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Contractor insurance

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Based on 39,742 reviews

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Claims paid in 24 hours

For 80% of settled claims

What's on this page

  • Why is insurance important?
  • What does it cover?
  • How much does it cost?
  • How do I choose insurance?
  • How do claims work?
  • FAQs
  • Helpful articles

Why do you need contractor insurance?

We insure contractors of all business types, from builders to accountants to IT contractors. Whatever your profession, most contractors face similar dangers in their work – including accidents and injuries, unexpected events leading to missed deadlines, or damage to the equipment you’ve hired or invested in. To get a quote, you’ll need to choose insurance that’s targeted to your trade, but this page gives you an overview of the top reasons contractors need cover.

  • Cover against big claims, such as legal and medical costs
  • Protection against the expense of repairing your work or redoing it from scratch
  • Peace of mind for you, your business, your employees and your customers

Start your quote

What does contractor insurance cover?

You know what matters to you most in how you operate as a contractor, so you’re in charge of your policy. Whether you want to cover yourself or your team for accidents on site, legal disputes with clients, or the tools you rely on, you tell us what you need and we’ll tailor your insurance around you.

Public liability insurance

In case someone gets injured or their property gets damaged as a result of your business.

What’s typically covered by public liability insurance for contractors?

Claims against your business for:

  • accidental damage caused by you or an employee to someone else’s property while you’re working, or as a consequence of your contracting work (remember, you must have employers' liability insurance if you employ people – it’s a legal obligation)
  • accidental injury caused by you or an employee to someone else while you’re working, or as a consequence of your contracting work

For example:

  • you’re working as a flooring contractor and you catch a pipe by accident, which damages your customer’s underfloor heating
  • you’re a plumber who’s been subcontracted by a builder to work on the customer’s bathroom, and while you’re draining down the tank in the loft, you accidentally trigger a leak, resulting in water damage to the oak floor
  • you’re an IT contractor installing network cabling for a client, and your employee trips and puts their hand through a wall, so the damage needs to be repaired
  • your employee spills a glass of water over a laptop at your client’s office, causing it to break

Read more about public liability insurance

Employers’ liability insurance

In case your employee gets sick or injured while they’re working for you.

What’s typically covered by employers’ liability insurance?

Claims against your business for:

  • employees, temporary staff or casual workers becoming unwell or suffering an injury over the course of their work for you

**Employers’ liability insurance is required by law if you have people working for you. Without it, you could be fined up to £2,500 a day for each employee.**

For example:

  • your employee trips over some boxes of equipment that have been left on the ground at your place of work and breaks their wrist
  • your employee gets food poisoning after eating a team lunch that you’ve had brought in by a caterer

Tools insurance

In case your tools are lost, stolen or damaged.

What’s typically covered by tools insurance?

  • the tools you use to carry out your profession (especially hand-held tools and portable electronic tools), whether on site or stored at your business premises
  • theft of your tools
  • accidental damage, flood damage, or fire damage to your tools

For example:

  • you’re a building contractor, and your employee drops your electric screwdriver down a flight of stairs, smashing it to pieces
  • you’re a design contractor, and your graphics tablet gets run over by a car as you’re carrying it through the car park to a client’s office
  • you’re an electrician who’s been contracted to rewire a customer’s house, and your power tools are stolen from your van while it’s parked outside

Read more about tools insurance

Professional indemnity insurance

In case you've made a mistake in your work or provided a service that didn't meet the expected standards.

What’s typically covered by contractor professional indemnity insurance ?

Claims against your business for:

  • professional negligence that causes your customer or client to suffer financial loss
  • advice you’ve given that turns out to be incorrect

For example:

  • a client alleges that your work has not met the description in the brief they gave you, so you need to pay legal costs to defend yourself
  • due to unforeseen circumstances, you run over the deadline for a contract you’re working on – and this delay ends up costing your client money, which they’re holding you responsible for

Read more about professional indemnity insurance

Business and office equipment insurance

In case your business and office equipment is lost, stolen, or damaged.

What’s typically covered by business and office equipment insurance?

  • theft of your operational equipment (e.g. laptops and printers that you use for admin purposes) while stored at your business premises
  • theft of your operational equipment
  • flood damage, fire damage, or accidental damage to your operational equipment

For example:

  • a spare business laptop is stolen from the stationery cupboard at your office
  • a fire at your office damages your computers, printers and projectors
  • your employee knocks a cup of coffee over your laser printer, so it stops working

What you’ll need additional cover for

  • trade-specific tools that you use to carry out your profession as a contractor – these would be covered under tools insurance instead

Read more about business and office equipment insurance

Hired-in plant insurance

In case your hired-in plant items are lost, stolen or damaged.

What’s typically covered by hired-in plant insurance?

  • accidental damage to items of the plant that you’ve hired from a third party
  • loss or damage to hired-in plant items
  • legal liability for loss or damage to hired-in plant items
  • ongoing hiring charges

For example:

  • you’re a construction contractor, and your employee uses the wrong key for a hired digger, so the digger breaks
  • a concrete mixer is stolen from the construction site you’re working on, and the hire charges still apply while a replacement is source

Read more about hired-in plant insurance

Own plant insurance

In case your own plant items are lost, stolen or damaged.

What’s typically covered by own plant insurance?

  • theft of your own plant items that you use to complete your day-to-day activities
  • accidental or malicious damage to your own plant items

For example:

  • you’re a sound engineering contractor, and your generator is stolen from the site when you’re on your lunch break
  • you’re a landscape gardening contractor, and your employee crashes a forklift into a door, so the door needs to be repaired

What you’ll need additional cover for

  • wear and tear of your own plant items (which may already be covered under warranty)

Read more about own plant insurance

Contract works insurance

In case your work in progress is destroyed, disrupted or delayed.

What’s typically covered by contract works insurance?

  • works in progress for both domestic and commercial sites
  • damage or theft to the tools and equipment left on site that are required to complete a job

For example:

  • vandals set fire to your construction site overnight, causing damage to the ongoing works and setting back the completion date that was agreed by the main contractor

Read more about contract works insurance

Legal expenses insurance

In case you’re faced with legal costs while running your business.

  • legal costs that you’re responsible for within your contracting business
  • property damage, nuisance or trespass – specifically, the associated legal claims and compensation payouts
  • tax and compliance disputes and investigations that you need assistance with
  • access to expert advice – such as a tax advice phone line, a confidential 24/7 legal phone line, and crisis PR support to help you limit the damage to your brand reputation

For example:

  • your company is selected at random for an audit or you’re investigated by HMRC, so you need a hand dealing with the tax enquiries – either for the business itself, or for you as an individual and any other directors
  • you need to defend your legal rights following the dismissal of a member of staff
  • you need to engage a lawyer to help you resolve a dispute with a client or a current employee

Read more about legal expenses insurance

Personal accident insurance

In case you or anyone you've covered has an accident.

What’s typically covered by personal accident insurance?

  • injury or death at work or outside of work, for anyone covered on the policy
  • lost income, medical costs and hospitalisation benefit

For example:

  • you’re visiting a client at their office and you trip over the office dog, causing you to fall over and break your wrist
  • you trip over a toolbox while working on site for a customer and break your ankle
  • you’re on a morning run before work and you stumble over a log in the woods, causing you to fall and break your arm
  • you sprain your ankle on a night out with your friends at the weekend

Read more about personal accident insurance

How much does contractor insurance cost?

Find out how much you’ll pay by comparing prices from a range of trusted insurers. You choose what goes into your policy, so you only pay for what you need.

Prices start from £3.19 per month

Get your quotes in 7 minutes – prices are guaranteed for 30 days.

Get your tailored quotes in 7 minutes

Start your quote

10% of our customers paid up to £38.32 a year for a public liability insurance policy between 1st April 2023 - 30th June 2023. Equivalent to £3.19 per month based on a monthly cost when paying for the policy in one annual payment. Paying monthly is usually more expensive as you'll pay interest. Most customers pay more than this but some pay less.

Example contractor insurance quotes, real prices

axa insurance

£7.98 /month

£59.83 /year

A fencing contractor working on residential properties

  • 4-5 years' experience
  • Sole trader
  • No employees
  • Based in Telford
  • Public liability


  • Employers’ liability

    Not included

  • Tools insurance

    Not included

churchill insurance

£87.44 /month

£777.21 /year

A small commercial flooring contracting company working in the local area

  • 5+ years' experience
  • Limited company
  • 2 employees
  • Based in Norwich
  • Public liability


  • Employers’ liability


  • Tools insurance


How we work out example quotes These examples are real quotes from our online system (created 02/03/2023). They’re based on a range of factors, like employees and location. Your own quote will be based on what you tell us about your business. Prices may go up or down from day to day, so the prices you’re quoted may differ to the ones you see here.

What kind of excess should I expect?

An excess is an amount you pay towards any claim you make on your insurance. For example, if your excess is £250 and you make a claim worth £1000, your payout will be a maximum of £750.

Insurance cover

Lowest excess

Highest excess

Public liability



Employers' liability

No excess

No excess




Business and office equipment



Professional indemnity

No excess


The figures above are for guidance only and any excess applying to your quote may differ. You’ll get a breakdown of the excesses for each quote when you compare with us.

How it works

  • Pick what goes into your policy

    Only pay for what you need

  • Get prices from a range of insurers

    Choose the best fit for you

  • Buy online in minutes

    Get your documents the same day

Start your quote

Simply Business

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Compare policies from a range of trusted insurers

Buy online or over the phone in minutes

How do I choose insurance?

Making sure you have the right type and level of business insurance can be the difference between getting a claim paid and having to cover the cost of an expensive accident yourself. Read our tips for guidance on what to consider when buying a policy.

Is public liability enough for third party property damage?

In some situations you may need more than public liability to cover certain kinds of property damage. Learn about hired-in plant cover and contract works cover.

Can I just cover my most expensive tools?

Make sure you cover the total cost of replacing all your tools or you’ll only get a proportion of your claim paid out if something happens to them. Learn about tools cover.

Which type of workers do I need insurance for?

Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement if you employ people.

If you have people working for you, including bona fide subcontractors (BFSC), labour-only subcontractors (LOSC), part-timers, or full-time staff, employers’ liability insurance is required by law.

Read on for our simplified guide to the difference between labour-only subcontractors and bona fide subcontractors.

Will tools insurance cover all my equipment?

Depending on what you use to do your work, you may need other covers.

You may need more than tools insurance – for example, business equipment insurance if you have a work laptop, plant insurance if you use machinery.

Does contractors insurance cover my work correctly?

Make sure you're picking the right cover to protect you properly. It's important to know that if you have another trade or job, you'll need additional cover. For example, do you need to consider freelance insurance or it consultant insurance?

Do I need cover for other types of work?

If you provide other services, make sure you’re covered:

Other types of insurance

Which public liability cover limit should I choose?

Think about the maximum possible loss your business could face in the event of a claim, and make sure you take legal fees and damages into consideration. You can choose from three levels of coverage – £1 million, £2 million, or up to £5 million.

Talk to an expert

Our team of UK-based insurance experts are here to help, Mon 09.00am - 05.30pm, Tues 09.00am - 05.30pm, Weds 09.00am - 05.30pm, Thurs 09.30am - 05.30pm, Fri 09.00am - 05.30pm, Sat 09.00am - 02.00pm

Call our team

0333 043 8527


Contact us on our website whenever suits you


Call our insurance experts during office hours (calls are charged at a local rate)


Find answers to common insurance questions

How do contractor insurance claims work?

Unlike price comparison websites, we take the hassle out of claims for you. We know how important it is to get your business back on track quickly – and with a minimum of fuss. That’s why you get access to your dedicated claims any time, day or night. Call them on 0333 207 0560 or claim online.

£39 million in claims paid out in 2022

Paying 80% of settled claims within 24 hours in 2022

The figure above is rounded across our range of products. Our claims process may vary for different products and operates on a ‘claim by claim’ basis.

Example contractor insurance uk claim

Having contractor insurance through Simply Business has saved contractors thousands of pounds when the unexpected happened.

Bruce saved more than £9,100

As he was fitting a fence for a customer, fencing contractor Bruce (not his real name) needed to dig some holes. He followed the main contractor’s advice about where to use a digger and where to dig by hand, but the power company alleged a hit to a 15000v cable, which had to be repaired. Fortunately Bruce’s insurance stepped in to cover the cost.

  • Insurance payout


    Covering the cost of accidental damage

  • Bruce’s costs


    The excess amount stated in Bruce’s policy terms

Chosen by 900,000 small businesses and landlords

We started out as a team of five back in 2005. We’ve grown since then with 900,000 customers across 1,500 trades now trusting us to provide their business insurance.

  • Compare and buy in minutes

    Documents arrive today

  • Rated 4.7/5

    Based on 39,742 reviews

  • Here to help

    Help from UK-based experts

  • 24/7 claims

    Make a claim any time

Contractors insurance FAQ

Whether you’re new to buying business insurance or you’ve been trading for a while, here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about contractors insurance. You can also check out our business insurance FAQs.

  • The answer to this question varies from trade to trade, so it’s a good idea to start with an assessment of the risks your business might face.

    If you have people working for you, you’re legally required to have employers’ liability cover.

    If you come into contact with members of the public in your work, public liability insurance is an important one too.

    If you make recommendations as part of your contracting work and you want to protect yourself against claims to do with negligence or incorrect advice, you may see professional indemnity insurance as essential.

    If you use any specialist equipment, you might want to think about getting tool cover. This is a key type of insurance for lots of contractors.

    If you agree to deadlines and deliverables as part of a contract, you’ll want to look into contract works insurance so you’re covered in case your work in progress is destroyed, delayed or disrupted.

    Other covers for contractors to consider include:

  • Although insurance is often similar for different contractors, there’s no such thing as general contractor insurance. It’s always specific to the type of work you do.

    Prices for contractors public liability insurance start from £6.56 per month, and some of the factors that influence what you’ll pay include:

    • your claims history
    • how long you’ve been in business in this particular trade
    • if you work in dangerous environments
    • if you work with dangerous materials
    • the number and type of covers you want to include in your policy
    • the value of your tools, equipment or materials, if you’re choosing to cover them

    A useful rule of thumb is that the higher the risk of things going wrong – and the higher the cost of putting things right – the more your insurance will cost.

    Simply Business lets you compare insurance from trusted brands. It takes just a few minutes to see your personalised prices.

    Start your quote

  • Remember, if you have employees, you must have employers’ liability cover in case they get sick or injured through working for you – it’s a legal requirement.

    Other than that, expectations vary from industry to industry. For example, in construction, some trade associations insist that you have public liability insurance before you can become a member. And your clients may expect you to have public liability insurance from the perspective of safety and trust.

    Many contractors consider public liability insurance to be essential. Especially those who carry out physical work around other people and third-party property.

  • This will depend on whether you have employers’ liability insurance in place. Public liability insurance is designed to protect your business against the consequences of legal action brought by members of the public for injuries or damage to their belongings. But when it comes to your employees causing injury or damage, this protection only activates if you also have employers’ liability insurance.

    If you employ people, you’re required by law to have employers’ liability insurance.

    There’s one exception here. Family businesses that aren’t incorporated as a limited company are not legally required to have employers’ liability insurance. The government defines a "family business" as one where all your employees are closely related to you (as a spouse, civil partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, step-parent, stepchild or half-sibling). So if you run an unincorporated family business and you choose not to get employers’ liability insurance, it’s important to know that your public liability insurance wouldn’t cover you against damage or injury caused by your team.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always check policy documentation for details and seek professional advice. Read our full Terms and Conditions

Helpful articles for contractors

Collage of computer and HRMC images

6 May 2016 • 2-minute read

Freelancer vs contractor: what's the difference?

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