It is important for both new and existing sole trader businesses to consider protecting themselves against potential litigation.
People who have been self employed for some time might think that such misfortunes are never going to befall them, particularly in cases when they have successfully operated unscathed for a number of years.
To those who are new to self employment, it is not unusual that they are naturally preoccupied with the administration related to setting up new businesses, plus, of course, the securing and servicing of customers.
In either scenario, self employed individuals can be forgiven for overlooking liability protection, or simply not being aware of the potential risks they face on a daily basis. It may never occur to them that they are as likely as any large organisation to be implicated in legal action against them for injuries or damages suffered by clients, members of the public or sub-contractors. Incidents can and do happen, regardless of whether they work from home, in rented offices or at customers’ premises or sites.
In an age of increased ‘no win no fee’ litigation and continually evolving health and safety legislation, it is of imperative importance that the self employed ensure they are forearmed and forewarned. Compared to other aspects of running small businesses, sexy stuff it might not be. However, premiums for liability cover can be meagre prices to pay in comparison with the financial and reputational losses they could endure if unprotected.
Is PLI Befitting To Certain Fields Of Self Employment?
No Sector Specific Prerequisites Necessary
Dependent upon the natures of their individual business, self employed individuals might be inclined to think that liability protection applies most pertinently to tradesmen, such as builders or electricians. Whilst the needs for insurance in such sectors might be more immediately apparent, PLI spans all sectors.
Anyone who comes in to contact with other people besides themselves during the course of their work is eligible. Even self employed people who offer services remotely from home, without needs to meet with customers or enter their workplaces. If self employed business operations of this nature have requirements to sub-contract work to other people, then they would be well advised to consider PLI. Without it, they have no protection if their sub-contractors experience any mishaps whilst working on their behalves.
Whether the individual operates as a limited company, partnership or sole trader is irrelevant; each can protect their interests with liability coverage. Their fields of specialism might span aerial erection, hairdressing, IT consultancy, manufacturing, plumbing, sales and marketing, teaching or upholstery. Accidents and damages do not single out certain sectors; they occur randomly across all and any conceivable sectors.
Is PLI Worth the Money for One-Man Businesses?
Perceived Scaremongering Translates to Plain Common Sense
Some individuals in self employment might question whether PLI is really worth their time and money. Many are suspicious of what has come to be referred to in the press as ‘elf ‘n’ safety’ and there are constant streams of well documented stories that can only be attributed by the layman as cases of PC gone mad.
Whatever personal opinions might be, it is a simple fact that many public sector and other organisations require their suppliers to have PLI as part of their procurement processes. Hopefully, the vast majority of traders might never be party to any unfortunate accidents or damages for which they have needs to claim against their insurances. They might, however, consider coupling the unanswerable question of, “What if…”, with their determination to secure lucrative work.
It is also of extreme noteworthiness that liability protection does not exist solely to protect self employed people in cases of a customer tripping and falling on a loose piece of carpet in their office. Or if a trading person should accidentally dislodge a soap dispenser from a customer’s bathroom wall. It is also a common sense product that insures individuals against damage, losses and thefts relating to their own belongings and premises.
What Benefits Does PLI Offer The Individual Trader In Real Terms?
Reassuring Protection for You and Yours
Much is made of PLI’s function of safeguarding the individual trader against a variety of claims that might potentially be brought against them. This is unquestionably applicable to most modern working environments and in accordance with Government legislation. It is however, of equal importance to individuals that liability protection also offers them peace of mind in relation to their own person and people, tools of the trade and workplaces.
Policies can include cover for work related equipment either owned by the individual or hired by them in order to fufill work on behalf of their customers. Cover for damage to, loss or theft of goods in transit can be factored in, whether they operate bathroom fitting businesses, where a suite could get chipped in their van, or bakery businesses, when wedding cakes could suffer similar fates.
Furthermore, a variety of policies available to traders offer them cover against the very things that are often referred to in tongue in cheek manners, amidst a backdrop of claiming culture. Personal accident cover could offer a make or break safety net to a worker injured whilst going about the course of their duties.
The covering of the costs of any damages incurred as a result of injuries to members of the public, staff or sub-contractors would become not so much a subject of ridicule if it happened to a self employed person rather than someone in a newspaper. Lacking PLI, the trader in question would be completely and totally liable. To risk losing a business and even a home is probably not a risk worth taking.