For tradies there is one form of insurance that is by far the most common – public liability insurance.
As a self-employed tradie, including subbies, public liability is vital to protect you and your business if something goes wrong on the job.
In this guide we’ll look at what public liability for tradies covers, how much it costs and exactly who needs it.
If you just want to get a quote, click here.
What is public liability?
Public liability insurance is designed to cover a tradesman in the event that their negligence results in property damage or personal injury to a third party.
At the lower end we have small claims involving property damage.
A small property damage claim could involve the classic foot through the ceiling accident. The insurance would cover the cost of repairing the damage and repainting the ceiling.
At the upper end we have claims involving personal injury, or even death. This is where things get serious.
If your negligence resulted in the death of a third party, and you were sued for damages, your policy would respond.
These cases can stretch into the hundreds of thousands for serious injuries, and potentially millions for a death, so having the right insurance in place is absolutely vital.
Public liability cost for a tradie
Despite offering a huge amount of protection, public liability insurance is actually very cheap for a tradesman.
For the standard trades such as carpentry and electrical, a $5 million dollar policy can cost as little as $400 for a one-person business.
The larger your business, and the more hazardous your occupation, the higher the premium will be.
Also affecting the cost of your insurance will be the locations you work in. Specifically, and locations that are considered hazardous or major public spaces.
Such locations can include airports, railway stations, power stations, oil rigs and the like. If you work in or on any of these locations, you can expect to pay more for your insurance.
It’s vital that you do tell your insurance broker about this type of work, otherwise you may find that your policy does not cover you in the event of a claim.
To find out exactly how much this important form of tradies insurance could cost you, follow this link to our online quote form.
Which tradies need public liability?
If you have an ABN, then you’ll probably need public liability insurance.
Any self-employed tradie, whether you operate as a sole trader, partnership, trust or company, will need public liability insurance.
This includes those who subcontract to other builders. Don’t think that the builder’s insurance will cover you, because in most cases it will not.
In terms of how much cover you need, it really depends on the work you are doing.
Cover is available in amounts of $5 million, $10 million and $20 million.
For a typical residential tradie, $5 million will be sufficient. That being said, the cost to go from $5m to $10m isn’t much, so many tradies choose to double their cover.
If you are working in locations such as shopping centres and schools, there is a good chance you’ll be required to have the maximum cover of $20m.
Changing your level of cover is easy though, so even if you start with $5m and have to increase it later, it’s really not a big deal.
Purchasing a policy
There are a few different ways for a tradie to purchase a public liability policy.
For most tradies undertaking standard trades work, the easiest and cheapest option will be to go online.
Online providers such as Trade Risk can provide you with instant quotes via their website, and you can buy the policy online and get a certificate of currency emailed straight away.
It’s always important to read through the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before purchasing a policy, to ensure the policy is right for you.
If you’re unsure, then it’s highly recommended that you speak with an insurance broker who can run through everything with you.
Most brokers will happily deal with you over the phone or even via email, so there’s no need to make an appointment at a local broker’s office like the old days.
Public liability is super important for tradies, as well as being very affordable and easy to buy. It’s undoubtedly a vital part of your toolkit.