Tree surgeon insurance

Learn what arborist insurance includes in the UK, why you need it and how much is might cost.

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Tree surgeons, or arborists, as they are sometimes known, often work in dangerous conditions, both to themselves and those around the worksite. We looked at the importance of getting tree surgeon public liability insurance, what’s included in the cover, what’s excluded and how much it all might cost.

What is tree surgeon insurance?

Tree surgeon insurance is business cover tailored to the needs of arborists. It includes things like public liability, legal expenses and personal accident cover.

Why do tree surgeons need insurance?

As a tree surgeon, you’re often climbing to great heights and working with large trees that can do some serious damage to people and their property if something goes wrong.

For these reasons, it’s wise to take out cover that protects you both in terms of your own wellbeing and in case you accidentally harm someone else.

What types of business insurance do tree surgeons need?

It’s important for tree surgeons to be able to protect themselves against two main eventualities: injuries to themselves or action taken against them by other people.

To protect against injuries, taking out personal accident cover can be a good idea. This is sometimes an added extra with arborist insurance and requires an additional premium, but it can be worth the expense since it provides a payout in case you are injured in the course of your duties.

To protect against legal action by others, you should take out tree surgeon public liability insurance. Cover is usually available from £1m and can be used to pay for legal expenses and compensation payments.

If you employ staff, employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement.

What is covered?

The exact spec of the cover will vary by provider and the type of policy you choose, but business insurance for tree surgeons usually includes a combination of the following elements:

  • Tree surgeon liability insurance. Liability insurance covers you in case another person is injured or their property is damaged and your business is legally liable.
  • Legal expenses. While liability compensation payouts can run to millions, other costs involved in a court case can also cripple a business. Legal expenses cover helps to make the whole experience a little less daunting.
  • Employers’ liability insurance. If you employ staff, you are legally required to take out employers’ liability insurance to protect both your crew and yourself in case legal action is taken against you.
  • Personal accident. It’s not just other people or their property that are at risk, you may become injured too. Personal accident cover helps out with lost income, medical costs and hospitalisation costs in case of serious injury or even death. In some cases, this cover requires an additional premium.
  • Business equipment and tool insurance. Your tools and equipment can be stolen, lost or become damaged while you’re on a job. If your work relies on them, you’ll want to get them fixed or replaced as soon as possible. This type of cover can help with that, though it might be an optional extra with some policies.
  • Contract works cover. Also known as Contractors All Risks insurance, this type of cover insures your work against instances such as flood or fire damage and insures the materials should they be damaged or stolen. Damage to third parties is also sometimes included. You might have to take this cover out separately or pay an additional premium for it.

What isn’t covered?

Some of the above benefits might not be included as standard and will require an additional premium to add them to your policy.

Always make sure you read the policy terms carefully so that you know exactly what is and isn’t included in your cover.

How much does insurance for tree surgeons cost?

The cost of your insurance will depend on your individual requirements and the level of cover you take out.

For example, if you have staff, you’ll legally be required to take out employers’ liability insurance, which might make the cover more expensive. Additionally, some elements, like personal accident and contracts work cover might not be included as standard in the policy. If you chose to add these to your cover, it will become more expensive.

However, to give you an indication of the cost, business insurance from our partner, Superscript, starts from £5.13 per month for its Essential cover and £7.58 per month for its Professional cover.

Common claims examples

  • Falling branches. Even the most skilled and experienced tree surgeons can make a mistake. If you cut a large branch and it falls in the wrong place, it can damage property or even hurt a person or animal. Having tree surgeon public liability insurance in place will protect you in case legal action is taken against you by the injured party.
  • Break-in or theft of tools. Unfortunately, valuable equipment and tools can be stolen from your premises, vehicle or even the job site. Taking out cover for this makes sure you can get back to work quickly.
  • Accidents and injuries on the job. It’s not just other people and their property that can suffer damage. Tree surgeons work with some dangerous heavy-duty machinery, like chainsaws and hedge or tree trimmers. Personal accident cover as well as income protection can protect you should you be hurt on the job, especially if it means you are unable to work for a while.


Tree surgeons do important work, but it’s not without its risk. Accidents can happen that can cause damage or injury to others as well as to yourself.

While taking out arborist insurance is not a legal requirement (with the exception of employers’ liability insurance if you have staff), it is highly recommended. Claims for public liability in particular can run to extortionate amounts, and personal accident cover can protect you from losing significant income if you’re injured on the job.

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