Brady's Tree Service, LLC
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|Posted on July 7, 2015 at 1:40 PM|
How to Avoid Being Scammed By a Tree Service
Many people are unaware that the tree industry is one of the most dangerous professions. Because of the nature of working near live power lines, at extreme heights and with dangerous tools, tree work carries a heavy risk of serious injury and death. For your protection and peace of mind, it is essential that you understand how your tree service is working not only to protect the health of your trees, but to protect you from potential liabilities.
Fact: Insurance in the tree industry is very expensive, especially workers compensation. Companies often do not carry proper insurance to protect you from liability, and some will stretch the truth to convince you everything is covered when they are under insured and many are unaware of what coverage is needed.
Remember, where a lot of money is involved, there is a lot of motivation to bend the truth. Do your own research and get certificates of insurance. No one should ever be offended or hesitant when you ask for proof of insurance!
It is much cheaper simply to print “fully insured, workers’ compensation and liability insurance” on a card or ad than it is to buy coverage. This deception is made especially easy and profitable because very few customers actually check to see if insurance is in place until after an accident happens.
Workers Compensation is the most expensive and the most necessary insurance. It covers injuries that tree company employees or owners suffer at work. This is the only real protection you can have from the liability of someone being injured while working on your property. There is no substitute for it!
Workers comp tricks to watch out for:
Some tree contractors claim they do not need workers comp because they have fewer than five employees. It is true that the law doesn’t require workers comp for non-construction businesses with less than five employees. But that will come as little comfort when liability bounces straight to you after the company owner is or claims to be unable to pay for the injury of a worker.
Another myth you may hear is that workers comp is not needed if the owner is the only employee. If the owner is injured and can’t pay, you are just as liable. Additionally, no one should ever do tree work alone, as this greatly increases the chance of severe injury or death.
One trick is to carry workers comp on only one employee working at least 20 hours a week. This saves a tree company huge amounts if it employs several workers because workers comp premiums are based on pay roll reports. A valid insurance certificate is meaningless if most employees are being paid “under the table” as subcontractors with no insurance.
Fully Insured: The phone book will have many advertisements with the term “fully insured.” What does it mean? More often than not, it means a tree company does not have the insurance you need and doesn’t want you to ask many questions. You must ask, however, because “fully insured” can easily mean absolutely nothing.
Some prices are simply too good to be true. Customers should be cautious of companies that get business based on always having the cheapest price. More often than not, they are not paying insurance premiums or properly training employees. This means they are more likely to have accidents and less likely to have insurance. Often the difference in cost is workers compensation; this is one corner you cannot afford to cut.
Do your homework! Ask for insurance certificates!