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


Like everyone that works in the construction sector, self-employed roofers need Public Liability Insurance. This is the case whether they are working on residential properties or commercial properties, and whether they are undertaking small repairs or complete re-roofing projects.

Public liability insurance for self-employed roofers has much in common with Public Liability Insurance for the rest of the construction sector, although there are a few additional considerations due to the nature of roofing work.

First, because self-employed roofers perform much of the work that they do at height, there is an increased chance that something could be dropped on a third party or a third party’s property, causing injury or damage.

Second, many self-employed roofers use heat and this can lead to fires. Although fires are relatively rare, when a fire does occur the resultant claim can often be very costly to settle.


What does public liability for self-employed roofers cover?

Public liability insurance for self-insured roofers covers you against claims made by third parties who claim that something you have done has injured them or caused loss of or damage to their property.

The policy also covers products liability insurance which covers you against claims made by third parties who claim that they have been injured or their property has been damaged by a product that you have sold or supplied.

Sometimes a third party will suffer a purely economic loss where there has been no injury or damage to property. Public liability insurance for self-employed roofers should contain a financial loss cover extension to ensure that any such claims made against you are covered.

Due to the work at height, a height limit is usually imposed. It is important to make sure that you select the correct height limit. The limit needs to be sufficient to make sure you are insured for all of your work. However, the higher you work, the greater the risk, so if you select too high a limit you will be paying too much premium.

Public liability insurance for self-employed roofers will also contain a Heat Use Exclusion unless you tell your insurers that you’re using heat. If your public liability insurance policy contains a Heat Use Exclusion, any claims that arise out of heat use will not be covered.

If you tell your insurers that you are using heat, they will often replace this exclusion with Use Of Heat Conditions, which means you are insured for claims arising out of heat use provided you take certain steps to minimise the risk of fire. It is important to make sure that you comply with these conditions because if you don’t, a claim could be refused.


Claims examples

  • When you are working at height, you could drop a tile or a tool onto a member of the public’s car. That car would probably be insured, but the motor insurer will look to you to recover their costs. This would be covered by your public liability insurance and all you would need to pay is your policy excess.
  • Dropping a tile or tool onto a member of the public’s car would be relatively inexpensive, but if the tile or tool hit a member of the public and injured them instead it would be a lot more costly. Claims for this type of injury costing £250,000 or more are not uncommon.
  • Another source of expensive claims is heat use. As already mentioned, heat use can lead to fires. If you are working on an end terrace house and a fire starts which spreads to the rest of the terrace, it could end up costing over £1,000,000. Provided you have complied with the Use Of Heat Conditions, public liability insurance for self-employed roofers would cover this type of claim.

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