No specific qualifications are required if you want to become a PAT tester. Provided you have had the necessary training you can perform PAT testing. As such, in theory, anyone who has been trained as a PAT tester can get insurance.
However, it’s not quite as simple as that and in practice, a number of factors will affect how easy it is for you to find insurance and how much that PAT testing insurance will cost.
If you’ve just done a one-day PAT tester course, you’ll not find it as easy to find insurance as you will if you can demonstrate your knowledge and professionalism by other, complementary electrical qualifications and training.
Although it’s possible to get insurance with nothing more than a PAT testing course certificate, you should make sure you keep your knowledge up to date via additional relevant training.
If you have been trading for a number of years this will go in your favour when you are trying to find insurance.
It’s not impossible to find insurance if you are just starting out in business, but in the same way that someone who has just passed their driving test will be paying more for their motor insurance than someone who has been driving for many years, insurers will be more keen to quote for the insurance for your PAT testing business if you have been trading for some time.
Whether or not you have made any claims in the past is a major underwriting factor for all types of insurance. Most insurers will only look at the past five years, although some will only look at the past three years.
The value of any claims you have made will be taken into account, but insurance companies pay more attention to the number of claims you have made in the past.
Some insurers will treat a single claim as a one-off unless the circumstances of the claim suggest that you were not operating in a professional manner. But any previous claims will make it more difficult and therefore more expensive for you to get insurance, and the more claims you have to make, the more difficult and expensive it will get.
As well as wanting to know about your experience, training and claims history, many insurance companies use a range of other factors when deciding how insurable they think you are.
Your criminal record may well be taken into account. Motoring offences are usually ignored, but if you have any unspent non-motoring convictions, it will be harder for you to get insurance because the insurance underwriters will view you as a “moral hazard”. They believe that people who are a moral hazard are likely to be less honest and therefore a higher risk than people who do not have a criminal record.
Some insurers will also use your credit rating when deciding whether to insure you and how much to charge you for your insurance. It might seem unfair that you pay more for your insurance if you have a poor credit history, but a number of insurers take the view that if you have a poor credit history, you’re more likely to cut corners on things like health and safety, increasing the risk that you will make a claim.
One final factor that can affect whether you can get insurance as a PAT tester is whether you are just buying one type of insurance or whether you are buying a full package of different covers. Some insurance companies feel you’re selecting against them if you just buy one type of cover and will charge you more, although most will be happy to quote for public liability insurance in isolation.