If you are planning to open your garden this summer to visitors for commercial gain or charitable benefit, there are a number of insurance related issues you will need to be mindful of. As in all things in this world, a few simple precautions are required to protect your interests.
The major one is having public liability insurance cover. We all have a responsibility to others, even if we are inviting them into our gardens. We need to take all reasonable measures to prevent accidents to others. This will involve such things as making sure that paths are safe to walk on, trees have been pruned of weak limbs and so on.
Many open gardens offer teas and may sell local or homemade produce. Again, garden owners need to take all reasonable steps to make sure that what is being eaten, or sold, is of an acceptable standard. Larger events may involve caterers. Any reputable company must have suitable insurance cover in place, but it is always worth checking. Similarly, garden owners should consider whether anyone selling products from a stall should carry products liability cover.
If a product proves faulty and the purchaser finds that they are unable to get a refund, they may consider the garden owner responsible. Of course a faulty product isn’t necessarily covered by products liability.
The third liability is that of employers’ liability. There is a duty of care to an employee and in the context of a garden opening, this will include any volunteers. It will require that helpers are provided with a safe environment in which to do their work. Likewise, if they are using any equipment, particularly garden equipment such as a strimmer, they need to be trained in its use. The equipment itself must be in a good and safe condition.
At Lycetts we work closely with Scotland’s Gardens and have been involved in a number of joint ventures with the National Garden Scheme (NGS). The insurance provided is aimed at those gardens, usually smaller ones, whose insurers are unlikely to provide the above covers as part of a household insurance policy. A lot of household insurers will be unwilling to extend their policy to cover the eventualities described above. Those larger gardens, which often form part of an estate, would be expected to have these covers already in place, as would any commercial garden. In both cases, it is recommended that the garden owner’s insurer is informed.
For further information and advice please contact Charles Seymour on 0191 232 1151 or by email on email@example.com.