Follow these steps to make sure you don’t end up with a nightmare story to share with your grandchildren after hiring a tree service contractor.
- Get verifiable insurance certificates. (If you don’t read anything else on this site, read this!)
There are many types of insurance out there to keep track of these days. Car insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, etc. When a company says they are licensed and insured, you hope that doesn’t just mean they have a driver’s license and vehicle insurance on the pick-up truck they drive, but how would you know? We always recommend customers insist on getting verifiable copies of insurance paperwork with every estimate. The following types of insurance are most important when hiring a tree service company:
- General Liability Insurance.
This is the insurance that covers property damage (note: it does not cover injuries.) If a tree service fells a tree and if falls the wrong way ending up in your kitchen, this is the insurance that covers the damage. Policies usually have limits between $250,000-$2,000,000.
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance.
This is an important type of insurance to check for because if you hire a company that does not have this coverage in place and someone gets hurt, you may be held responsible for the injury. Some people just assume that their homeowners insurance would cover this, but in most cases, homeowner policies do not cover contractors. Some companies will tell you they have “Worker’s Comp. Exemption.” This is only available for up to 3 company owners/officers, and so if the owner has “helpers” on the job-site they are not exempt, and you could be held responsible if they are injured. If you are working with a company claiming exemption, make sure that you have documentation of who is actually exempt and make sure those are the only people present when the work is being done.
Again, we always recommend that customers should get copies of these 2 types of policies, and call the insurance company to verify the policy is active, before agreeing to having the work done.
- Always insist on getting a written estimate.
This seems obvious, right? But, we’re amazed at how often customers do not get a written estimate from other companies. If the agreement is not in writing, there is a lot of room for confusion and error regarding what was included in the price that you were quoted. Getting everything in writing is an essential part of making sure your tree care experience does not turn into a nightmare. It also makes it much easier to make comparisons if you get estimates from multiple companies. When a representative of Case Mountain Tree Service provides you with an estimate, we always give a detailed quote for each individual item on your list. That way you know exactly what is included and how the price is broken down, and you can make decisions accordingly.