselves using them. They blame you for providing a faulty set of trimmers, and sue you as they’re unable to work for 2 weeks.

Tools and Equipment

Tools insurance can be especially useful if an expensive tool goes missing while you're on project—consider whether or not you could quickly source and pay for a replacement without it.

Tools and Equipment insurance, as the name might suggest, provides coverage for your tools if something goes wrong. While not designed to replace traditional warranty (and so typically won’t cover wear and tear or manufacturing faults) it’ll usually keep you covered if your tools are lost, stolen or damaged in fire or flood.

Policies typically cover you for between £1,000-£20,000, and insurers will ask you to give a cost estimation of each article you’d like to insure. There’s often a “single article limit” as well, limiting how much an insurer will pay out for an individual tool, but these are unlikely to be an issue unless any of your tools would cost the majority of your policy to replace by themselves.

Example

  • The lock-up you keep your power tools in is broken into and they’re stolen. Your Tools cover pays out for you to purchase a new set of roughly equivalent replacements.

Income Protection

Income Protection/Critical Illness insurances can help cover you (and your family) in the event that something goes wrong and you’re unable to work. In a trade with sharp tools, it’s probably fair to say you can never take too many precautions, and as a sole trader, finding alternative sources of income might prove difficult.

Income Protection is typically designed for shorter term issues, such as minor injuries and illnesses. It’ll typically cover you for a few months, and pay a % of your average monthly income. Critical Illness is designed for problems that might keep you out of work for the foreseeable future, and pay out a one-off payment to help sort you out financially.

Example

  • You fall off a step ladder while working on a bush and hurt your back, and a doctor writes you off work for 2 months. You’re covered for a % of your lost income during the time off.

What Next?

Take a look at our guide on how much you can expect to pay for popular Gardeners insurances for more information on what these coverages might cost—£2M of Public Liability and £2,000 of Tools cover (not left in your van overnight) could set you back as little as £145 a year.

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Luke Masters

Prior to NimbleFins, Luke studied economics at Brunel University and worked at FreshMinds, Investigo and BMW. His work in data analytics, pricing, strategy and business development helped him write business insurance content to support SMEs at NimbleFins. He now works at DataPOWA, a sports & entertainment data analytics company. Read more on LinkedIn.

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