Specialized Crane Insurance: What It Covers and Why You Need It

construction worker thinking

Cranes and rigging pose the highest potential for construction-related accidents—make sure you are prepared

It is a common misconception that all aspects of the construction industry are together under the umbrella of a single insurance model. In reality, the needs of the crane and rigging industry call for a very specialized crane and rigging insurance package. That’s why we’re covering the advantages of specialized crane insurance today.

The most obvious need for this can be seen just by a review of the equipment used—cranes and rigging equipment are extremely heavy machinery, which means that any mishap on a job site can have major consequences. 

Because of the potential for disaster from lifting and moving heavy materials at a construction site, crane operator insurance is a must to assume liability risk in case something goes wrong. Since this is also extremely expensive equipment, there is also a compelling need to protect the owner from devastating financial loss in the event of certain kinds of equipment damage.

Join Gallager’s Scaffold team as we explore the most important information you need to know about getting covered with specialized insurance. Let’s go!

What is Specialized Crane Insurance?

Avoid major setbacks with specialized insurance options

several cranes on a construction site

Specialized crane insurance—also known as crane-specific insurance or crane equipment insurance—is a type of coverage tailored specifically to the unique risks associated with operating specialized or high-value cranes.

It offers comprehensive protection beyond the basic liability and property coverage provided by standard crane insurance. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key aspects of specialized crane insurance that you need to know:

All Risk Coverage

Specialized crane insurance typically includes “all risk” coverage, which means it provides protection against a range of hazards that cause damage to the insured crane. This includes accidents, theft, fire, vandalism, and natural disasters.

Equipment Breakdown

This coverage specifically protects against the financial consequences of mechanical breakdowns, electrical failures, or other operational issues. It covers the cost of repairs or replacement of damaged parts.

Loss of Revenue

In the event of a covered loss or damage that renders the crane unusable, specialized crane insurance may offer coverage for the resulting loss of revenue or business interruption. This helps compensate for the income generated if the crane were operational.

Spare Parts and Accessories

Specialized crane insurance extends coverage to include spare parts, accessories, and attachments. This guarantees that the entire range of equipment associated with the crane operations is adequately protected.

Worldwide Coverage

Depending on the policy, specialized crane insurance offers coverage for operations within a specific geographic area and projects or contracts carried out internationally. This is particularly important for companies or individuals involved in global construction or heavy-lifting projects.

Specialized crane insurance is typically designed for large cranes, such as tower cranes, crawler cranes, mobile cranes, or offshore cranes. Given the high value of these specialized machines and the complex risks involved in their operation, having tailored insurance coverage is essential. As with any insurance policy, it’s crucial to carefully review the terms, conditions, coverage limits, and exclusions of specialized crane insurance. 

Why is Specialized Crane Insurance Important?

Crane insurance can save your project from delays, injuries, and additional spending

Investing in specialized crane insurance will protect your workers and equipment. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways that you can protect your team!

importance of specialized crane insurance

Financial Protection

Crane insurance provides financial protection by covering the costs associated with such incidents, including property repairs, medical expenses, legal fees, and compensation claims. 

Legal Requirements

In many jurisdictions, insurance is a legal requirement for crane operators.

Client or Contractual Requirements

Clients or project owners may require proof of crane insurance before allowing a crane operator to work on their projects. They want assurance that any potential liabilities or damages arising from crane operations are adequately covered.

Risk Mitigation

Crane operations inherently involve risks, including the potential for accidents, equipment failures, or damage to property or infrastructure. Crane insurance helps mitigate these risks by providing coverage for both liability and property damage.

Business Continuity

For companies that heavily rely on crane operations, the loss or damage of a crane can disrupt their business activities and lead to significant financial losses. Crane insurance provides coverage for equipment breakdown, loss of revenue, or business interruption.

Crane insurance is essential for protecting crane operators and companies from the potential financial consequences of accidents, damages, or injuries associated with crane operations. It helps fulfill legal requirements, meet client or contractual obligations, mitigate risks, and maintain business continuity. By having crane insurance, operators can safeguard their assets, reputation, and long-term viability in construction, heavy lifting, or related industries.

What are the Advantages of Specialized Crane Insurance?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to further explore why getting specialized insurance is beneficial for your project and your workers

The specialized needs of the crane and rigging industry require that there is crane insurance coverage and rigging insurance coverage from the time of contract bidding on through completion. Since there can be a potential claim triggered during all phases of the process between the start and end points of a contract, adequate coverage for the full duration must be provided.

Few insurance programs are designed specifically with the crane and rigging industry in mind, and that makes it doubly important to select the right program. When only general liability coverage is offered by a blanket construction insurance policy, a far greater share of the risk is assumed by the contractor and far less by the general contractor or insurance company.

Sometimes even a crane and rigging insurance policy is inadequate because of risk and liability language. This is a great argument for carefully reviewing every contract by a crane or rigger’s legal representative to ensure that the contractor does not assume undue risk.

Specialized Coverage and Risk Management

Every site is different—get the specialized coverage you need

Specialized crane and rigging insurance is advantageous to a contractor when very heavy equipment must be transported to a work site.

Given the value of such equipment, over-the-road coverage is necessary to avoid serious financial loss from any kind of in-transit accident. With generalized insurance coverage or zero insurance coverage for this transportation function, a contractor will quickly run into issues should anything go wrong.

The ideal solution is to match a specialized crane and rigging policy to the risk management policies adopted by the crane operator. This way, the crane operator is not overburdened by risk that should more properly be assigned to the general contractor.

Along with minimized exposure to risk, coverage provided by a specialized crane and rigging policy should take into account other specific industry factors. One of these special needs concerns the boom of a crane and any damage it might potentially cause. 

Boom overload clauses are sometimes added to a general equipment floater, thereby reducing operator exposure. There is also the possibility of environmental damage, which needs to be considered when purchasing specialized insurance as well.

If this very specialized equipment should become disabled for any time, it also gives rise to other kinds of very specific exposure. For instance, the repair or replacement cost generally increases the longer the equipment is disabled.

Having only generalized construction industry insurance can be almost the same as having no insurance at all for a crane or rigging operator. Only by having specialized industry insurance can an operator be adequately protected, and even then, all work contracts must be carefully reviewed for any exclusionary language that might negate the coverage provided.

How Much Insurance Do I Need?

Every worksite will have different needs—make sure you are getting the right coverage with our guide

crane operator hard at work

To determine crane insurance cost & liability needs for your business, there are several factors to take into consideration.

Work Area

Evaluating your work area should be at the top of your list when it comes to choosing specialized worksite insurance coverage. Many areas have the potential for a natural disaster, such as a flood or earthquake. Businesses need to avoid assuming these events are covered by their basic policy, which is usually not the case.

Crane Rental

Many construction companies choose to rent cranes rather than buy them due to requiring them for only some jobs. Crane rental insurance should always be purchased in these cases, making sure specific parts of a policy are included. Rental reimbursement and manuscript coverage should be included in the policy, which can be customized to cover any equipment rented to third-party contractors.

General Liability

General liability coverage is part of a policy that covers many of the risks encountered on a job site. The levels of crane insurance coverage in this part of the policy should be adjusted to easily cover any potential damage. Aspects such as sudden or accidental pollution can also be included, with many companies taking out general liability coverage that insures them for anywhere from $250,000 up to $1 million.

Loss of Rentals

Property and equipment are some of the most important parts of any reputable construction company, and making sure these areas have adequate crane rental insurance is essential. Most companies have up to $1 million coverage in this area, including physical damage or loss of rental equipment in the company’s care, loss of income, riggers’ liability, and more.

Make sure all your insurance needs are accounted for with the construction insurance experts at Gallagher’s Scaffold Team. For over 30 years, the Gallagher team has provided cost-effective solutions to help their clients minimize risks and exposure to protect profits and build their bottom line. Help your business stay afloat, and talk to one of our professional construction insurance brokers today!
For more information about crane and construction insurance, including working with our team of insurance professionals to find a specialized program for your business, contact Gallagher’s Scaffold Team!