Simply Business - Insurance for your business

Call Us0333 0146 683
Our opening hours

Subcontractor insurance

Join over 24,000 contractors like you. Compare tailored insurance from trusted brands.

Get tailored quotes in 7 minutes

Start your quote
Two subcontractors on a break at work

Compare quotes from leading brands

Liked icon

Rated 4.7/5

Based on 39,283 reviews

Precise icon

Claims paid in 24 hours

For 80% of settled claims

What's on this page

Insurance for subcontractors – why is it important?

From the equipment you rely on to other people on site, your line of work puts you face to face with risk. Subcontractor liability insurance is built to help out if someone suffers an injury or property damage because of your business – starting with public liability cover. You can add cover for your tools and equipment, plus personal accidents.

  • public liability insurance for self-employed subcontractor businesses
  • quotes start at £6.77* a month based on 2020 data
  • optional personal accident cover for your own accidents and injuries
Start your quote

What does subcontractors insurance cover?

We’ll start with subcontractor public liability insurance, designed to cover third-party accidental injuries and property damage. Our subcontractor insurance policies give you plenty of options for between £1 million and £5 million public liability cover, and you can add tools and plant machinery protection too. Plus, personal accident cover for your own injuries.

Subcontractor public liability insurance

In case someone is injured or their property gets damaged, because of your business.

What’s typically covered by public liability insurance?

Claims against your business for:

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

For example:

  • while contracting on a new development site, some tarmac you’re laying gets on a resident’s car, causing damage
  • your client’s dog eats some cement mix you’ve left unattended and needs urgent vet care

What you’ll need additional cover for

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

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 another contractor or casual labourer, suing you after falling ill because of working for your subcontracting business, or
  • making a claim for an injury they’ve had while working 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:

  • you hire another contractor to support on a bigger job, and they injure themselves while using hired plant machinery
  • the electrician you’ve hired for a set of summer jobs slips and injures their back while on site

Business and office equipment insurance

In case things like your laptop or phone are lost, stolen or damaged.

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

  • theft, flood, fire or accidental damage to the equipment you use to run your subcontracting business
  • operational equipment like your laptop, rather than the trade tools you take out and about

For example:

  • a fire in your home damages some of your equipment, including your work laptop and tablet
  • your contractor drops your phone while locking the van, damaging the screen and delaying the day’s job

Read more about business and office equipment insurance

Tools insurance

In case your tools are lost, stolen or damaged.

What’s typically covered by tools insurance?

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

For example:

  • there’s a break-in at your site, and most of the tools you’ve just upgraded are stolen
  • a fire in your garage damages tools you’re keeping in stock for your business and another contractor

What you’ll need additional cover for

  • larger plant items you use to carry out your trade – you’ll need to add our specific plant cover for these

Read more about tools insurance

Stock insurance

In case something happens to the trade materials 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:

  • while unloading your van, tiles and other materials for the day’s job fall out of the back – they’re damaged and will need replacing
  • the glass you’ve just had delivered for a large-scale commercial job is stolen from your locked site unit

Read more about stock insurance

Hired-in plant insurance

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

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

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

For example:

  • a contractor slips while driving the digger you’ve hired, falling into a groundworks hole and causing damage
  • the excavator you’ve hired for a big leisure centre build is stolen overnight

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

Own plant insurance

In case your own plant machinery, like a digger, is lost, stolen or damaged.

What’s typically covered by own plant insurance?

  • loss, damage or theft of things like your own excavator or pick-up hitch

For example:

  • you accidentally jam the key into your digger while working, and it needs a new lock system
  • you’re loading the cement mixer but accidentally include site debris, causing serious

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

Contract works insurance

In case your work in progress is damaged by disasters like fire, flood or vandalism.

What’s typically covered by contract works insurance?

  • repair costs for the work you have in progress if it’s damaged or destroyed
  • labour, materials and tools to get the job back to the stage it was at before it was damaged or destroyed
  • damage caused by things like fire, flood, storm, vandalism or theft

For example:

  • vandals break into the site and damage your work in progress, which you’ll need to start from scratch
  • a thunderstorm causes damage to your site’s scaffolding and works over the weekend, rendering the site unsafe and delaying your completion date

Read more about contract works insurance

Legal expenses insurance

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

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 support to help you protect your reputation, as a trusted contractor

For example:

  • your client is disputing their contract with you, stating that you haven’t fulfilled your obligations – you end up paying for legal representation
  • an employee you’ve hired sues you for unfair dismissal, and you need to pay for legal representation

What you’ll need additional cover for

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 trip over a log while running at the weekend, breaking your ankle
  • your employee’s wife runs over their foot while leaving for work, breaking two bones

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 subcontractor 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 £6.77 per month

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

Get your tailored quotes in 7 minutes

Start your quote

How we work out example prices We take the highest price from the bottom 10 per cent of all our customers paying in monthly instalments (based on data from 1 Jan 2021 - 31st August 2021). Most customers pay more than this but some pay less.

Example subcontractor insurance quotes, real prices

£14.88 /month

£128.78 /month

A self-employed welder who works locally and does not undertake oxyacetylene welding

  • 1-2 years' experience
  • Sole trader
  • No employees
  • Based in Bristol

Public liability

£1,000,000


Employers’ liability

Not included


Tools

Not included

£209.43 /month

£1861.57 /month

A small limited welding company who work on medium sized contracts (residentially and commercially)

  • 5+ years' experience
  • Limited company
  • 2 employees
  • Based in Cardiff

Public liability

£2,000,000


Employers’ liability

£10,000,000


Tools

£8,000

How we work out example quotes These examples are real quotes from our online system (created 09/06/2021). 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 coverLowest excessHighest excess
Public liability£100£2500
Employers' liabilityNo excessNo 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.

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

Direct to
insurer

Highstreet
broker

Compare policies from a range of trusted insurers

Buy online or over the phone in minutes

Access support by phone or online

We handle claims, so you can get on with business

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.

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 tool 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 subcontractor 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 these services alongside building work, 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

customer support rep.

Call our team

0333 043 8527
computer with tick mark.

Online

Contact us on our website whenever suits you

phone.

Phone

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

faqs.

FAQs

Find answers to common insurance questions

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

£30 million in claims paid out in 2019

Paying 80% of settled claims within 24 hours in 2019

Example claim

Having subcontractor public liability insurance through Simply Business has saved professionals thousands of pounds when the unexpected happened.

Rory saved more than £11,200

After a bathroom refit job, Rory (not his real name) was sued by his client, who claimed he’d caused a leak and water damage throughout the property. The subcontractor public liability insurance in his policy covered the accidental damage.

Insurance payout

£11,205.26

Covering the cost of accidental damage


Rory’s costs

£100

The excess amount stated in Rory’s policy terms

Chosen by 800,000 small businesses

We started out as a team of five back in 2005. We’ve grown since then with 600,000 customers across 1,500 trades now trusting us to provide their business insurance.

  • Quote icon

    Compare and buy in minutes

    Documents arrive today

  • Liked icon

    Rated 4.7/5

    Based on 39,283 reviews

  • Feedback icon

    Here to help

    Help from UK-based experts

  • Precise icon

    24/7 claims

    Make a claim any time

Insurance for subcontractors 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 subcontractor insurance. You can also check out our business insurance FAQs.

  • In some cases, the main contractor will have insurance in place which covers you too, but it’s always best to know exactly what’s in place, and any gaps you may need to fill to keep your business protected against a claim.

    There may also be specific contractual requirements in place, for example a certain level of public liability insurance for subcontractors working on the project.

    Finally, there are the risks a main contractor probably wouldn’t cover for you, from your own tools and machinery to the employees you hire to support you on or off-site. Remember, employers' liability insurance is usually a legal requirement for anyone who hires people to work with them.

  • Your contract will usually demand a certain level of subcontractor liability insurance, even if the main contractor has their own cover in place. You may not be allowed on site without proof you have the right cover in place, so make sure you know exactly what’s required before taking on a job.

  • 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.

  • If you change your business legal structure from sole trader to limited company mid-way through your policy, give us a call straight away on 0333 043 8527. It’ll only take us a few minutes to cancel your existing policy and replace it with one that correctly covers your new legal structure. It’s worth bearing in mind that your insurer and premium amount may need to change.

  • 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 subcontractor insurance

Tradesperson's safety helmet on the floor

2 Jul 2020 • 5-minute read

Bona fide subcontractors v labour-only subcontractors explained

Subcontractor insurance

Keep up to date with Simply Business. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Insurance

Public liability insuranceBusiness insuranceLandlord insuranceTradesman insuranceCharity insuranceNot for profit insuranceRestaurant insuranceCommercial van insuranceInsurers

Address

6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG

Sol House29 St Katherine's StreetNorthamptonNN1 2QZ

© Copyright 2021 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.