Most self-employed tradesman have a lot on their plate.  They usually work long hours, dealing with multiple clients, and managing complex tax arrangements.  Self-employed tradesmen also have to ensure their business is protected from any unexpected accidents by purchasing insurance.

Public liability insurance is one of the most effective ways for tradesmen to protect themselves.  It protects tradesmen from any legal liability resulting from third party property damage or physical injuries.

This form of insurance will protect you and your business against unexpected problems that can ruin a business.  This guide will explain why UK self-employed tradesmen need public liability insurance and how to find cheap pubic liability insurance.

Why do UK self-employed tradesmen need public liability insurance?

Most self-employed tradesmen find themselves working in a variety of operating environments.  This often includes private residences, shopping centres, offices, and warehouses.  Each environment poses a different set of risks, for both you and the people around you.

Having public liability insurance ensures you are legally protected if an unexpected accident occurs in any of these locations.  It helps you pay for any compensation costs, legal costs, medical fees or cost of repairs that occur after an accident as occurred.  Some of the accidents that public liability insurance covers you against include:

  • A member of the public injuring themselves on a piece of your equipment
    Public liability insurance will cover you against legal liability arising from someone injuring themselves on your equipment. This includes people accidentally tripping on your equipment or slipping on a surface where you are working.
  • A member of the public injuring themselves because of an accident you caused
    Public liability insurance will cover you against legal liability caused by an accident that you caused.
  • A member of the public injuring themselves when they visit your offices
    Public liability insurance will protect you against accidents that injure people visiting your offices. This includes common accidents like people falling down stairs or tripping on carpet.
  • Damage to the property of a third party caused by your work
    Public liability insurance will cover you against legal liability arising from accidental damage to other people’s property. For example, you may accidentally damage a third party’s electrical system when drilling into a wall.
  • Damage to the property of other people while it is in your care
    Some public liability insurance policies will cover other people’s property while you are using it.

While it is not a mandatory requirement for UK self-employed tradesman to have public liability insurance, it is often a part of contractual agreements with clients.  Public liability insurance will also protect your employees and any contractors that work for your business.

The main reasons to purchase public liability insurance include:

  • It protects you against accidents that occur at your place of business
    Regardless of how carefully you set up your business premises, people can will still find a way to injure themselves. They might fall off a chair or slip down some stairs.  Even if they were partially at fault, they can still sue you for damages.  Public liability insurance will help to protect you against these kinds of legal actions and compensation claims.
  • It helps you obtain contracts
    Many employers insist that contractors have public liability insurance. Having this form of insurance increases the number of contracts that you can apply for.
  • It helps to protect you against frivolous law suits
    Unfortunately, we live in a society where people can easily sue contractors for personal injury or damage to property. Many contractors must deal with frivolous lawsuits that take up a great deal of time and money.  Having public lability insurance will help you deal with any expenses from these law suits and reduce the impact to your business.
  • You will be covered for the actions of employees or subcontractors
    Tradesmen cannot control how their employees or subcontractors act in certain situations. Public liability insurance will ensure you are covered against legal liability caused by the actions of your subordinates.

Buying cheap public liability insurance

Competition is fierce in the UK insurance industry, so finding cheap public liability insurance is simple!  Here are a few tips for UK self employed tradesman looking for cheap public liability insurance:

  1. Check that the policy offers the coverage you require
    Some policies split their public liability coverage into different components. Their default policy might offer coverage for legal costs resulting from a claim, but it might not cover medical costs.  It is also important to check the maximum annual payout that the policy provides.  Most public liability policies start at £1 million and go up to £10 million.
  2. Check the policy’s exemptions
    Most public liability policies have a list of exemptions. They often include gross negligence and accidents that are caused while a person was under the influence of alcohol.  Some policies that are more affordable have a longer list of exemptions.
  3. Check your contracts
    The contracts you have with your current or potential clients might require a specific level of public liability coverage. Check these contacts before shopping around.  Some trade bodies may also require contractors to have a certain amount of public liability insurance.  You may be able to purchase a cheaper public liability insurance policy that matches the requirements of your client.
  4. Consider using an insurance broker
    Insurance brokers can help you find a cheap public liability insurance for your profession.
  5. Shop around
    There are many insurance comparison tools available online. They can help you find a great policy that offers excellent value for money.

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