Power washing is a common maintenance task for homeowners and businesses. However, did you know that power washing also carries certain risks that require insurance protection? We’ll consider power washing insurance options for 2024, how coverage works, and what factors to consider when choosing a policy.
What is Power Washing?
Before diving into insurance details, let’s start with a brief overview of power washing for those unfamiliar. Power washing (also called pressure washing) uses high-pressure water spray to remove dirt, stains, mildew, and grease from surfaces like houses, driveways, decks, fences, and more. The process works by forcing water through a narrow nozzle at high speeds, between 1,500-4,000 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure. This jet of fast-moving water is powerful enough to cut through grime that regular hosing cannot remove.
Most power washers run on gas or electric motors that power water pumps. Common attachments include adjustable spray wands, rotating scrub brushes, surface cleaners, and more. While the equipment itself is relatively affordable, starting at a few hundred dollars, comprehensive surface cleaning projects often require many hours of labor. That’s why power washing services are commonly offered as a professional business service for larger jobs.
Risks Associated with Power Washing
Now that we understand the basics of power washing let’s examine some of the key risks involved that necessitate insurance protection:
Property Damage – High-pressure water sprays can accidentally damage the surface being cleaned if the operator is not careful. Siding, wood, brick, and other porous materials are especially vulnerable to damage from an errant spray. Nearby landscaping or vehicles could also be damaged.
Slips and Falls – Wet surfaces left behind by power washing increase slip and fall hazards for anyone walking on them before they fully dry. This puts the power washing operator at risk if an accident occurs at a work site.
Injuries to Others – The high-velocity water stream carries a small risk of inadvertently injuring a bystander if the spray wand is misdirected. Eyes are particularly vulnerable to damage from pressurized water.
Equipment Malfunctions – On rare occasions, mechanical failures or explosions can occur with gas-powered pressure washers. Bursting hoses or leaks also pose risks.
Pollution/Runoff Concerns – Depending on the cleaning chemicals or detergents used, pressure washing runoff needs to be contained so it doesn’t pollute storm drains or natural areas. Environmental accidents are possible.
As you can see, a variety of liability exposures exist even for residential-scale power washing projects. Insurance provides protection against litigation and costs if an accident or injury does occur despite safety precautions.
Types of Power Washing Insurance
Several major types of insurance policies are applicable for power washing operators:
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance is the primary coverage needed for power-washing businesses. It protects the insured from third-party claims of bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury caused by their operations. Coverage amounts typically range from $500,000 to $2,000,000, depending on the policy.
Professional Liability Insurance
Also called errors & omissions insurance, this coverage protects power washing contractors from claims of negligent work, faulty workmanship, or failure to perform contractual duties properly. It’s especially important for commercial cleaning services with stricter performance obligations.
Commercial Automobile Insurance
If a power washing company utilizes trucks to transport equipment between job sites, commercial auto insurance is necessary. It covers legal liability and medical payments from accidents involving company vehicles.
Commercial Property Insurance
For power washing businesses operating out of a physical location, commercial property insurance can cover the building, equipment, and business contents against risks like fire, theft, and natural disasters.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Any power washing company with employees is legally required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. It provides wage replacement and medical benefits for workers injured on the job.
Personal Auto and Homeowners Insurance
Part-time or side-hustle power washers operating out of a home may be able to add commercial extensions to their personal policies for some liability protection during jobs. But standalone business policies are still recommended for sole proprietors.
The optimal insurance portfolio will involve different combinations of the above policies tailored to each power washing operation’s unique exposures and needs. Consulting an agent is key to ensuring all liability bases are covered adequately.
Choosing a Power Washing Insurance Provider
With an understanding of typical coverage types, let’s look now at factors to consider when selecting an insurance provider for 2024 and beyond:
Carrier Reputation – Research reviews online to assess customer satisfaction, financial strength ratings, and complaint histories for the top carriers in your state.
Policy Features – Compare included and optional coverage, limitations, and deductibles offered between carriers. Consider add-ons like business personal property coverage too.
Cost – Get quotes from multiple insurers factoring in premiums, payment plans, and discounts for things like safety training certifications. Smaller premium changes year-over-year indicate stability.
Claims Service – Inquire about claims response time guarantees, average settlement amounts, and local adjusting office locations for quicker resolution.
Risk Management – Choose insurers that provide risk management tools, like online training and checklist resources, that promote safer job sites and support loss prevention.
Agent Expertise – Work with an experienced local agent knowledgeable about power washing exposures who can advise on building the optimal package. They advocate if claims issues arise too.
Do thorough vetting to identify insurers with a strong combination of competitive rates, robust coverage options, financial backing, and superior customer care. Coverage is only as good as the carrier standing behind it. Seek referrals from established power washing professionals near you as well.
Getting Accurate Power Washing Insurance Quotes
Once you’ve selected a few prospective insurers, requesting quotes is the next step. To get an accurate assessment of pricing, be sure to provide complete and accurate details about:
- Type of power washing services offered (residential, commercial, both)
- Years in business and professional certifications held
- Number of employees, subcontractors used
- Average and maximum job contract values
- Revenue projections for the coming year
- Equipment and vehicle specifications
- Safety procedures and training protocols in place
- Claims/loss history, if applicable
- Optional coverages desired (e.g., pollution liability)
Armed with thorough business information, representatives can craft tailored quotes accounting for your specific operation’s unique characteristics and risks. Comparing “apples to apples” lets you identify the most cost-effective yet comprehensive option. Maintain documentation of all quotes received too.
Accurate quoting is an invaluable part of securing the right power-washing insurance solution. Communicate openly and ask clarifying questions so insurers fully understand your needs.
Maintaining and Renewing Coverage
After establishing power washing insurance initially, keeping protection in place, long-term requires ongoing diligence:
- Work closely with your agent to review policy details annually before renewal. Address any coverage gaps.
- Promptly report policy changes like adding vehicles or expanding service areas.
- Monitor state laws/regulations for new compliance obligations.
- Pursue continuing safety education and certification renewal.
- Maintain accurate equipment/property inventories.
- Pay premiums on schedule and never let policies lapse.
- Immediately notify insurers of any incidents or claims that could impact rates.
- Periodically shop for better rates as your operation matures using new safety practices as leverage.
Diligent policy maintenance and communication help optimize coverage year after year while building a positive history with the carrier. Proactively demonstrating risk control commitment ensures affordable premiums.
In summary, power washing presents a variety of third-party risks that liability insurance has become essential to manage. By carefully evaluating your specific business model and exposures, selecting a reputable provider, maintaining complete and accurate coverage, and practicing constant risk management techniques, power washers of any size can achieve the protection they need. Always consult a licensed agent to stay compliant with regulations as the industry evolves in 2024. With precaution and intelligence, both property owners and contractors can power wash with greater peace of mind.