As a self-employed handyman, your insurance cover is an important part of your business so it’s vital that you get it right. Insurance is used to financially protect your business, the public and your employees in the event of an accident.
So, why do you need these insurances?
Employer’s liability insurance is a legal requirement for any business with employees and is needed if you employ anyone for any length of time, under any contracted hours. It’s mainly there to protect your business against claims made by employees who are injured in the duty of their work or on business premises and ensures that fair compensation and medical costs can be covered regardless of the financial standing of the business.
Public liability insurance, however, is not usually legally required but is often a contractual obligation for membership within certain trade bodies and will likely be part of the terms of a client contract. Public liability insurance protects your business against expensive claims made by the public (anyone who is not an employee) in the event of an accident. It’s an incredibly important part of any business, especially those working on a self-employment basis, as compensation claims can be incredibly expensive, difficult to navigate and very distressing.
What exactly does it cover?
Accidents happen, as does human error, which is exactly what public liability insurance is for. It covers you and your business in the event that a member of the public makes a claim against you for compensation due to damage to their property or damage to themselves (a physical injury) which they believe happened as a direct result of actions on your (or your company’s/employees) part.
As well as the cost of the compensation claim, public liability insurance also covers your legal fees and any other cost accrued as a result of the claim. It also ensures you don’t need to worry about hiring lawyers or defending the case yourself if a claim is made against you, as your insurer will defend the claim on your behalf.
Most standard public liability insurance policies simply cover injury or damage to property and don’t include a clause for claims made for financial losses, therefore it’s important to ensure your policy includes financial loss cover so you’re covered in the event someone makes a claim based on economic losses accrued.
What sort of claims can arise?
Public liability insurance covers claims where you are seen to have been legally liable for the loss of or damage to property as well as personal injury due to a breach of your reasonable duty of care. Claims are only deemed as valid if liability can be proven and the losses or injury incurred as a result could be deemed ‘reasonably foreseeable’.
The most common claims are people who have been injured as a direct (or sometimes indirect) result of something you, your company or your employees have done or not done. These kinds of claims can see compensation of over £250,000 awarded to claimants with serious injuries, not accounting for the legal costs and other expenses.
Claims against businesses or self-employed individuals relating to the damage of property are also commonly seen and can be just as expensive, if not more so on occasion, to pay out for. As a self-employed handyman, it’s essential to ensure you’re covered in the event of accidental flooding, fires, general property damage and the accidental injury to any member of the – going up against a claim without handyman insurance can devastate your thriving business.