Can I get business insurance without a trade licence?

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You can buy your business insurance before you begin trading, so you may not have your trade licence in place yet. However, once you start trading, if your business still doesn’t have the necessary licences your business insurance may be invalid and claims may not be paid.

Trade licences

Not every business needs a trade licence. There are certain business types, however, that require licences, and these are usually issued by the relevant licensing authority or by the local authority. Businesses that need trade licences include market traders, taxi drivers, and pet shops. You can use the licence finder tool on the government’s website to check whether your business needs a licence.

Remember that even if you don’t need a trade licence, you do need to register your business. If you’re a sole trader, you need to register for self-assessment tax, and if you’re setting up as a limited company you need to ‘incorporate’, which means registering with Companies House and getting a company registration number (CRN).

Buying your business insurance

It’s possible to buy your business insurance before your trade licence has been issued. Your insurer won’t ask for your licence details when you buy your insurance, and you can get your insurance in place before you begin trading.

However, part of your agreement with your insurer is that you’ll comply with all laws and regulations, so if you start trading without a necessary licence, your business insurance may be rendered invalid. This could mean that any claim you make is refused by your insurer. Therefore it’s important to get all your paperwork in order, and get your trade licence sorted before you begin trading.

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