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Chainsaw Insurance – Do you need it?

By: Author John Cunningham. Published: 2019/08/12 at 10:46 pm

A chainsaw is an empowering tool; it makes difficult jobs look easy and can make you feel a bit like Superman.

So, do you need chainsaw insurance? Homeowners’ insurance will normally cover all the risks associated with using garden tools, but be aware it may not cover cutting timber that’s not on the insured property.

Not all insurance policies are the same; it depends on which type you have and what exclusions are listed. Read them carefully.

In this guide, we’ll cut through insurance-speak and shed some light on the subject.

Does My Policy Cover Chainsaws?

That’s a great question, and without reading your policy, you won’t know for sure. Most standard household insurance policies cover garden tools, which include a garden chainsaw. The HO3 is a common household policy, but it’s a basic plan. It will likely cover open perils for the house but named perils for the contents, which means your contents risks will be limited.

The policy will typically cover loss, theft, and liability. Policies are usually divided into Open Perils and Named Perils.

Open Perils covers all homeowner’s risks. All insurance policies will have listed limitations; if it’s in the excluded section, it’s not covered.

Named Perils will list about 16 common homeowner losses that they will cover.

It’s not commonly known, but you may void your insurance by using your garden tools while not on your property. That means you may void your insurance by moving off your property boundary, cutting overhanging branches, or helping out on your neighbor’s property using your own garden tools.

If, by chance, your equipment caused an injury to you, your neighbor, your pet, or your property. Costs could run into thousands and possibly more in medical, legal, and repair bills that your insurance company might reject.

This strange circumstance has come about by the wording of a commonly used ISO insurance form.

What Is An ISO Form?

ISO is an insurance industry standard form. ISO stands for Insurance Services Office; they’re an insurance advisory organization that offer services such as standardized text for insurance forms.

There’s a good chance that your insurance provider uses these forms. However, they are not obliged to. There are a few variations of these forms; each has a slightly different but important interpretation of the cover. 

It appears if you wish to have full insurance coverage (who doesn’t), then some of these forms will limit the operation of your garden tools, specifically where you can use them.

The policy document will have the ISO form code at the top of the document; check yours for the following numbers:

HO 00 03 04 91 
HO 00 03 10 00
HO 00 03 05 11

Policies written on the 1991 forms don’t limit the liability of lawn equipment.

“We do cover vehicles or conveyances not subject to motor vehicle registration which are: a. Used to service an “insured’s” residence; or.”

Policies written on the 2000 forms moved things in favor of the insurance company.

“We do cover “motor vehicles” not required to be registered for use on public roads or property which are: a. Used solely to service an “insured’s” residence; or.”

If you have ever used your saw off the boundaries of your property, i.e., cut a neighbor’s tree, your saw is no longer covered by the policy.

Policies written on the 2011 forms moved backward a little in favor of the insured.

“Motor vehicles” not required to be registered for use on public roads or property which are: (a) Used solely to service a residence or 

This means you can cut the neighbor’s tree with your saw, and your cover is still intact. But your cover will be extinguished if you cut a tree at the local baseball field, as it’s not a residential property.

So, what does this mean? Check your insurance policy and know what limitations you are set. The risks associated with uninsured tools include not being able to recover the cost if lost, stolen, or damaged, but more significantly, maybe not being covered in the event of damage caused by your chainsaw.

Chainsaw Safety

Chainsaws are now so compact, easy to use, and inexpensive that every homeowner with pride and a yard to tame has one. You already know they’re dangerous; lack of knowledge or carelessness around chainsaws will result in injury eventually, and statistically to the left leg or hand.

It can be avoided by first taking the time to get to know your saw and reading the manual. Pay particular attention to the safety systems and the proper maintenance of the saw. I would encourage all saw owners to enlist on a training day; your local hardware store will likely know where these types of day courses are held.

If knowledge and training are the belts, then wearing safety gear could be described as braces.

Having the right kit is really important; hoodies with dangling strings or torn clothes can easily be grabbed by the blade, and wear tight clothing. Cut-resistant jackets and chaps are recommended. Sturdy pull-on boots work best and work on level ground where possible. A hard hat if you are working under possible falling branches; if not, wear a hat to help protect the head. Long hair should be pinned up.

Eye protection and ear muffs: though I confess I find ear muffs blunt my senses a little, I much prefer earplugs.

Common accidents include slipping on uneven or slippery ground while saw running, saw kickback, one-handed cutting, reaching across the moving blade, and starting without a chain brake.

Enjoy your saw, but do use common sense.

You may find the following pages and posts helpful:

Chainsaw troubleshooting page

Should I buy a used chainsaw?

Related Questions

What is the easiest chainsaw to start? The easiest chainsaw to start is an electric saw; if a corded saw is unsuitable, try a lithium battery-powered cordless chainsaw.

Are battery chainsaws as good as gas? Gas saws are the most powerful and flexible. Corded saws and battery-operated are cheaper and by far easier to use and maintain, ideal for the occasional user.