View Full Version : Claims on Liability Insurance

DFW Area Landscaper
01-16-2004, 11:50 AM
Has anyone ever actually filed a claim on their liability insurance policy?

Has anyone every been glad they had their liability insurance?

Not workmans' comp insurance, but liability.

My suspicion is that the insurance companies who sell general liability are getting filthy rich off the green industry.

PS: Please don't relocate this thread to the elements of business forum as more people will see and respond here. Thanks.

DFW Area Landscaper

Team Gopher
01-16-2004, 11:55 AM

Here is a quote from this post (http://server2.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=34653).

"Hey guys I have a few questions for you all. I have been in this business for 6 years and have always been on the up and up with insurance carring 2 million in coverage.

Here's the deal. I cannot figure out how to keep from the small crap bitting me in the butt. Last year one of my guys was mowing along a road and kicked out a stick that was hidden into on coming traffic. Well this dented a guys hood. Was about $375 in damage, so I turned in the claim. Not a month later, I hit a golf ball through the deck and into a picture window at a residental property. This I felt wasn't really my fault since I could not see the ball to avoid it. I thought it should have went under there homeowners but I filled a claim anyhow. Well yesterday I got a call from a factory said I threw a stone into a passenger side window of a truck. So I went down to the site and where the vehicle had sat it would have been in the line of fire from a area of heavy stones and crap from the jerks that plow this place. (NOT ME).

Starting this year in my commitment letters I stated we are not responsable for damages from foreign objects in the lawn and customers are responsable for damage to our equipment. Well I feel bad for the guys who's window is damaged, but I don't think i should have to file a claim on it. I think the client is at fault. I did contact my liablilty agent and he said I will probably get cancelled if I have 3 claims in 3 years. So what do you guys think, should I turn it in and risk getting cancelled, or pay out of pocket, or wash my hands of it and tell the company its not my problem. Let me know what you would do. Thanks Joe

Hartman's Lawn Service

DFW Area Landscaper
01-16-2004, 12:03 PM
Team Gopher,

I don't think the author of that post was thinking "Gee, I sure am glad I've been paying for liability insurance all those years." Heck, he doesn't even know if he'll file a claim.

What I'm trying to see is a.) how much are the green industry insurance companies taking in from premiums and b.) how much are they paying out in claims.

From what I see, by and large, there just aren't any claims for general liability. I've read lots of threads from guys who were glad they had their workers' comp insurance, but not liability.

DFW Area Landscaper

01-16-2004, 12:14 PM
Ive filed for claims twice in 5 years. The first time was a rock thru a custom window in front of customers home ($800.00). Second time was worker hit new fence ($358.00). My premiums run $380.00 per year. I did have one other event though that I paid out of my pocket. I scraped a bumper of a car in parking lot ($152.00). Yes Im glad to have insurance in case of something major happens (Rock hits persons eye, ect) It can keep you from being sued big time. I do find value in the peace of mind it brings.

01-16-2004, 12:20 PM
One of my employees was trimming a bank at a commercial property we mow and got grass all over the hood of one of the cars. We blow this off with a blower when it happens. The women came out screaming that we chipped the paint on her new car. The crew leader and owner of the property couldn't see any damage the women said she wanted her husband to see it. She calls me up and says she has an estimate for $2000 for nicks and scratches. I call insurance co. they send out adjuster he looks at site and car says no way grass could have done this. She said there was road salt and ash in the grass, this is July.
I find out a few weeks later that the road she lives on was tar and chipped a week before the claim. Ins. co. refused to pay. My premium is about 450 per year. No claims in yet in 10 years. Knock on wood.

01-16-2004, 12:38 PM
I have to carry a certain amount of General Liability Ins because of the commercial properties and the spraying I do. I carry one million. I can't think right off exactly what it costs me per year because my truck and all my equipment is figured in with it. I do know I pay a total of $1910.00 per year for everything. Do I think ins. is a riffoff, probally, but it one of those things in life you really don't want to be without, IMHO. And yes, I have had to use it one time for damage to a car.

01-16-2004, 02:01 PM
Cost me $3k a year for Genl Liab., Truck Ins. & Work Comp. In 6 years I've had 1 loss where a guy kicked up a rock with his trimmer and sent it through a sliding glass door. Customer came out and told me and we all went around back and watch it slowly crack into a million pieces. Could actually hear it SIZZLE as it cracked. I turned it in to insurance and they paid $500 to fix it. I didn't have to mess with anything else about it. Certainly glad I had it then, even though it was a "small" loss!

I also do pesticides and in order to keep my card I have to have $1 mil in coverage and prove it to the state. It's a way to C-Y-A and just a COST OF DOING BUSINESS!


01-16-2004, 02:22 PM
I think your right. For the most part all we will ever do is break a window. And most times it makes sence to pay for it yourself.

01-16-2004, 02:54 PM
I carry Gen Liab and a $500.00 deductable. Anything less that that I pay out of pocket. So far had to replace a piece of pvc pipe that was covered and never saw it about $10.00

Rustic Goat
01-16-2004, 03:18 PM
It's called insurance for a reason.
Don't most of us have it for the 'possibility' of causing a real high dollar disaster? Smaller claims (maybe even some over deductible) should be paid out of pocket.

Almost any claim sent through the insurance company will cause premium rates to go up.
It's a pay now or pay then cost of doing business.

Randy Scott
01-16-2004, 05:30 PM
Originally posted by DFW Area Landscaper
What I'm trying to see is a.) how much are the green industry insurance companies taking in from premiums and b.) how much are they paying out in claims.

There is no way of ever being able to get an answer like this. Just because a handful of guys here never had a major claim, doesn't mean there aren't claims being made. All it takes is one claim, followed by a lawsuit (which is all people are about today) to eat up hundreds of paying customers yearly insurance premiums. When insurance companies pay out lawsuits, where do you think they get their money? They get it from all the businesses like us that don't ever have claims. You're welcome to call the insurance companies and ask them where your money is going though. Or simply not carry it if you think they are just getting rich off you.

Honestly, and not to offend you, but who are you to contradict their charges, or what they are making off you? It's no different than when people pry into our charges, we certainly don't like ot either.

I'm not trying to be a jerk, but they inquire many costs due to lawsuits, not that they aren't making money, because they are, but that's what business is about. Just like us. :)

DFW Area Landscaper
01-16-2004, 05:48 PM
++++I don't mean to be a jerk, but++++

That's funny.

I see car wrecks all the time. I don't question the premiums for auto.

I have seen numerous threads on this web sight about employee injuries. I'm not questioning the premiums for workers comp.

So far on this thread, no one has had a single claim beyond 500 bucks. Sure, occassionally, someone is going to kill someone with an object thrown by a mower. But how often does that happen? I'd guess it's pretty rare that these companies pay a claim over $500 on general liability.

DFW Area Landscaper

Gr grass n Hi tides
01-16-2004, 08:32 PM
To answer the original question, no I've not had to file any claims in my brief experience. Thank God. Will I continue to buy insurance? Yep. Gotta do it.

Most of us buy because of "the great unknowns." "What if?"........ is a commodity which is marketed, bought and sold, every day. Like any commodity the value of "what if" can rise or fall depending on the risk involved (take flood Ins. for example, which is a great one to look at especially this year); however, the one great thing in the eyes of a carrier is that "what if" is real to everyone. Very marketable. Unless you (meaning anyone) are wealthy enough to be "self insured", buying coverage is pretty much a no-brainer in America.

So, an accident happens. Am I (meaning anyone) glad I have Ins.? Absolutely. Without it I could lose a lot. Besides, if we harm another human being and effect the way he/she might be able to provide for their family, I would hope everyone would want to have a way to help as much as possible. Thus, Ins. is a very useful and necessary function in our society, and some get rich providing it.

Are the Ins. carriers making a bundle? Absolutely. It's mind boggling to think how much, and it's ludicrus to think carriers are not "getting rich off of us." No two ways about it. One of the biggest industries in America, by far.

I remember a thread some time back where a guy in Florida said there were about 700 LCOs in his County alone. Okay, for argument sake, let's just say every single one of those LCOs have liabiltiy ins. (although that may not be the case) & they pay.............say $600/yr. for a 1M policy. Again, this is just for fun because I don't know what rates are like in Florida (but could find out with a little research I suppose); however, I pay about $600/yr. for 1M coverage. So........700 LCOs x $600 = 4.2M in premiums per yr. in just one Co. There are 67 Counties in FL. If every Co. had this concentration of LCOs buying Ins. then yearly premiums in FL alone would = 281.4M dollars. How many LCOs are there in FL, really, or on the east coast, in California, across the country?

And...........speaking to the subject of this thread..........to offset these premiums paid, how many "big" claims relating to green industry accidents do we hear about? I'm talking wrongful death or something close to that, not $500 glass claims. Carriers make money back on the little $500 claims without blinking an eye. Hypothetically, with 13,000 + members here at LS from across America, if every single one of them were to view this thread and report back on what is happening in their area, we might be able to start to get a feel for the number of claims that are out there.

So, DFW Area Landscaper, good for you for questioning! It's valid I think, to wonder what the going rate is for being human & who profits from that. I mean, you pay & most people want to know what they get for their money, yes?

I don't know how Ins. carriers fare with us green industry folk, but when I read a report that _________ (company shall remain nameless) profit margin is up 35% during times when a lot of others have claimed "recession" that should say something about their geneal "health." Naturally, the bigger, more prudent fish in the industry usually fare better. DFW Area Landscaper - pretty much you can rest well tonight knowing the Ins. carriers are not going starve this winter ;) And that's fine for the Ins. folks. They are in position to provide something a lot of us need.

Lawsuits. Let's all ask ourselves these questions: What is a dead child worth? What is a dead 45 yo father of three worth? What is foot of averge joe chopped off by a negligent lawn mower operator worth? What is any loss worth? You (meaning anyone) tell me. Very tough question for some, and therein lies the battle. Ins. Co. profitability vs. fair compensation for a loss. Well educated and/or represented individuals (or uneducated individuals) vs. trained Ins. Co. representatives. Thus, attorneys also provide something a lot of us need. Of course, you won't find may attorneys going hungry this winter either.

Insurance carriers help themselves every bit as much along the way as attorneys. All of us are paying the tariff for the tug of war they engage in while people's lives, and the dollar value placed on their lives hang in the balance. It's that simple. So......choose a side or don't choose a side, but no matter how you look at it we're all part of it.