Anyone else seeing a significant spike to their general liability/umbrella insurance this year? My renewal is 50% higher than my 1st year...

eyehearttrees

New member
Location
Tampa-Area
Title... Got my renewal (and put it off, so I basically "have to" re-sign tomorrow, although I'm sure if I waited a week they would still happily take my money)

Got insured just under a year ago, knew renewal was coming-up so I saved $500 (my initial down-payment, last year), just in case although I figured a year as "a good client" never being late / no claims / etc figured it'd be a lower down-payment and likely a lower monthly....but, nope:
- Down payment is the same $500 as last year (which, fine I guess, annoying but makes monthlies lower so works-out), but it seems like $500 is "a deal" considering:
- a 50% rise to my monthly premium, from $95 to 140!!!

FWIW my deductible is set at $500...I'd just post a pic of my policy page but know there's likely something on it I shouldn't be making public but it's a basic policy, I did get it through "a friend" well really it was his friend that he sent me to, in the next town over. Will be going to their office tomorrow to ask why the policy jumped up 50% I mean there's no reason I can think of for such a drastic 1-year-change to something like this....will happily swap companies, current is "Evanston" (that is not the place in teh next town over, they're "brokers" who "fixed me" with Evanston)

Thanks for any insight, if it's happening to everyone then I can save the trip to even go ask, if not then I'm beyond-late in finding a new insurer :p
 

eyehearttrees

New member
Location
Tampa-Area
[btw Re my last thread -- I am sorry I didn't get the pics up of that over-fence Jacaranda, I do have some awesome pics (IMO :p ) and'll get them up, was a funky one I ended up setting a zipline, working over client's neighbor's yard but not being able to drop a piece down onto their lawn!]
 

Reach

Been here a while
Location
Atglen, PA
Our rates have gone down this year, at least as far as the “cost per” rates. Our totals have gone up because our sales volume and wages paid have gone up significantly.

Tree trimmers liability policies are often based on your total annual sales, as reported on your annual audit. You typically pay a premium based on your estimated sales for the coming year, so you may have done more sales than estimated, if you’ve already had your annual audit.

It’s never a bad idea to shop around, although I would gladly trade insurance bills with you!
 

Edi

New member
Location
Illinois
My insurance never goes down, doesn't matter if I make a full payment and don't have any claims, my deductible is $1000
Even sometimes they send someone to take pictures and make sure everyone is using PPE.
Reach is right, my liability insurance is based in the annual sales.
And the most expensive one is the workers com that is obviously based on the payroll.
 
Last edited:

eyehearttrees

New member
Location
Tampa-Area
[If I didn't mention, I am a 1-person / sole proprietorship, and am speaking "comercial liability insurance $1M coverage" insurance only :)


Our rates have gone down this year, at least as far as the “cost per” rates. Our totals have gone up because our sales volume and wages paid have gone up significantly.

Tree trimmers liability policies are often based on your total annual sales, as reported on your annual audit. You typically pay a premium based on your estimated sales for the coming year, so you may have done more sales than estimated, if you’ve already had your annual audit.

It’s never a bad idea to shop around, although I would gladly trade insurance bills with you!
I'll check-around as much as I can today but I f'd up and waited too long, I guess I could just pause and go w/o insurance for a few days (obviously would not do any jobs) because I know I cannot get a new policy in 1-2 days (well, I couldn't initiate a policy in that timeframe last Nov when I first got insured!) so basically need to sign-on again for another year only at 140/mo instead of $95/mo, or go hunting and likely be uninsured/unworking til the new one is setup (IE with the weekend coming, and my current policy ending Saturday, I basically need to renew it now for continuity, or drop-off and get re-insured Mon/Tues next week if I shopped-around today/tomorrow to try finding a new provider!)


Re "based on annual sales" and someone else's comment Re "coming to check Re PPE....gotta say these are MIND BLOWING comments for me to hear...my insurer never even met me in person, I could've been in a wheelchair, it did/does blow my mind that they insured me w/o verifying I knew how to use a saw, how to climb etc, but hey they insured me so I didn't care. Re annual sales, my #'s are a nightmare it would take me an hour to get an estimate (my 1st year keeping books, and I have NOT done a good job) Nobody from insurance has ever asked anything of this nature, in fact they've never asked ANYTHING, I just paid 500 down and made my monthly payments, that was the entirety of the relationship til I just got this renewal telling me "Come pay this year's 500 down payment and oh your bill is being increased 50% neener neener!!"
 

Reach

Been here a while
Location
Atglen, PA
A couple short thoughts on what you’ve said here:

Find a good insurance agent that you can meet with on occasion, and who will fight for you. Our agent is wonderful, she gave us a binder with all our policies in it, and updates it for us whenever there’s a change. She also keeps us informed of anything upcoming, especially policy renewals or changes - she just sent me an email today to let me know that our policy cost will be increasing at our renewal in November. To combat that, she’s already started shopping for a new policy for us that will decrease our costs.

Get on point with your paperwork. The IRS doesn’t mess around. Also, more importantly, you can’t tell if you’re actually making money if you’re not organized. As a business owner (even if you employ no one but yourself) the business side of business must take priority over doing the physical work, or you’ll end up working for free. If you can’t do the paperwork, or don’t know how, pay a good small business accountant to get you in order and teach you how to stay that way.

Also, expect an insurance audit after your renewal date; likely a company representative will want to meet you in person at your office, and will expect you to have your paperwork in order and be able to provide everything they ask for when they ask for it.
 

ATH

Been here a while
Location
Ohio
....

Also, expect an insurance audit after your renewal date; likely a company representative will want to meet you in person at your office, and will expect you to have your paperwork in order and be able to provide everything they ask for when they ask for it.
I've never had that 15 years in.
 

Reach

Been here a while
Location
Atglen, PA
I've never had that 15 years in.
Wow. Maybe it’s a PA thing? Occasionally we get to do it over the phone or by email, but they usually seem to require a visit. We have had some ins. companies that would meet with our accountant instead of us, but there’s always something.
 

Edi

New member
Location
Illinois
Here too I get audit every year after the renewal payment then they send the bill for adjustment if is needed or check with refund if the renewal payment or adjustment was too much.
 

Edi

New member
Location
Illinois
If I didn't mention, I am a 1-person / sole proprietorship, and am speaking "comercial liability insurance $1M coverage" insurance only
I shouldn't be telling you this but, if you're just one man crew. Maybe I'm wrong but I'm assuming you are not removing big trees or rigging heavy stuff just don't let anyone be near your working area the worst that could happen is a damage on a fence, windows or gutters anyway insurance never is used for those things
we ended up paying out of our pocket.
You can work for few days with out insurance until you get your coverage.
 

eyehearttrees

New member
Location
Tampa-Area
Thanks a million for all the insight, am just blown-away at how different my insurance is....it's "real insurance" lol a $1M policy (Evanston is the actual insurer), but basing stuff on income/sales? Checking-in on me on a job? ROFL--- I literally could've been in a wheelchair, and obtained this insurance both at-inception last Nov, through the entire 1st year, and through this renewal!! Literally not joking, everything was digital (maybe they waived some in-person signing because the insurance-agency is friendly with a friend of mine? I was referred-to them, maybe he said "yeah he's a good tree guy" or something...though I was, and still am, amazed that they've never once verified if I was able-bodied, if I knew a thing about ropes/trees/saws, or even my sales they've never once asked even for a category/guesstimate..)

Re the 55% spike, I got it down to about 30% simply by going into the office and asking... The owner was telling me "The total claims-paid last year was way up so premiums are up", this is NOT how I understood insurance to work (IE that rates change annually based on the industry's prior-year performance...nor would I presume there's any significant year-over-year variance in claims#'s...) Seems like he was just adding what he could get away with, and going from $95 to $125 wasn't a big enough for me to go price-shopping :/




I shouldn't be telling you this but, if you're just one man crew. Maybe I'm wrong but I'm assuming you are not removing big trees or rigging heavy stuff just don't let anyone be near your working area the worst that could happen is a damage on a fence, windows or gutters anyway insurance never is used for those things
we ended up paying out of our pocket.
You can work for few days with out insurance until you get your coverage.
While I'd be quick to (won't say I've been in / been party-to such scenarios ;P ) pay-off / replace / make-whole when shit happens, with my luck I'd go a day w/o insurance and would put a log through a roof! Now that I can work insured, I always will!!


Also, expect an insurance audit after your renewal date; likely a company representative will want to meet you in person at your office, and will expect you to have your paperwork in order and be able to provide everything they ask for when they ask for it.
I have to wonder if the lack of this is because of my insurer/agency, or because my "file" is already marked as "low income 1 man operation, cannot hike his rates" lol


Get on point with your paperwork. The IRS doesn’t mess around. Also, more importantly, you can’t tell if you’re actually making money if you’re not organized. As a business owner (even if you employ no one but yourself) the business side of business must take priority over doing the physical work, or you’ll end up working for free. If you can’t do the paperwork, or don’t know how, pay a good small business accountant to get you in order and teach you how to stay that way.
Yes it is just me and I've been fighting w/ #'s this whole year, probably half a dozen different setups and I "have all my #'s" but it'd take me a day to get anything 'ready' (IE shoebox of receipts, income marked by-job on the scheduler but not itemized anywhere, etc etc)
Would LOVE to hear what you guys used when you were starting/small, something very very basic (am not bad with #'s, but have so few of them that Excel would be overkill, insurance is my only fixed-overhead from there it's fuel for the saws..)



Raise you deductible.
The $500 deductible is required according to my agent(well, the owner of the agency, unsure if he's actually my agent) He didn't imply it was required by the actual insurer, but by his office..

~~~~~

Feels good to have it over&done with for another year though, am not that happy with my first year's #'s but am getting a LOT better at not giving-away work (I'd probably have made 2X what I did if I'd been really firm with my pricing, and I don't mean "If I charged what I know the others do" I simply mean not doing crap for $250 when it should be 350, doing any jobs <$200, etc etc...have gotten a lot better here!!)
 

eyehearttrees

New member
Location
Tampa-Area
Oh and Re insurers' focus on the companies they insure, I am certainly not thinking it's a regional thing because I know a roofing company that just went from 5k/mo to 20k because of a problem-employee (they just let him go, finally, after a 3rd accident!) And my agency is 'real' lol it's office is a nice downtown location, long term tenancy, etc etc....did not find them online and do it all via email or something LOL!!
 

Reach

Been here a while
Location
Atglen, PA
One of my suggestions for handling income and receivables, and organizing yourself, is to use either a basic QuickBooks (I used QuickBooks Simple Start when I first started) or Express Invoice is another halfway decent, basic service.

And about your “everything digital” last year, our insurance company did that too. We had no in-person audit last year, but we’ve had two so far this year, one for worker’s compensation, and the other for liability.
 
Our rates have gone down this year, at least as far as the “cost per” rates. Our totals have gone up because our sales volume and wages paid have gone up significantly.

Tree trimmers liability policies are often based on your total annual sales, as reported on your annual audit. You typically pay a premium based on your estimated sales for the coming year, so you may have done more sales than estimated, if you’ve already had your annual audit.

It’s never a bad idea to shop around, although I would gladly trade insurance bills with you!
General Liability insurance for tree care is based on payroll expsoure. Industry wide these rates have been flat to a moderate increase (+5%) but this will vary by carrier and state. Most carriers are looking for significant commercial auto rate increases; as much as 10% for accounts with good experience and more if there has been claims activity. Commercial auto experience has continued to deteriorate year over year and this was even true in 2020 with far fewer drivers on the road.
 

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