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Sole trader insurance

Join over 900,000 UK customers with cover from £3.49 per month*

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Rated 4.8/5

Based on 39,782 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 is sole trader insurance important?

You wear every hat in the business – from financials to marketing, it’s all up to you. That includes insurance, and finding the right policy to fit your work and set-up. Sole trader public liability insurance is designed to cover accidents and injuries – you can have it as a single cover or combined with other options, including professional indemnity insurance, tools, stock, and employers’ liability cover.

  • public liability insurance for sole traders - risks covered up to £10 million
  • rated 4.7/5 based on 39K+ public liability customer reviews
  • tools, accident, and employee cover – you choose what you need

Start your quote

What does sole trader insurance cover?

We’ll start with public and product liability insurance, top of the list for most UK sole traders. This cover can protect you against claims for injuries and accidents, if someone thinks your company is at fault. You can add other popular covers too, like professional indemnity insurance (known as PI), and employers’ liability cover is a legal requirement for most UK employers.

Public liability insurance

In case you’re blamed for an injury or property damage.

What’s typically covered by public liability insurance for a sole trader?

Claims against your business for:

  • damage to someone’s property, caused by your business
  • injuries caused by your business activities
  • accidental damage or injury caused by your employees, if you have any

If you do employ anyone, you’re usually required by law to have employers’ liability insurance too.

For example:

  • a client trips over a piece of machinery you’ve left out, falling and breaking his collarbone
  • you damage a client’s bike while moving it into your garage for repairs

Read more about public liability insurance

Employers’ liability insurance

In case an employee gets sick or injured while working for you.

What’s typically covered by employers’ liability insurance?

Claims against your business for:

  • an employee, including a contractor or casual labourer, suing you after falling ill because of working for you, or
  • making a claim for an injury they’ve had while working for you

For example:

  • an employee is struck by a moving forklift truck while working for you, and suffers a head injury
  • one of the contractors you’ve hired traps their foot under a piece of equipment in your garage, breaking their ankle

**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.**

Professional indemnity insurance

In case there’s a claim for loss-causing errors or issues with your work.

What’s typically covered by professional indemnity insurance?

Claims against your business for professional negligence or a loss-causing breach of contract. This can include:

  • advice which turns out to be incorrect
  • mistakes in your work that cost others money to fix

For example:

  • a client raises a negligence claim against your small accountancy firm, because of a mistake you made which has cost them money to fix
  • one of your employees publishes a blog post which infringes your client’s intellectual property rights, and you’re sued for compensation

Read more about professional indemnity insurance

Contents and office equipment insurance

In case something happens to your fixtures and fittings or operational equipment.

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

  • accidental damage to your fixtures and fittings, or the equipment you use to run the business
  • theft, flood, and fire damage

For example:

  • a flash flood damages your office equipment, including your laptop and multifunction printer
  • your employee leaves their company laptop on a train, and it’s never recovered

Read more about business and office equipment insurance

Tools insurance

In case your trade tools are lost, stolen, or damaged.

What’s typically covered by tools insurance?

  • loss, damage, or theft of your hand tools, power tools, and/or specialist equipment

For example:

  • your electrical company tool kits are stolen from your locked garage over the weekend

Read more about tools insurance

Stock insurance

In case something happens to the materials and products you keep in supply.

What’s typically covered by stock insurance?

  • loss, damage, or theft of your work materials, or items you’re planning to sell

For example:

  • you take delivery of a big summer stock order, which gets stolen while you’re speaking with a supplier
  • the carpet you keep in stock for your fitting business customers is destroyed in a fire

Read more about stock insurance

Building insurance

In case something happens to your business premises.

What’s typically covered by building insurance?

  • the cost of repairing damage to the structure of your building (or rebuilding it from scratch)
  • damage to fixtures and fittings
  • damage to underground pipes and cables you’re responsible for

For example:

  • a fire causes serious damage to the fixtures and fittings in your flooring contractor premises
  • you need to temporarily close your freelance design business studio, after a storm causes damage to your large front windows

What you’ll need additional cover for:

  • tenants’ improvements – changes to the property’s structure which you’ve organised and paid for yourself, like partition walls or wooden flooring

Read more about business buildings insurance

Own plant insurance

In case your own plant machinery, like an excavator, is lost, stolen, or damaged.

What’s typically covered by own plant insurance?

  • loss, damage, or theft of larger equipment like skips and sanding machines

For example:

  • your excavator is stolen from the client’s works site, and needs replacing
  • your sanding machine is jammed and damaged by an employee

What you’ll need additional cover for:

  • plant machinery you’ve rented – you’ll need to add our specific hired-in plant cover for this

Read more about own plant insurance

Hired-in plant insurance

In case your rented plant machinery, like a drilling unit, is lost, stolen, or damaged.

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

  • loss, damage, or theft of things like excavators and saws which you’ve hired in

For example:

  • you hire a skip for a job and your employee reverses into it, causing damage
  • the excavator you’ve hired for hospital works contract is stolen from your locked business unit

What you’ll need additional cover for:

  • tools and plant machinery which you own yourself – you’ll need to add our specific own plant insurance or tools cover for this

Read more about hired-in plant insurance

Legal expenses insurance

In case you have to pay legal costs connected with your business.

What’s typically covered by legal expenses insurance?

  • legal costs attributed to your business
  • property damage, nuisance, or trespass – specifically, the associated legal claims and compensation payouts
  • tax and compliance disputes, and investigations you need help with
  • includes a tax advice helpline, a 24/7 confidential legal helpline, and crisis PR support to help you protect your professional reputation

For example:

  • a former employee raises a discrimination claim against you, and you need to hire legal support
  • you need to raise a breach of confidentiality claim against a contractor working for you, and incur legal costs

Read more about legal expenses insurance

Personal accident insurance

In case anyone you’ve covered is accidentally injured, at or away from work.

What’s typically covered by personal accident insurance?

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

For example:

  • you break your foot while playing football, and need time away from your personal trainer business for physio and recovery
  • an employee, who you’ve covered on the policy, suffers a head injury while reaching for a file on your office shelf, and needs time off work for hospital treatment

Read more about personal accident insurance

This content has been created for general information purposes. Make sure you have the right level of business insurance by checking your policy documentation for details. Read our full Terms and Conditions

How much does sole trader 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

*The price is for £1 million of public liability insurance - 10% of customers paid £41.87 or less annually between 1st Oct 2023 - 31st Mar 2024. Equivalent to £3.49/month (and excludes the extra costs for paying monthly). If you complete a quote more types of cover will be available, these all have additional costs.

Example sole trader insurance quotes, real prices

axa insurance

£16.05 /month

£140.52 /year

An electrical company that work in domestic and commercial electricians with employees and casual workers

  • 1-2 years' experience
  • Sole trader
  • No employees
  • Based in Bournemouth
  • Public liability

    £1,000,000

  • Employers’ liability

    Not included

  • Tools

    Not included

churchill insurance

£23.11 /month

£205.40 /year

A nail technician's company that works in variety of places such as salons, bars and hairdressing salons

  • 5+ years' experience
  • Sole trader
  • No employees
  • Based in Peterborough
  • Public liability

    £5,000,000

  • Employers’ liability

    Not included

  • Tools

    £2,000

How we work out example quotes. These examples are real quotes from our online system (created 01/03/2023). 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 property. 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

£100

£2500

Employers' liability

No excess

No excess

Tools

£60

£500

Stock

£100

£500

Business and office equipment

£50

£750

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.

Looking for something else?

Depending on your set-up, clients and business type, these expert covers might be helpful too:

When you run a quote you can select from a range of covers.

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

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FAQs

Find answers to common insurance questions

How do sole trader 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. They’ll do their best to be fair and supportive.

£51 million in claims paid out in 2023

83% of claims were settled in 2023

The figure above is rounded across our range of products. "Settled" covers paid, declined or withdrawn. Our claims process may vary for different products and operates on a ‘claim by claim’ basis. Our specialist partner Sedgwick will pay the claims on behalf of the insurer. Reviewed on 24/04/2024.

Example claim

Having sole trader insurance through Simply Business has saved UK professionals thousands of pounds when the unexpected happened.

Ali saved more than £2,600

A leak in the flat above Ali’s (not her real name) marketing business premises caused significant water damage over the Christmas holiday week, particularly to her ceiling and tile work. The optional buildings cover added to her sole trader insurance policy helped cover Ali’s repair and replacement costs.

  • Insurance payout

    £2,601.05

    Covering the cost of accidental damage

  • Ali’s costs

    £100

    The excess amount stated in Ali’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 4.8/5

    Based on 39,782 reviews

  • Here to help

    Help from UK-based experts

  • 24/7 claims

    Make a claim any time

Sole trader insurance requirements 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 insurance for a sole trader.

You can also check out our business insurance FAQs.

  • Public and product liability insurance is often an important cover for sole traders – it’s designed to protect you if someone is injured or gets sick, or their property is damaged, because of your business.

    Do you employ any staff? If so, you’re usually required by law to take out employer’s liability insurance, even if it’s for a contractor team member, or casual and seasonal staff. You’ll face fines of up to £2,500 a day for anyone you haven’t covered correctly.

    Sole trader indemnity insurance is another popular cover, providing protection against compensation claims for an error or oversight which ends up costing a third party money to fix, or causes a financial loss.

    From there, you can pick and choose from other specific protection for your stock and equipment, plus legal expenses for things like employee disputes and personal accident cover for the slip-ups that can delay business as usual. Our sole trader business insurance policies are flexible – you can bundle everything into one policy or go for just one or two covers, depending on what you need.

  • Yes. You may start offering additional services that require you to use different skills or carry out different tasks. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to give us a call on 0333 0146 683 to update your policy before you take on this new work.

    If you don’t have the correct type of cover in place for the work you do, you may be unable to claim on your policy if something goes wrong.

  • Each insurer looks at CCJs and IVAs differently – some apply stricter rules than others, but having a CCJ or IVA doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to buy insurance.

  • You can choose the payment type that suits your business and cash flow best. Some customers prefer to pay in one go, while others prefer to pay a regular monthly amount, like you do with lots of other bills. Simply Business offer three ways to pay for your policy:

    • one-off credit or debit card payment
    • BACS payment
    • Direct Debit

    If you choose to pay by Direct Debit, our credit provider, Premium Credit, pays Simply Business the full amount for your policy up front. You then repay Premium Credit in 10 monthly instalments.

  • 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 for a sole trader cover wouldn’t protect you against damage or injury caused by your team.

  • We provide a range of cover options for specific business types, including:

    Is your profession not listed? When you run a quote you can select your trade from over 1,000 options.

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 small businesses

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27 January 2022 • 4-minute read

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