It may sound like a cliché, but it really can be worth buying peace of mind when it comes to business security.
For the trade, the risks to you, other tradespeople and the public are raised given the nature of the work that you do. We wanted to go ‘back to basics’ and explain exactly what Public Liability insurance is, and why you should consider it moving forward.
Do any of these apply to you?
- Customers visit your premises.
- You work on a site, such as carrying out work in customer’s home or garden.
- You work in public areas and your work or equipment could injure someone.
- You’re a builder, electrician, carpenter, gardener, painter, decorator, or plumber.
- You’re associated with a trade body.
If you’ve answered yes to any one of these points, then read on.
What is Public Liability insurance?
While Public Liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it can certainly prevent a lot of legal wrangling. In short, if you don’t have it, you could end up having to pay out compensation for injury or damage claims from your own pocket.
With the cost-of-living crisis showing no signs of easing, now is not the time to take big financial risks.
Unfortunately, the cost-of-living crisis has seen an increase in insurance claims across the board, as the purse strings tighten and those who may not have done so previously, are now claiming on their insurance, along with a rise in fraudulent claims.
Consider that a ‘moderate’ leg injury claim could set you back between £27,760 to £39,200*, you can clearly understand the impact a trip or fall could have on your business and family life.
Public Liability is designed to cover you against compensation claims, plus associated medical bills, repairs, even loss of income and business disruption. Of course, we know that one size definitely does not fit all, which is why these types of policies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, with varying levels of compensation and benefits. The key is to ensure you speak to a broker so that they can advise you on what you need, no more, no less.
Protecting your customers is key!
Your customers are your bread and butter, so put them first. Accidents can and do happen on sites, so it’s important to ensure that should a customer be injured, or their vehicle damaged, for example, you’re not left in a tricky situation, unable to foot the bill for repairs (and unable to complete the work and get paid if the relationship sours).
Additionally, if you invite customers to your workshop or yard, and they fall over, cut themselves, or damage their vehicle, you need to ensure that you are fully protected.
At the end of the day, it illustrates professionalism, personal responsibility, and pride in how you conduct your business, which could see you being chosen for the job over someone who doesn’t have Public Liability insurance. With most of the trade relying on word of mouth to generate new business, it could make all the difference.
As a side note, if you have employees, you’ll also need to consider Employee Liability Insurance!
Winning contracts and satisfying industry bodies
Public Liability can be a prerequisite for contracts, particularly in the public sector – the sector also tends to specify how much cover you would need to have to be considered, so do flag this up if you do this type of work with your broker.
If you are a member of an industry body, you are likely to have to prove you hold Public Liability insurance. If you’re not yet a member, it could be worth considering, but make sure you review their requirements and set up your insurance prior to applying.
How much Public Liability do you need?
This very much depends on the size of your business, what you do, whether you work with dangerous materials or equipment, and the sums you wish to insure – it could be £5 million or more if you work with local authorities, for example. Of course, there are options to insure for less than this, which will result in a lower premium, and visa versa.
The important thing is to consider that, if a third party were to make a claim against you, they may want compensation to include medical costs, loss of earnings and even ongoing care. In addition to that, taking out Public Liability covers your legal fees, which could also mount up! We would advise speaking to a broker to ensure you are covered for the sum you need, and not paying for anything you don’t need.
Consider your personal wellbeing.
We know that working in the trade can be incredibly stressful at times – we often review statistics on tool theft, van theft and so on. Add to that the pressure of running a small business or being self-employed, it’s important to take the weight of a compensation claim off your shoulders, so that you can focus on business-as-usual.
While it’s critical to have Public Liability insurance to satisfy all the points made above, ultimately, it’s there to give you peace of mind, protect you from financial harm, and enable you to keep going.
If you would like to talk to us about Public Liability, the easiest way is to call your local A-Plan business branch team who would be more than happy to answer as many business insurance questions as you would like to ask.
*statistics courtesy of Legalexpert.co.uk