What is the most overlooked value when hiring a tree service for your property? Whether or not the contractor that you have hired is truly, fully insured!
Many people are unaware that the tree care industry is one of the most dangerous professions (per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Tree care employees work at extreme heights while using dangerous tools, such as chain saws. The danger is compounded by working near power lines, busy roadways, and other infrastructure obstacles. These working conditions place urban tree work in the same category as logging, which is rated as the second most dangerous job in the USA and has a high risk of serious injury and/or death.
Here are some questions to consider when choosing a tree service: What happens when the tree worker/contractor is injured on the job? Who is going to be responsible when an employee is hurt while performing a service such as tree pruning?
The law in most states, including NC, says that the homeowner becomes the responsible party for covering the medical and loss of wage expenses for the injured employee if that employee is not covered by workers’ compensation. Consequently, if you hire a tree service company without workers’ compensation insurance, the injured employee can (and likely will) seek financial payment from you directly, exposing you to a huge potential liability. These expenses are not generally covered by a homeowner’s insurance. Therefore, homeowners for their protection should request proof of insurance by asking for an insurance certificate from the potential contractor prior to the start of the project. (This COI, or Certificate of Insurance, should come directly from the insurance agency.)
Four out of five tree care companies do not purchase workers’ compensation insurance due to its high cost. If a company shows you proof of workers’ compensation insurance, be sure to ask how many of their workers are covered (this information can be verified by calling the insurance company listed on the COI). The homeowner is liable to cover the medical and loss of wage expenses for any injured employee not listed on workers’ compensation insurance.
Snell Tree Experts carries $1,000,000 for General Liability, $1,000,000 for Workers’ Compensation and $1,000,000 for Automobile Liability. Our certificate clearly displays the coverage period and the amount of coverage not only for your property, but for our employees and our vehicles.
Before choosing a contractor, be sure to see proof of the company’s insurance!