It’s easy to wonder why you need carpenter’s insurance, particularly if you’ve been a carpenter for a number of years and haven’t ever needed to make an insurance claim. We often view insurance claims as something that only happens to other people, partly because we find it difficult to accept that we can make mistakes.
To be fair, there are things that you can do to minimise the risk of unexpected events that could lead to you having to make an insurance claim. Ensuring that your machinery is in good working order and has adequate guarding, for instance, can minimise the risk of injuries. Upgrading your security can minimise the risk of losses due to thefts.
But unexpected events do happen and the losses that can arise as a result of those can be substantial. Carpenter’s insurance protects your business if the unexpected happens. It may also be a requirement in certain circumstances and without it, you may be unable to trade.
When everything is going well, it’s difficult to see what could go wrong, but things can and do go wrong, and sometimes, they can go spectacularly wrong.
Your tools and equipment could be damaged or stolen, for instance. Carpenter’s insurance would be crucial here, because without your tools and equipment, you would be unable to work. Similarly, if you were installing roof joists on a new housing development and your work in progress was destroyed by a major storm before handover, rectifying the damage could be expensive.
It’s not just your property that you need to insure, though. If you injure someone or damage their property, you could be facing a compensation claim. Compensation claims can be expensive to settle once the cost of the legal fees and associated expenses has been added to the compensation award. A broken limb could result in a compensation claim of over £20,000 and serious injuries can result in compensation claims that end up costing over £100,000.
And it’s not just injuries to other people that could interrupt your business. If you were unable to work due to injury, you might be unable to earn but your bills would still need to be paid. Covering your loss of income could mean you can concentrate on your recovery rather than having to worry about how you’re going to cover your rent or mortgage payment at the end of the month.
There are other risks too. You could find yourself involved in costly legal action which results in a sizeable legal bill. Carpenter’s insurance with a legal expenses insurance would protect you if this happened.
When carpenter’s insurance becomes a requirement
Although it’s generally up to you whether you have carpenter’s insurance, sometimes it is a requirement.
If you hire in a piece of equipment, for instance, you will generally be required to insure that equipment against damage or theft while it is on hire. Similarly, a main contractor may require you to insure your work in progress against damage or theft.
Main contractors often insist that their subcontractors have valid public liability insurance in force as well. Public liability insurance covers you if a third party makes a compensation claim against you because they feel that you are responsible for their injury or for their property having been damaged. If you cannot produce evidence that you have this insurance, you will not be allowed on site. In other words, without carpenter’s insurance you may not be able to work.
If you employ anyone, even if those people are only employed on a temporary or a casual basis, you are legally required to have employer’s liability insurance. This type of carpenters insurance covers you if an employee makes a compensation claim against you. If you don’t have employer’s liability insurance when you are required to have it, there are hefty penalties.