Five claim scenarios that’ll make you hug your liability policy

Added March 24, 2022

Whether you serve customers in person, off site, or online, your business faces liability risks. Why? Because it’s almost impossible to control unforeseen incidents caused by your operations or employees. Which means purchasing a general liability insurance policy is invaluable for your horticultural business.

General liability helps protect your business from the cost of uncertainties

With general liability coverage, your business is protected (up to your policy limits) if you're found legally liable for injuries or property damage caused by your operations, your products, accidents on your premises, or mishaps at customer locations (based on your policy coverages and conditions).

Here are three types of general liability coverages important for your business:

  • Product protection coverage. Once your product leaves your business, it's out of your control. From allergies to accidental ingestion or a defect in design, general liability insurance can cover you and your assets if someone is injured or something is damaged by your product.

  • Property damage coverage. If your business often requires you to be on site at a customer's property, odds are the work you do comes with some hazards and risks. You'll want coverage for property damage you're legally responsible for.

  • Chemical application coverage. You can help protect your business from losses related to chemical drift, accidents while transporting chemicals, or damage caused when spraying.

Five illustrative claim scenarios

Think about the characteristics of your own business and its potential risks as your read the following five hypothetical examples.

Claim 1: Slip and fall on site

A customer visiting a garden center slipped on the wet floor where plants recently had been watered. Ignoring the yellow caution cone, the customer reached for a plant, slipped, and fell.

“The most common type of general liability claim is a slip/trip/fall type of claim,” notes Traci Dooley, national agency sales director at Hortica®, a brand of the Sentry Insurance Group. “Regardless of how the slip or trip occurs, if an individual falls and breaks something, complications can cause the claim to get very expensive!”

Claim 2: Product injury off site

A floral shop delivered a vase of flowers to a customer. As the recipient pulled the vase out of the box, the vase suddenly broke and the customer's hand was cut by a shard of glass.

Claim 3: Fall and injury on site

The local garden center was a pet-friendly business where customers were allowed to bring their pets while they shopped. Customer A brought in a well-behaved golden retriever. Customer B bent down to greet and pet the dog, but the dog was startled by the loud bark of another dog nearby. Customer B was knocked to the ground and suffered scrapes on her knees and a broken wrist.

Claim 4: Damage to customer vehicle on site

In spring, this garden center sold containerized plants and bulk mulch. A store employee loaded a large purchase of mulch onto the bed of a customer's pick-up truck with a small tractor/loader but scraped the tailgate of the truck as he backed away after unloading the mulch.

Claim 5: Damage to customer property off site

A floral shop maintained decorative plants in a nearby office complex. Shop employees watered the plants weekly, including a large planter. Over time, the container leaked, causing damage to the carpet underneath. The carpet couldn't be repaired or matched, so the entire room had to be recarpeted.

*While the descriptions above aren't based on a specific individual or entity, the details reflect characteristic facts from multiple actual claims.

In each of the examples above, the business's general liability coverage could help protect their bottom line following the injuries and property damage. It provides a safety net to help protect your business in the event of an unforeseen incident. If something does go wrong, having some protective measures in place can prove invaluable. Even in situations where you meet your insurance deductible, it'll still likely be far less expensive than paying the full cost of a liability-related lawsuit out of pocket.

If you have questions or would like to review the liability coverage on your current policy, contact us or request a quick quote.

Related links:

Here are five steps to help you understand the claims process if you ever need to file a property damage claim for your business.

No matter what safety procedures you have in place, accidents can still happen. Umbrella insurance provides an extra layer of protection for your business.

Learn about common cybercrimes, how to avoid them, and how cyber liability insurance can help your horticultural business.

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The information in this article is for informational or entertainment purposes only. View our disclaimer by going to terms and conditions and clicking on Learning Center disclaimer in the table of contents.