1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

How much Liability Insurance do I Need

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by lehmand1, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. lehmand1

    lehmand1 Member
    Messages: 66

    I am pretty sure I am what you'ld call a sub-contractor. I get 1099'd every year. I am by no means a big time guy, I don't have a business other than this, and I only make $45 per hour to the tune of only about 2300 each year.

    Currently I have a 1/2 ton p/u with commercial plates and a Commercial Auto policy for $25,000/$50,000 Liability.

    I don't make much because there is too many people involved, but currently I am happy with where I am at. Company A has the contracts with the businesses. They sub them out to comp. B and they sub out to Company C, which is who I get a check from. I guess that would make me Company D. Well company A is a large company and B and C are smaller. Company A has informed company B that certain lots want 2-3 million in coverage. Which has trickled down to me. The owner of Company C is a very good friend of mine that I used to work with and grew up with. He has informed me that some of the Company B's(we get work from more than one company) that we work for want us to have at least 2 million in coverage.

    My questions are
    1. Does this sound reasonable to you??
    2. Being the driver on the lot, what are the extents of my liability? and what are the extents of liability of A, B and C companies??
    3. Is $45 an hour about right for Marion, Delaware, Columbus Ohio areas??The guy I wor for (company C) only makes $5 per hour on us to cover his billing time, and he also pais us within a week and waits on the money to come in. So I think him making $5 on me is fair.
    4. If $45 isnt about right, what is in this area?

    The guy I plow for is trying to get some of these lots on his own and cut out A and B and his goal is to be able to pay us 60-65 per hr next year while still making good money. He has about 15 guys that sub through him now, and most of us are just hillbillies with plow trucks and commercial auto policies so we don't know a whole bunch when it comes to the elements of business.
     
  2. Evanbrendel

    Evanbrendel Senior Member
    Messages: 181


    i sub for a guy and we use his insurance but i also have a few of my own contracts so i have my own commercial liability insurance. but it is for tree service also. I pay 600 a year for 600,000 liability. My insurance covers snow removal, tree care, and landscaping.
     
  3. lehmand1

    lehmand1 Member
    Messages: 66

    According to them $600,000 is not enough. And even that, @ 600 per year is a lot for a guy who only gets to plow about 4-5 times per season. Last year @ 52 hrs of plowing that would require me to make almost 12 per hr more just to cover the cost of ins.

    Like I said, I am just a small time guy. I have a full time job I have to work around and it doesn't snow much here in central OH to boot. And with soooo many middle men, the lighter snows I don't even get called on.
     
  4. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    tymusicYou need as much insurance coverage to protect you /your business/lifestyle in case of a claim against you. I dont think it what you "make"payup its what they:realmad: can "take"
     
  5. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    "just a small time guy" has absolutely no bearing when you get sued. UNLESS you have nothing to lose. Also - by you carrying insurance, it helps protect everyone in the chain above you. It may not seem fair that you should be helping to protect "Company A, B and C" in a lawsuit, but that's the way it goes.

    You really would be better off getting your own accounts. Cut out all the leaches sucking off your work.
     
  6. lehmand1

    lehmand1 Member
    Messages: 66

    It's really hard to do with having a fulltime job. I usually miss a couple of events every year. That Is why I like working for the guy I am now. He is a good friend and treats me fair. A lot of other guys around here would quit calling you to plow if you missed an event, and he doesn't. He is trying to get his own accounts and cut out the "leaches" above us and we'll all make more.
     
  7. fireboy6413

    fireboy6413 Senior Member
    Messages: 396

    I have 1million/2million general liability, for my landscaping and snow removal insurance combined it cost me 1600 per year, I still feel im not covered enough, its not about what is the right coverage, the more coverage the better off you are, remember some one sues you they can take everything, get the most you can afford. In regards does 2 million sound right, they want what they want, some companies want more some want less. you have to remember what we are actually doing. and don't forget the low life's that will go to your local store, purposely slip and fall then before you know it you have a law suit
     
  8. lehmand1

    lehmand1 Member
    Messages: 66

    But could I actually be held accountable for that? I dont even have a salt spreader. And I dont do side walks. I'm just the guy with a plow hooked up with the "bigger" landscaping guys that actually have the snow/ice managment contracts. I have no contracts what soever with anyone. I get called, and I go plow THEIR lots for THEM. Doesn't that make them liable for the slip and falls? Aren't I only liable for damaging something with my vehichle? If so, why would I need the millions in liability protection?
     
  9. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Anybody can be sued at any time for anything. A lawyer will name anybody remotely involved
    and let a judge sort out who should be held accountable. You are a subcontractor or employee. If you are a subcontractor, you WILL be named in a lawsuit and WILL bear some of the liability. If an employee, you COULD be named but probably not (depending on state law). "Plowing THEIR lot for THEM" makes YOU responsible for your (lack of) actions.

    Aren't I only liable for damaging something with my vehichle? - No, you can be liable for "slip and fall" injury or other damage.

    Why millions? Lawsuits can easily reach that level.
     
  10. BillyRgn

    BillyRgn Senior Member
    Messages: 713

    The one who is doing the work will defiantly get sued if something happens, no matter who has the contract. The other company's and the management company will probably also be sued, but the one doing the work will take the biggest hit. After the lawsuit is settled, it is a safe bet to say the other company's will probably sue you because you did the work and will say you did not perform up to standards. It does not matter how good of friends you are with the guy because it is not up to him and he has nothing to do with it. It will be there insurance company's coming after you. I don't mean to scare you but your better safe than sorry. If your not making enough to pay the insurance, than it is not worth it. It isn't just slip and falls you have to worry about, if you are driving down a street with a plow on a truck and get into an accident no matter how minor or severe and do not have snow plowing on your policy, you are not covered even if it is a commercial policy. You may be able to squeak by with something minor but the odds are not in your favor, if it is major forget about it, they defiantly will not cover you. Like I said before I don't mean to scare you, but I am sure you do not want to lose your truck, house, and your wages from your other job for god knows how long because you wanted to make a couple bucks. You either have to go all in (get insurance and enough accounts to pay for it and make it worthwhile) or bag it because the reward is no ware worth the risk. Also 2 million sounds reasonable.
     
  11. clark lawn

    clark lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    from NE ohio
    Messages: 1,233

    even if you just want to be liable for if you hit something with your truck what happens if you back up over someone walking across a parking lot and kill them. that will easily eat up millions of dollars.
     
  12. lehmand1

    lehmand1 Member
    Messages: 66

    My commercial policy does cover snow plowing. If I get into an accident driving down the street with the plow on, I am covered. If I hit a parked car on a lot, I am covered. As far as running over someone and killing them, how is that any different than an average joe just running an errand to walmart and killing someone. I'm pretty sure most people don't have 2mil coverage on their personal auto policys.

    I just find it baffling how I could be held accountable for slip and fall accident, when I don't do any salting at all. I get paid to plow ONLY. They call, I go plow, and they come buy and salt and do the walks later.
     
  13. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Laws and lawyers are often baffling. Especially when they don't go your way.
     
  14. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Isn't that the truth. I wish I could read, speak and understand the language of law better.

    I asked "how much liability insurance should I carry" to a business friend once and he answered with this question. "How much can you afford to be sued for?" Not what I wanted to hear...

    If clients or customers are asking that you carry $2 000 000.00 liability. That number is probably a good starting point.
     
  15. clark lawn

    clark lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    from NE ohio
    Messages: 1,233

    because your a contractor,
     
  16. mike6256

    mike6256 Senior Member
    Messages: 286

    Yup you are getting paid to do a job.... thats the difference.....
    It sucks but it is what it is.....
    I know I am in the same situation....
     
  17. Plowfixguys

    Plowfixguys Senior Member
    Messages: 222

    Are you a corporation? If not you should look in to incorporating, don't cost much and your protected in the event you get sued for something. You can also lease the truck and equipment to your corp and in the event you get sued they cant touch you or your equipment. Most of the time they will sue for more but then when they find out the corp has nothing, they just go for the limits of the insurance.
     
  18. lilpusher

    lilpusher Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 140

    incorporating doesn't necessarily protect you 100% it just makes it a little harder to get at your personal assets. If you incorporate you HAVE to treat you finances completely differently. If done right will be helpful, but you can still be named personally on a suit along with your company (INC) and you will need a GOOD attorney to get you personally removed. All costs money. Insurance policy for 2 mil cheaper than an attorney. Insurance co pays for the attorney if you have the policy.
     
  19. PlatinumService

    PlatinumService Senior Member
    Messages: 559

    Shop around for your commercial insurance i got covered for 5 mil through royal and sun alliance for $700 a yr so if anything does happen i know i will be covered for sure its not worth taking any chances. i know a contractor that got sued for a slip and fall (while they were in the parking lot plowing and salting) and she sued and won. then her husband sued for some life changing thing because he couldn't have sex with her while she had a broken hip and he won as well its always better to be safe than sorry
     
  20. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,197

    I don't make much because there is too many people involved, but currently I am happy with where I am at. Company A has the contracts with the businesses. They sub them out to comp. B and they sub out to Company C, which is who I get a check from. I guess that would make me Company D. Well company A is a large company and B and C are smaller. Company A has informed company B that certain lots want 2-3 million in coverage. Which has trickled down to me. The owner of Company C is a very good friend of mine that I used to work with and grew up with. He has informed me that some of the Company B's(we get work from more than one company) that we work for want us to have at least 2 million in coverage.

    Looks like a lawyers dream, now they have 4 companies they can go after + the store + the landlord, + the property management, and I probably missed someone, they wont though. You have no choice, if something were to happen, you could lose everythig. You being at the bottom of the list you are the bigget target. They will eat you up and then go on up from there. Now if you set up your plowing company as a corp, then just the corp will lose may be a way of protecting your assets.