Why do tradesmen need Public Liability Insurance?

Public liability insurance is an essential cover for tradesmen as it can protect you if someone is injured or their property is damaged because of your negligence during or after the course of your work.

When you are carrying out work for businesses or Local Councils it is often a condition of the contract that you have Public Liability Insurance and you will need to show them evidence of cover, by means of the Policy Schedule.

You can choose what limit of cover you want from £1 million to £10 million or greater if necessary,

Does Public Liability cover everything I need?

Not always.

An example is if you were fitting a new boiler in someone’s home and a pipe bursts causing water to damage floors and carpets. This would be covered by your Public Liability policy.

But what many people don’t realise is that if the boiler you were fitting was stolen during the contract – replacing the boiler wouldn’t be covered. For that you need Contract Works cover.

Additionally most Public Liability policies exclude any of the works you were contracted to do. Therefore if you or your work causes water to escape over the newly laid wood floor that you have fitted as part of the contract, you will be unable to claim for its repair/ replacement. You would need Contract Works cover.

Allcover can advise on whether you need Contract Works cover and if so how much.

What is Contract Works cover?

This covers the work you are contracted to do, i.e. Your work in progress.

For example, if you are part way through building a new structure and it catches fire, you could be responsible for reinstating all the works including labour and materials, at you own cost. Would you be able to request the Client pays you again?

Depending on the policy, it maybe possible to have Contract Works added to your Public Liability policy, alternatively a separate stand alone policy could be arranged.

How does this differ from Contractors All Risks?

‘Contractors All Risks’  is a term used for a policy which generally covers things such as Public Liability, Employers Liability and Plant & Machinery .

If you are being asked to have this cover 9 times out of 10 whoever is asking you for it is wanting you to have Contract Works cover which provides cover for the work that you carrying out and the materials up until the point of completion.

I damaged a bath I had fitted while I was doing the tiling around it and when I tried to claim my insurers said I wasn’t covered.

The majority of insurers exclude items that are part of your ‘contracted works’ under Public Liability, so if you damage something that you have fitted or built which is part of the contract that you are working on, it wouldn’t be covered. Again you would need Contract Works cover to protect the work you are doing until completion of that particular contract.

I have a lot of tools. Without these I wouldn’t be able to work. Are they covered?

Allcover recommend that tradesmen insure their work tools against loss, damage or theft.

We can arrange for 24 hour tools cover, even when left in a locked van overnight, one of the most common ways tools are stolen.

Insurers will look for signs of forced entry like a broken window or locks etc. They will not cover you if you leave your van unlocked while unloading and your tools are stolen, so take care.

I sometimes hire plant and machinery like a cement mixer – am I responsible for insuring these?

Plant and machinery you own or hire can be covered under a Contractors All Risks Insurance or as an extension to most Public Liability policies. You may find some firms insist on your having this insurance before they let you hire their equipment.

Someone helps me out occasionally when I have a lot of work on  – do I have to insure them?

If you have employees, Labour Only Sub Contractors, casual workers or temporary staff, you’re required by law to have Employers’ Liability insurance. It covers claims from employees who’ve been injured or become seriously ill whilst working for you. You would have to be proven negligent, however this could be quite simply by not ensuring they were equipped and were wearing the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

If you use a Self Employed person to help you sometimes and you supply the materials and tools, even if they have their own Public Liability Insurance , they are classified as Employees and you are required to have Employers Liability cover for them (by law).

Are there any restrictions on what I can do?

Some insurers have percentage restrictions on what you can do, for example they might say you can do up to 15% Painting and Decorating , or 10% Roof Work, while others will only cover you for what you have told them.

Property Maintenance has emerged as its own category over the past few years, so if you ‘just repair a roof ‘, ‘fix a wall’, ‘repair a leaking tap’, check that you policy covers you to carry out this type of work.

Also check that the type of premises you work on are covered. A large number of insurance policies will have restrictions such as “Private Dwellings, Shops, Offices, Hotels only”.  Schools, Hospitals, factories and blocks of flats over certain heights may not be covered. Know your policy limitations and cover before it is too late!

These are just some of the most common questions customers ask us. No matter what your enquiry or your type of business – Allcover can help.

You don’t need to spend hours searching online – let us do the work for you to get the right cover at the right price.

Allcover have over 30 years’ experience arranging insurance for Tradesmen and we have used our expertise to negotiate great deals for you with the UK’s leading insurers at competitive rates.

We provide a friendly and professional service, there are no call centres and every client receives personal attention.