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When renting a crane, it is important to make sure your company is properly insured. Should there be an accident, your current insurance might not cover it, and the rental contract might hold your company responsible. You will need to check your current insurance, and you might need to purchase a rider or additional policy.
The Potential Risk
Crane accidents may seem rare, but they occur all too frequently, and they are often devastating. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), crane accidents in construction and general industry result in an average of 71 deaths each year.
Even if an accident does not result in death or injury, it may cause extensive damage to property around the construction site. Cranes are often operated in urban areas, and an incident could damage multiple buildings.
Being Held Liable
Should there be a mishap with the crane you hired, your company may be held liable. While the crane rental company would generally be responsible for any malfunctioning equipment or operator mistake, most contracts place the blame for other incidents on the renting company. Writing for Ezine Articles, Robert Playford notes that crane rental contracts generally make the renter responsible for accidents resulting from:
misinformation about the lift
operating the crane in unsuitable conditions
There are three ways to insure your company against accidents resulting from any of these causes.
First, you should check whether your company's general liability policy covers crane accidents. If it does, then your company is already insured, and you need not pay for additional coverage. Your general liability policy may have exclusions or limitations on crane-related claims, though.
If your company's general liability policy does not provide adequate coverage for crane accidents, you may be able to purchase a rider from the same insurance company. A rider adds specific coverage to a policy for an additional fee. It has its own limits, exclusions and stipulations.
Your company's primary insurer may not offer any insurance for crane accidents. If this is the case, then you will need to find a policy specifically written for crane rentals. The policy should be offered by a licensed insurance company, offer plenty of coverage and be in place the entire time you are renting the crane.
Before purchasing a rider or additional policy, find out whether the duration of the policy can be increased. In the construction industry, delays are common. You'll want to be able to extend your policy easily if your project is stalled.
While your insurance will provide financial protection for your company, it will not prevent an accident from happening. In addition to being insured, your company should also make safety a top priority -- especially when a crane is being used. You should:
notify utility companies that a crane will be used
assume all nearby power lines are live
hold regular safety meetings with all employees
require wearing hard hats on the construction site
post caution signs for workers and pedestrians
In addition to these general practices, your company's insurance policy may have additional specific precautions listed. Review it carefully to see whether there are any that must be followed.
Review Your Company's Policy
Before your company rents a crane, be sure that adequate insurance is in place. You would not want to find out that your company wasn't covered after an accident; you would want to know before.
Because of the specific and detailed nature of crane rental insurance, you may want to speak with an insurance agent about coverage. They will be able to review your company's policy and help you find any additional coverage that is necessary.