Why Do I Need Public Liability Insurance?

If you run a small business, or a big business for that matter, you’ve probably been told you need public liability insurance.

But why?  Why do you need it?

Depending on the size of your business, the cost of your public liability insurance could be anywhere from $400 a year to $40,000 a year – or more!

So it’s important to know why you need to have it.

Who Needs It?

First up let’s look at who needs this form of insurance.

Anyone who is self-employed or owns a business will most likely have a need for public liability.  This could include any of the following:

  • Sole trader
  • Partnership
  • Contractor
  • Subcontractor
  • Pty Ltd Company

So virtually any type of business where you’re not directly employed by someone else.

This includes anyone from a sole trader handyman startup through to a nation-wide company turning over millions of dollars per year.

Whilst many businesses need public liability to protect themselves and their owners, for some businesses it is a mandatory requirement.

For example electrical contractors in Qld must hold a minimum of $5 million public liability in order to maintain their licence.  Without their licence, they cannot trade.

This is a government regulation, and there are many others in other states and for other industries.

Aside from government regulation, some companies have their own regulations for other businesses that they contract or subcontract work out to.

For example tradies undertaking subcontracting work for builders will often find that the builder requires all subcontractors on site to have their own public liability.

Or if you’re operating as a handyman doing property maintenance for real estate agencies, often the agencies will require that you provide evidence of your public liability insurance.

This is a good thing, as it protects you and your clients in the event that something goes wrong on the job.

What Does It Cover?

Now that we know who needs public liability, we need to know what it actually covers.

The policy is intended to respond in the event that your negligence results in property damage or personal injury to a third party.

In plain English, this basically means that you’ve stuffed up and someone else has been injured or had their property damaged.

Public Liability Claim

An example of a claim could be where you’re working in a client’s roof, and you take a misstep, putting your foot through the ceiling.

The policy would cover the cost of repairing and repainting the ceiling.  This would be considered a minor claim, but could still climb well into the thousands.

A more serious claim would generally involve personal injury.  An example could be where you’ve left materials in a walkway without any signage, and a member of the public has tripped over and suffered an injury.

If it’s found that you’ve been negligent, your policy would respond to a claim for damages from the injured person.

Essentially, public liability is what’s going to save you having to sell your family home or go bankrupt in the event that something serious happens on the job, and it’s proven to be your fault.

So Why Do I Need Public Liability Insurance?

This brings us back to the original question.  Why does my business need public liability?

You need it because if something goes wrong, and you’re a self-employed person or business owner, you’re the one who’s going to be financially liable.

Cost of Insurance

We could be talking a few grand, or a few million in the event of a serious injury or death.

Some businesses could swallow such a loss, but many would be sent bankrupt with catastrophic financial consequences.

From under $400 a year, depending on your business type, you could protect yourself and your business from such huge risks.

We have insurance brokers who can assist with quotes and more information.  Please click here to get started.

Tradies Insurance

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.

How Much is Public Liability Insurance?

NSW Public Liability InsuranceThe cost of public liability insurance for a business in NSW can vary hugely.

There are a number of factors which affect the pricing of this form of insurance, and in this guide we’ll take a look at them.


A public liability insurance policy can cost a business in New South Wales anywhere from $300 for a very small and low-risk business, through to many thousands for a big business.

As with all forms of insurance, the cost of public liability is based primarily upon the chances of your business making a claim, and the likely size of that claim.

If the insurer believes that your business type has a low chance of making a claim, and that any claim would likely be fairly small, then they will charge you a relatively low premium each year.

If on the other hand the insurer believes that your business has a higher chance of claiming, or that the claim amount could be particularly high, then they will charge you a higher premium.

Now let’s take a look at the specific factors the insurers look at when pricing public liability cover.

Factors Affecting the Premium

There are three main factors which will affect the cost of insurance for a NSW business.  These are as follows:

  • Type of business (i.e. your business activities)
  • Size of business (in terms of either staff or revenue numbers)
  • The amount of cover required

There are other factors which will affect the pricing, but these are the big three which will have the largest impact on the cost.

Other factors can include the following:

  • Working in hazardous locations (such as airports and mine sites)
  • Prior claims and incident history
  • Use of subcontractors and labour hire
  • Working at heights

Again this list does not cover every factor, but there are more of the main things that an insurance broker will need to know below they can provide an accurate quote.

If your business conducts any activities which could be considered to be outside of the norm for your industry, you will need to let the insurance company know, and this could also impact upon the cost of the cover.

There are very few options available to businesses to vary their own insurance premium, but one option is to increase the excess on your policy.

By increasing your excess, which is the amount you must contribute to a claim, you can decrease the premium payable each year.

Whilst this will result in a premium saving, it will increase your costs in the event that you need to make a claim.

Getting a Quote

Whilst it’s important for a business owner to know what affects the pricing of their public liability insurance, the only way to get an accurate quote is to seek one from an insurer or insurance broker.

There are many insurance brokers located in Sydney and throughout NSW who can assist with quotes on public liability cover.

To request a quote on your insurance please click here to visit our online quote form and follow the prompts.

We can then put you in contact with a business insurance broker who understands the NSW market and can provide you with quotes and information on your insurance needs.

Vero Insurance

Vero Commercial Insurance Qld

One of Queensland’s largest providers of public liability insurance is Vero.

Vero are based right here in Brisbane, and they are part of one of Queensland’s most iconic financial services companies – Suncorp.

Further cementing their place in Qld, Vero are also a major sponsor of the Brisbane Lions AFL team.

Along with public liability, they provide a range of other business insurance types to assist businesses in Qld and around Australia.

Public Liability Insurance

The public liability cover offered by Vero is generally no different to that which is offered by most other reputable insurers.

Where Vero excels is in areas such as customer service and claims, and if your business is located in Qld they have the added benefit of local knowledge since they are also based in Qld.

Vero provides public liability insurance for virtually all occupations and business types, from tradies through to professional service providers.

Vero are also one of the few insurers who offer a policy which meets the Qld electrical contractors licence requirements.

Other Forms of Cover

As well as providing liability cover, Vero provide a full range of covers to suit many different business types.

Vero can assist with professional indemnity insurance, business interruption insurance and a range of commercial building and property covers.

Whether you operate as a sole trader doing consulting work from a home office, or run a national company importing and exporting goods around the world, Vero have policies that can assist you.


Vero deal exclusively with insurance brokers and other intermediaries, and do sell insurance policies direct to the public.

If you would like a quote on insurance provided by Vero, or would like to take out a new policy, you should speak with a local insurance broker who deal with Vero.

As one of Australia’s largest providers of commercial insurance, virtually all insurance brokers will be able to assist you with a Vero policy.

Although new policies cannot be taken out directly through Vero, they will still be there (along with your broker) to assist you in the event of a claim.

If you like the idea of supporting a Qld company, then give Vero a try next time you need to take out or renew your business insurance policies.

Getting Cheaper Insurance

Qld Business OwnerWith the economy in Queensland and around Australia suffering, many businesses are looking to cut costs wherever they can.

One of the easiest areas to make significant savings is business insurance, but it’s important to go about it the right way to ensure you are still properly covered.

To help out we have put together our list of the top four ways to save on your public liability insurance.

Have the right cover

It might not be the first one that comes to mind, but simply having the right insurance in place can be one of the biggest areas for potential savings.

If you’ve had your public liability insurance in place for a few years, you may find that your business needs have changed over that time.

There are all sorts of things that can change in your business that could result in lower premiums.  Here are just a few of them:

  • No longer undertaking high risk activities
  • No longer working at heights
  • Reduced staffing numbers or revenue
  • Reduced use of subcontractors
  • Any other factor which reduces your business risk

If any of these points apply to your business, you may find that your premium will reduce just by letting your insurance company know about the changes.

Shop around

This is probably the most commonly used method of reducing your insurance costs.

The simple fact is that the business insurance industry in Qld is very competitive, and insurance companies are continually reviewing their rates to ensure they are competitive.

Just because a certain company was cheapest when you took out cover a few years ago does not mean that they will still be the cheapest now.

If you have a good insurance broker they should be doing the shopping around for you, but leading up to renewal time it may be worth giving them a prod to make sure they’re doing their job.

Negotiate on fees

Most insurance brokers charge what is commonly known as a ‘broker fee’ on each policy they issue.

A broker fee is a standard part of the industry, however brokers are increasingly willing to negotiate on these fees in order to save or win your business.

The fee charged can vary hugely depending on the size of your policy.  For a sole trader the broker fee may only be $50, but for a large corporation it is not uncommon to see fees in the tens of thousands.

Whatever the fee is on your policy, it is worth asking your broker for a reduction in order to keep you as a valued client.

Pay annually

Paying monthly for public liability insurance is increasingly a popular option for Qld businesses, but keep in mind that it is generally more expensive to paying your policy by the month.

By paying monthly you will often be end up paying between 10 and 20% more for your insurance over the course of the year.

If you can only afford to pay monthly then you may have no choice, but if you can pay annually you will definitely save money in the long run.

More tips

For more tips on getting cheaper public liability insurance in Qld please speak with your broker or adviser.

Whatever you do, it is always important to remember that being properly covered is more important than simply getting the cheapest cover.  There is no point saving a few dollars on your premium if it’s going to cost you a lot more a claim time.

You can save money and stay properly insured, it just take a bit of work and the help of a good insurance broker.

Cleaners Insurance

NSW Public Liability InsuranceWith so many commercial and residential buildings in the Sydney CBD, it is no surprise that cleaners are in great demand in the city.

All cleaners working for property managers and real estate agents will generally be required to hold insurance before that can start work.

In this guide we will take a look at the forms of cover commonly required.

Public Liability Insurance

All cleaning contractors (those working under their own ABN) will require public liability insurance.

This form of cover protects you from the financial consequences of causing property damage or personal injury to others through your own negligence.

Common claims can include people slipping and injuring themselves where you have not placed appropriate warning signs on slippery surfaces.

Another common claim is where an inappropriate cleaning product has been negligently used and resulted in damage to property.

Although these events can constitute common claims, you still need to check your policy to ensure events such as these are covered.

When taking out public liability cover in NSW it is also important to tell the insurance company if you are undertaking any work in public spaces, as this can impact upon the cover you need.

Income Protection

It is far less common for income protection to be a mandatory form of insurance for cleaners, however it is still important for any cleaner working for themself.

As a self-employed or contract cleaner you will generally not be covered by worker’s compensation or sick leave, therefore the only way to protect your income is via income protection insurance.

Income protection can replace the majority of your income for a period of time if you are unable to work due to injury or illness, and in most cases it will cover you for events which occur at or away from work.


To obtain a quote on your cleaners public liability insurance please contact your broker or preferred insurance company.

It’s also worth shopping around, as the quotes for cleaners insurance can vary greatly depending on who you go through.

Comparing Insurance Policies

Insurance PolicyThere are plenty of different insurance companies offering business cover here in Queensland, and comparing these policies is now more important than ever.

Comparing all types of insurance is important for a business, but in this guide we will be looking specifically at public liability cover.

The Basic Cover

At a basic level most public liability policies are very similar in terms of the coverage they offer.

A public liability policy will cover you for property damage or personal injury to other’s resulting from your negligence.  Whichever policy you choose, this is the foundation of the cover.


This is where it starts to get a little more interesting, especially if your business activities are a little outside of the norm.

Each insurance company will be slightly different in the ways that their policies are worded.  For example each insurance company has a standard policy for electricians, but some may cover solar installs whilst others will not.

It’s a similar story for handymen.  Each insurance company has a standard policy for handymen, but some are restricted to domestic work only whilst others will also cover light commercial work.

It is vitally important the policy you choose doesn’t just cover your basic occupation, but also each of the specific duties that you undertake, especially if they are outside of the norm for your occupation.

You can compare these details yourself by reading the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and the policy wordings for each policy, however the safest option is to use an insurance broker who knows your industry.

If you do take out a policy which doesn’t cover some of the business activities that you undertake, you will most likely find yourself having a claim declined if the activity was not covered under the standard policy.

Extra Options

Whilst the basic coverage offered by most public liability policies is very similar, there are a number of extra options and benefits worth considering when you are comparing policies.

We don’t have the space to go into every single option in this guide, but we’ll take a look at some of the more popular options below:

Tax Audit Cover

Some policies include this as standard, whilst for others it is an extra cost option.

Tax audit insurance will cover a certain level of costs if you are audited by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The insurance will not cover the cost of any penalties or tax that you owe, but it can cover accountant’s fees and other costs involved in complying with the audit.

Driving Risk Cover

If you run a business in Qld that involves driving customer owned vehicles, such as a mechanical workshop or panel beating business, this option can cover the cost of damage caused to these vehicles whilst they are in your car.

The standard level of cover for driving risk is $100,000 however this amount can be increased if required.  In virtually all cases driving risk will be an additional cost option on your policy.


When comparing insurance policies, one of the most important factors for many Qld business owners will be the cost of the cover.

Of course it is important to find the policy which offers the most completive premiums, but it is also important to ensure that the policy is going to meet the needs of your business.

There’s no point paying premiums for a policy which isn’t going to cover you properly in the event of a claim, so by all means look for the best price, but make sure the cover is right for your business.

More Information

For more information on comparing public liability policies please speak with your broker.  If you are located in Queensland and would like us to put you in touch with a local broker please contact us or complete our online quote form by clicking the button to the right.

Choosing an Insurance Broker

Qld Business OwnerMany businesses in Queensland use an insurance broker or adviser for their business insurance needs.

If you are planning on using a broker, one of the most important parts of the process will be choosing a suitable insurance professional.

All brokers are different.  They have different levels of experience and qualifications, and different areas that they can specialise in.

In this guide we will take a look at some of those differences and the impact they can have on your choice.

Knowledge & Experience

As with all professions, insurance brokers in Queensland will have different levels of knowledge and expertise.

Generally speaking it will be better to deal with an insurance broker who has a higher level of experience and qualifications, but this isn’t always a guarantee of better service and advice.

It is also important to check the broker’s qualifications and their authority to provide insurance advice.  This information will generally be available in their Financial Services Guide (FSG) that all brokers are obliged to provide to you by law.

Areas of Specialty

Some brokers deal in all types of insurance, whilst other specialise in certain areas.

If you are just looking to insure your home or car virtually any broker should be able to assist, but if you are insuring your business it is more important to use a specialist.

Specialist insurance brokers exist in a variety of different sectors.  Common specialty areas include insurance for tradesmen as well as medical insurance.

Some brokers also specialist in specific types of insurance.  For example some may specialise in public liability insurance whilst others specialise in professional indemnity cover.

Although very few brokers specialise in a certain geographical areas, it is still important to ensure you broker has an understanding of where you business operated.

For example here in Qld there are some unique rules in place for public liability insurance.  Electricians in Qld must have special type of insurance which interstate brokers are often unaware of.

How Can A Broker Help?

A good insurance broker or adviser can help in many ways when it comes to sorting out your insurance needs.

Your broker will be able to assist you with assessing your business and its insurance needs.  They will also be able to assist with choosing the insurance broker who will be able to provide you with the best value.

Any insurance broker should be able to assist you with an appropriate insurance policy, however by choosing the right broker you can help to ensure you are getting the most appropriate cover at the best price.

For more information or to be put in contact with a Qld insurance broker please complete our online enquiry form.

Electrician Insurance QLD

Electrical Contractors Insurance

Electrical contractors here in Queensland require public liability insurance along with a special cover known as consumer protection.

Unlike many other forms of insurance for tradesmen, the requirement to hold public liability insurance for electricians in Qld is mandatory.  Without it you will be unable to apply for or renew your licence.

Electrical Contractors Insurance

Whilst there are various forms of insurance available to Qld electricians such as income protection and tool insurance, the most commonly required form of insurance is public liability.

Only certain insurance companies offer a policy to suit the Qld electrician requirements, and in order to obtain or renew your licence you will need to be able to confirm your policy meets the criteria.

Broadford Liability Insurance

A Qld electrical contractor’s insurance policy is based upon broadform liability.  Broadform liability is essentially just another name for a public and product liability policy.

A broadform liability policy is generally available in amounts of $5, $10 and $20 million.  The minimum requirement for Qld electricians is $5 million.

It is important not to choose a policy based on the broadform coverage alone, as your electrician insurance in Qld must also include consumer protection cover.

Consumer Protection Insurance

All policies which meet the eligibility requirements for an electrical contractors licence in Qld must include a special option called consumer protection insurance.

The requirement for consumer protection insurance is unique to Qld electricians, and is designed to protect the customers of electricians in Qld.

All policies must contain coverage of at least $50,000 consumer protection to be accepted by the Qld government for an electrician.

Certificate of Currency

In order to obtain or renew your contractor’s licence you will need to provide the licensing authority with a copy of your certificate of currency.

You cannot just use any certificate of currency issued by your broker or insurance company.  Instead you must have your broker complete the special certificate issued by the Qld government.

The special certificate of currency issued by the government confirms that the policy you have been issued does comply with the broadform liability and consumer protection requirements.

Insurance Quotes

The good news for Qld electricians is that the insurance they need does not have to be expensive.

A suitable policy can be had from around $700 for the minimum acceptable amount of cover.  This price can vary depending on the specific details of your business, and the best way to get a firm quote is via an insurance broker.

For more information on the insurance requirements for Qld electricians check out the official government website or contact your insurance broker.

Public Liability Insurance Sydney

Sydney Public Liability InsuranceFor businesses located in Sydney and elsewhere in NSW, public liability insurance is one of the most important ways of protecting themselves.

Almost all Sydney businesses can benefit from the protection that public liability provides.  It covers a range of risks and can reduce the financial impact of such risks on businesses and their owners.

There are many different insurance types which businesses and self-employed people can benefit from, and public liability is certainly one of the most common.

Public Liability Explained

Public liability is a special form of business insurance which covers the financial costs that arise from certain events which you are legally liable for.

If your business causes property damage or personal injury to another person such as client or member of the public, ordinarily you would be liable for their financial loss or damage.

With the right public liability insurance policy in place, your insurance company will cover the costs instead of having to meet those costs out of your own profits.

Not all events are covered by public liability insurance and there are some important exclusions, however many of the risks that Sydney businesses face each day will be covered.

Public Liability Cost in Sydney

The cost of public liability insurance in Sydney will vary for each business based on a range of factors.

The biggest factors in the cost of public liability include the type of work which is undertaken by the business, and the size of the business in terms of revenue and staffing numbers.

Other factors influencing the cost include the areas you work in, especially for higher risk areas such as airports, railway stations and anything to do with mining.

Generally a business will pay no more or less for their insurance just because they are based in Sydney, however some insurers do vary their premiums based on the geographical location of the business.

Quotes for Public Liability

There are dozens of insurance brokers located in Sydney who can assist you with a public liability insurance quote, however it also possible to use brokers from elsewhere in NSW and even interstate.

If you do choose to use an interstate insurance broker, it is important to ensure they are familiar with any special requirements for NSW businesses.

When comparing quotes on public liability insurance it is always important to compare the features and benefits of each, as not all policies are the same.

For more information on this important form of cover please speak with your local Sydney insurance broker.