What does Public Liability Insurance for Self-Employed Builders cover?

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Whether you are working on residential properties or commercial properties, and whether you are undertaking new build work or doing alterations to existing properties, public liability insurance for self-employed builders protects you against claims made by third parties who allege that you have injured them or damaged their property due to your building work.

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You need to have public liability insurance even if all of your work is undertaken as a sub-contractor. In fact, if you are working as a sub-contractor the main contractor may not even allow you on site until you have produced evidence that you have valid public liability insurance.

 

What does public liability insurance for self-employed builders cover?

Public liability insurance for self-employed builders covers claims made against you by third parties who allege that they have been injured or had their property damaged as a result of your building activities.

The policy also includes products liability insurance, which covers claims made against you by third parties who allege that they have been injured or had their property damaged as a result of a defect in a product that you have sold or supplied.

Public liability insurance for self-employed builders should also contain a financial loss cover extension. This covers claims made against you for purely financial losses that a third party has incurred due to something that you have done. An example would be where someone incurs additional hiring costs due to something that you have done.

In addition to paying compensation to the third party that has claimed against you, public liability insurance also pays the legal costs that are incurred in

The standard indemnity limit is £1,000,000. This is the maximum claim that the insurer will pay. However, it is worth considering increasing this limit to £2,000,000 or even £5,000,000 because the potential for large, expensive claims is high. Some main contractors even insist that the sub-contractors working for them have these higher limits rather than the standard indemnity limit.

Claims examples

  • A lady in Southampton tripped over a cable that was running across a pavement, causing her wrist to be broken. The builder was found to be legally liable for her injury because there were no warning signs and no attempt had been made to minimise the risk of someone tripping due to the cable. Thankfully she made a full recovery, but still received compensation of £5,000 for her injury. By the time her loss of wages for the time she had to take off work and the additional expenses she incurred as a result of her injury were taken into account, and by the time the legal costs were factored in, the Public Liability Insurance claim ended up costing over £10,000.

 

  • A child in the Newcastle area was crushed when a poorly built wall collapsed onto him. Sadly, he suffered brain damage due to the incident and as a result he will require ongoing care for the rest of his life. The wall had collapsed because the cement had not been mixed correctly, so it was held that the builder was to blame for the accident. The compensation for the injury plus the costs that the child will incur for his ongoing care meant that the Public Liability Insurance claim was finalised for around £400,000.

 

  • A builder was using an angle grinder in a retail unit and because he had not taken adequate precautions to protect the surrounding area from sparks, a fire started. This fire spread to a number of other retail units. The evacuation of the retail complex was successful and nobody was injured, but the Public Liability Insurance claim for the damage to the retail units and their loss of income was eventually settled for in excess of £2,000,000.

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