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Insurance for tradesmen – why is it important?

Safety net, back-up, lifeline – for tradesmen, insurance stands for many things. From site conditions and rented machinery to employees, legal expenses and third party injuries, a tradesman insurance policy is designed to keep you open for business. Start with tradesman public liability insurance, and add specific cover for tools, employees and personal accidents, if you need it.

  • tradesman public liability insurance starting at £1 million
  • protection from big claims for accidental injury or damage
  • quotes start at £6.77* a month based on 2020 data
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What is tradesman insurance?

This type of insurance policy typically builds around tradesman liability insurance, designed to keep you covered against claims for third party accidents and injuries. Policies usually offer between £1 million and £5 million public liability insurance for tradesmen, and you can add cover for tools and plant machinery, plus employers’ liability cover if you need it.

Public liability insurance for tradesmen

For third party injuries or property damage, if you’re held responsible.

What’s typically covered by public liability insurance?

Claims against your business for:

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

For example:

  • you forget to wear shoe coverings while nipping into a client’s house, treading mud through their carpet which will need a professional clean
  • while working on a bathroom job you leave some debris in the shower tray – your customer cuts their foot on it and develops an infection

What you’ll need additional cover for

  • tools cover – pick and choose from our business and office equipment, tools and plant covers to add specific protection for the items you rely on
  • 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 because of working for you.

What’s typically covered by employers’ liability insurance?

Claims against your business for:

  • an employee, including a temp or casual labourer, suing you after falling ill because of working for your trades 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:

  • your contractor falls off some scaffolding while working with you, breaking their leg
  • a casual labourer breaks their ankle while climbing down a ladder – they need an operation and time off work

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 bricklaying business
  • operational equipment like your laptop, rather than the trade tools you take out and about

For example:

  • there’s a break-in at your home office and your laptop, phone and printers are stolen
  • your laptop and phone are damaged in a house fire, delaying the rest of the week’s work

What you’ll need additional cover for

  • the day-to-day trade tools you use to do your job, like a drill or tool kit – pick and choose from our tools and plant covers to add specific protection for the items you rely on

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 day-to-day trade equipment

For example:

  • someone breaks into your van, stealing your electric drills and other tools
  • a leak in your static unit causes water damage to your drill kit and other essential tools

What you’ll need additional cover for

  • your larger plant items, like a digger or skip – jump to our plant cover to add specific protection for the machinery you own, or our specific hired-plant cover

Read more about tools insurance

Stock insurance

In case something happens to the trade supplies you rely on.

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’re unloading your van and see that some supplies have been damaged in transit, delaying the day’s work
  • the tiles you’ve ordered for a customer’s kitchen are stolen from your locked garage

What you’ll need additional cover for

Read more about stock insurance

Hired-in plant insurance

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

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

  • loss, damage or theft of things like diggers and cement mixers which you’ve hired in

For example:

  • a skip you’ve hired gets damaged while you’re on site with a client
  • you’ve hired an extra digger for a larger job, which gets damaged by one of your contractors

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 dumper or skip

For example:

  • your digger gets stolen from the works site over the weekend, holding up next week’s work
  • the customer reverses their van into your mini excavator, causing damage and delaying your work for another job

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 gets 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:

  • during a thunderstorm, lightning damages your site’s scaffolding, causing it to fall and render the house you’re working on unsafe for a few days, as well as destroying the work you’ve already done
  • a fire on site damages your work, meaning you’ll need to re-hire some plant and start again from scratch

Read more about contract works insurance

Legal expenses insurance

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

What’s typically covered by legal expenses insurance?

  • legal expenses resulting from your day-to-day business activities, like disputes with employees
  • the cost of legal claims relating to property damage, nuisance or trespass
  • HMRC investigations, or tax and compliance issues
  • includes a tax advice helpline, a 24/7 confidential legal helpline, and crisis support to help you protect your reputation, as a trusted tradesperson

For example:

  • your client disputes their contract with you, stating you haven’t fulfilled your obligations and refusing to pay their invoice
  • an employee you’ve dismissed brings a legal case against you, and you need to defend your rights

Read more about legal expenses insurance

Personal accident insurance

In case anyone you’ve covered is accidentally injured, at work or off-duty.

What’s typically covered by personal accident insurance?

  • 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
  • a client runs over your employee’s foot while on-site, breaking several 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 tradesman 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.

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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 tradesmen insurance quotes, real prices

£9.4 /month

£73.98 /month

A self-employed builder who carries out repairs and alterations on residential properties in the local area

  • 2-3 years' experience
  • Sole trader
  • No employees
  • Based in Cardiff

Public liability

£1,000,000


Employers’ liability

Not included


Tools

Not included

£233.17 /month

£2072.61 /month

A small family-run plumbing company that specialises in plumbing, heating and ventilation in residential and commercial locations, sometimes using casual workers

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

Public liability

£2,000,000


Employers’ liability

£10,000,000


Tools

£10,000

How we work out example quotes These examples are real quotes from our online system (created 20/01/2021). 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

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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 tradesman 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 builders insurance or joinery 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

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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 tradesman (or all-trade) insurance through Simply Business has saved professionals thousands of pounds when the unexpected happened.

Ian saved more than £53,400

Ian (not his real name) recently fitted a dishwasher, which has leaked into the flat below his customer’s property, causing extensive water damage. The tradesman public liability insurance in Ian’s policy covered the repair costs.

Insurance payout

£53,452.68

Covering the cost of third party property damage


Ian’s costs

£100

The excess amount stated in Ian’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 800,000 customers across 1,500 trades now trusting us to provide their business insurance.

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Trademan insurance FAQs

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 tradesman insurance. You can also check out our business insurance FAQs.

  • Liability insurance is one of the most common forms of protection tradespeople look for when setting up an insurance policy – it’s built to cover your business against claims and lawsuits which hold you responsible (liable) for things like injuries and damage.

    Common forms of liability insurance are public liability, product liability and employers’ liability. You can usually add all of these into a tradesman’s insurance policy with Simply Business.

  • 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 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

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Tradesman insurance

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