In short, builders’ insurance is protection. Being a builder is potentially more hazardous and dangerous than many other professions. It’s therefore vital to have some form of builders’ insurance, not least for your own safety, but also to protect you and the people around you for when something unfortunate may happen.
Builders insurance can be made up of different types of insurances. It’s important to understand these different types, so when you come to taking out a policy, you’ll be able to see what’s included based on what you might actually need.
Public liability insurance
Public Liability insurance exists to cover compensation payments or legal costs if a member of the public takes action against you, if they’ve been injured or their property has been damaged. For builders and anyone working in the construction industry, the likelihood of this happening is a lot higher, and the instances of property damage or personal injury are numerous.
Let’s look at some scenarios. Say you’re transporting your tools and ladder from your van onto the property or site on which you’re working. As you do, you scrape and damage either the property owner’s vehicle or a neighbouring vehicle – there’s a claim against you right there. Another example; you’ve finished for the day and have left large nails and other hazards exposed onsite, without the appropriate warning signs or communicating to other workers on site, or the property owner. If someone onsite happens to severely injure themselves as a result, they could very well claim against you.
While not a legal requirement in the UK, for many companies and trade associations, it’s actually a requirement to show evidence of public liability insurance. Consider public liability insurance like the foundation of the house – it’s fundamental, but not the only thing to consider.
In the event your tools are stolen from site, or when stored overnight in your van, depending on your level of cover you’ll be able to claim an amount to cover the cost of your stolen tools. Sadly, tool theft is on the rise. Research from Trade Direct Insurance shows that tool theft is so common, up to 215 tradespeople could have their tools stolen, every single day. Over the course of a year, it’s costing nearly £100 million.
Builders may face situations where the quality of your work has come into question. Should a client feel you have provided sub-standard advice, designs or services, and as result have lost money, they may decide to make a claim against you. This protection is designed to cover the legal costs and expenses you may incur in this instance.
Personal accident & sickness cover
For builders who are sole traders, or who run their own business – while you enjoy all the great benefits of being self-employed – if you’re not working, you’re not earning. Consider how this situation will affect you – will you be able to cope financially if you’re unable to work? If you can’t work due to an accident or illness, you’ll want peace of mind knowing your income is protected.
For any builder who employs someone, it is a legal requirement to have employer’s liability insurance. Employer’s liability is designed to pay legal liabilities should your employees get injured, contract a disease as a result of that work, or worse be killed, while working for you in connection with your business.
There are a multitude of other insurances to consider as a builder. Not least having the appropriate cover for your van, but also, cover against loss of contracts, cover against hiring-in contractor’s plant, and cover against your own plant. So, when you come to taking out a policy and are looking for a quote, consider which elements of builders’ insurance is most important to you.
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