Do window cleaners need insurance?

The cleaning business can be a very lucrative industry to be in – everyone needs a window cleaner at some point! However, without the right insurance, legal fees and legal costs can break your business …

The cleaning business can be a very lucrative industry to be in – everyone needs a window cleaner at some point!

However, without the right insurance, legal fees and legal costs can break your business down completely.

Window cleaners are at risk of accident and injury more than one might think, as this is one of the most hazardous trades in the UK.

Let’s see how you can remove the window of opportunity for financial losses and injury in your business by having the right window cleaning insurance.

Do you need insurance to be a window cleaner?

Although it’s not a legal requirement, unless you have employees, it’s strongly advised you have insurance as the window cleaning business is considered one of the most hazardous jobs in the UK. Not only is there a risk of injury to yourself and your employees, but also to members of the public.

In order to reduce the risk of your business facing a financial loss, having the right cover is important for your window cleaning business.

Why do I need insurance?

Let me paint a picture for you.

You are cleaning your client’s windows and it happens to be a very busy time in the day – the dreaded lunch hour. Members of the public are all rushing around to grab their lunchtime sandwich and moan about their bosses before their hour of freedom is up.

You happen to have forgotten one of your cleaning chemicals on the ground and leave your ladder unattended just for one short moment to pick it up.

As with all accidents, they happen at the drop of a hat. Your ladder falls on a passerby who is severely injured as a result.

Because you do not have the an insurance policy in place, the high compensation fees for the accidental injury come right out of your own pocket. As a small business, your window cleaning business is now at risk.

Accidents happen quickly and unexpectedly, especially in a business that has a higher risk of mishaps occurring.

Having an insurance policy in place gives you valuable peace of mind should any accidents happen, as well as protecting your business from financial losses.

How do I stay safe as a window cleaner?

As mentioned, the window cleaning business is one of the most hazardous trades. Around 30 people suffer from serious injuries on the job in the UK each year.

According to statistics by the Health and Safety Executive, 29 workers suffered fatal workplace injuries in 2019/20 due to falling from a height, resulting in accidental death.

Here are some of the most common risks you will face as a window cleaner and how to minimise them to ensure the safety of yourself, your employees and the public.

Ladders – This is not a job for loafers, make sure you are wearing the correct footwear to reduce the risk of slipping and that you do need exceed the recommended working load. Check the height of the ladder fits the job, allowing you to clean windows without having to lean and overreach as this is the biggest cause for falls and slips.

Travelling ladders and gantries – Slow and steady wins the race here. The biggest risk is rushing through installing this equipment, so take your time with installing and inspecting the equipment to make sure it is safe for use. Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as harnesses need to worn to ensure your safety in addition to your tools and equipment being secured.

Suspended Access Equipment (SAE) – When it comes to carrying shopping bags from the car to the house, overloading to fit everything into one trip is necessary. When it comes to SAE, this is a two trip job – do not overload the access equipment as the safe working load should never be exceeded. Additionally, employees need to be trained on SAE before taking on these jobs, as well checking that the weather conditions are safe for this type of job.

Rope access – Traditional methods like ropes are important for those mission impossible moments when you need to reach areas that are difficult to get to. When doing so, it is important you do not rush as this significantly increases the risk of falling. Additionally, ensure you have the correct PPE to stay safe and to minimise risk.

Falling objects – Even small, seemingly harmless tools and equipment can cause great harm to a passersby when falling from a height. It’s import to make sure all equipment and tools are properly latched onto a suitable lanyard. Additionally, this also protects your equipment from damage and then having to to replace your tools.

What cover do I need?

Take a look at what cover is necessary specifically to your window cleaning business to ensure you have the right insurance to protect you from any potential financial losses. Here are some of the types of cover you may need for your business.

Public Liability Insurance

Although public liability insurance cover is not legally required, public liability insurance gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you have the right cover should any accidents occur at your window cleaning company that cause any property damage or injuries to members of the public.

Public liability insurance protects your window cleaning business in the event of damage to the windows or business property during cleaning, any medical treatment needed if your cleaning chemicals cause an injury, and in the event a member of the public is injured as a result of your work.

Public liability insurance cover also protects you in the event you may lose customer’s keys if you are responsible for holding keys for the client’s property. Additionally, if you are also responsible for locking up the business premises after cleaning, public liability insurance cover protects you from legal costs associated with property damage. For example, if you do not set the correct alarms and someone breaks into the property, including public liability in your insurance policy protects you from any legal fees.

Employers Liability Insurance

Unlike public liability, employers liability insurance is legally required if you have any employees, unless they are all direct family members. If not, then you need to add cover for employers liability insurance as there can be severe penalties for failing to do so. Employers liability insurance offers protection for window cleaners should tan employee fall ill or suffer an injury as a result of their work, such as a broken ankle from a fall.

Without employer’s liability insurance, you could be fined legal costs of £2,500 for every day you have worked without employers liability.

Van or Business Vehicle Insurance

If your window cleaning business requires a van or any other company vehicle, then it is helpful to include van insurance as part of your insurance policy, especially if your job includes travelling long distances.

Tools Insurance and Equipment Cover

Including tools insurance ensures that your window cleaning equipment is protected in the event they are damaged or stolen. If you have a business premises where your specialist equipment and tools are stored, it may also be worth including tools cover for your building to protect any business equipment stored there from damages, break ins and theft.

How do I find cheaper insurance?

The search for a quote online for insurance for window cleaners can often be a complex and tiresome one. It may sometimes be difficult to discern what window cleaning insurance policy you need to include. For example, if you are someone who works locally, then you do not need to invest in van insurance as long distance travel is not usually part of your day to day. Additionally, some window cleaning companies are family businesses, including window cleaners who are direct family members in which case you do not need to include employers liability insurance.

Your window cleaning insurance policy depend on several factors, including the size of your business, how much cover you need and include and your insurance claims history.

Although working with insurance company representatives can help you find the cheapest deals within that provider, it does limit you from other deals that may suit your window cleaning business better and be more affordable.

Working with an insurance broker is a great way to find insurance for window cleaners that fit your budget and are bespoke to your business. Insurance brokers use their existing relationships with providers, rather than comparison websites to find a quote online. This not only finds you the right insurance needed for your window cleaning business, but also ensures that you find the cheapest cover across the board. Lastly, you do not have to pay for their service, as insurance brokers work by receiving a small commission from the insurance provider you decide to go for. Therefore, making sure you get a deal you are happy with, that suits your window cleaning business is their top priority.

There you have it, everything you need to know to make sure your window cleaning business is a successful and safe one, with the right insurance policy!