Quite frankly, if you are Tradesman of any kind, it is not only a recommendation that you start thinking about policy cover – it is highly advisable that you make it a priority if you are currently uninsured.
The size of your company has no bearing on your need for liability insurance, as accidents and damages bear no prejudices against certain business sizes or trade types.
The term, Tradesman, generally conjures up perceptions of people who make their livings from:
- Building and bricklaying
- Carpentry and joinery
- Painting and decorating
However, there are many other trades requiring liability cover that might not be as immediately obviously under the wide ranging banner or that have evolved more recently. If your business deals in:
- Alarm system installations
- Bathroom fitting
- Cabling and ducting
- Glazing and window fitting
- Satellite and aerial installation
- Your work is based on equally as highly skilled trades that are not without their dangers to both people and properties
The building trade and other related services employ amongst the largest percentage of workers in any sector in the UK. Due to the very nature of the work carried out by Tradesmen, accidents and damages occur within these sectors most frequently and not necessarily due to outright negligence. There are, of course, many cases when lack of due diligence and attention to health and safety are responsible, just like in other incomparable sectors.
However, the hazardous nature of the work involved with your trade, plus the potential dangers posed by materials and tools of your trade, mean that accidents and incidents are more likely to happen either on your own premises, your customers’ premises or any other allocated job sites.
Now You Know Who And Why, How About What Trade Liability Covers?
Tradesmens’ public liability policies cover everything that anyone else’s polices do, but also account for the additional risks faced by Tradesmen that are either inapplicable or highly unlikely in other sectors. The core functions of public liability cover for Tradesmen, however, have at their hearts exactly the same principles as they do for any other businesses whatsoever – to offer financial safety nets in cases of claims being brought for damages to equipment or property and injuries or illnesses caused by a business.
In your case, as a Tradesman, it is infinitely more likely that you might at some point have a claim made against you. If your customers, sub-contractors or suppliers visit you at your own place of work, the likelihood of them falling on a slippery workshop floor might be greater than in an office environment. Or they may suffer more serious injuries, even death, caused by the unintentional mishandling of powerful equipment by you, a member of your team or a sub-contractor.
If you are working at customers’ premises or a site in the public domain, the amounts and types of different incidents that can and do happen hardly bear thinking about. Besides accidents that cause personal harm to innocent bystanders, the very nature of the work you carry out can also involve numerous possibilities of damages to your customers’ belongings and properties.
You might have further responsibilities for goods in transit that might accidentally be damaged at any point in their journeys from source to your end customers. You doubtlessly need to account for the possibility of damages to, loss or theft of your own equipment and tools. If you sometimes work on jobs that necessitate the hiring in of equipment or tools from third part hire companies, not only can damages, losses and thefts delay the delivery of your customers’ job, but you will naturally be held accountable by your hire firms.
What Is The Damage – Literally And Financially?
As established, you work in a highly competitive and potentially very dangerous sector. If you work at heights involving the climbing of ladders, for example, several potential risks can be identified whilst you or a team member carry out a simple single task. You could cause damage to the exterior of your customer’s property whilst drilling at a height. You could lose your grip and accidentally drop a heavy power tool, which falls straight through your customer’s conservatory roof or, worse still, on their head.
Your ladders might be unstably positioned and crash through your customer’s window. Your sub-contractor could be on your unstable ladders when they fall and suffer consequent significant injuries as a result. You could leave your ladders securely stored at your job site overnight, only to find the next morning that the site has been burgled, including your ladders.
This might sound unintentionally flippant, but it reflects the volume and seriousness of potential risks involved in the simplest to the most complex of tasks you fulfill on a daily basis. It also amplifies loudly and clearly your need to approach liability insurance with equal seriousness.
Scaremongering aside, you know better than anybody the risks that go with your territory and the importance of having cover to protect your business. It is not illegal not to have cover, but to refer to an uninsured Tradesman as being unwise in the extreme is perhaps a polite understatement.
Public liability insurance for tradesmen covers you, on average, for between £5million to £10million worth of costs and damages in cases of successful claims being brought against you.
It is also worth sparing a thought that it is not all doom and gloom. With the best will and intentions in the world, your sector does not have the glossiest of reputations. Rogue trader stories are well documented. Resultantly, many business and residential customers prefer to use tradesmen who have liability cover; they see it as confirmation of credibility. You can use it to give you a competitive edge amidst a fragile economy where every little helps. If accidents or damages occur, you will be thankful that you did.