Is public liability cover an important part of a locksmith’s business?
Liability insurance is an important part of any business, with perhaps the exception of someone who works solely alone from home, never receives visits from customers and never visits customer premises.
Such circumstances are wholly inapplicable when discussing Locksmiths, as the vast majority of your work might be carried out at your customers’ businesses and homes.
This results in liability cover being a very important consideration for you, as you, or any staff you might employ, have the potential to cause damages to your customers’ properties and belongings, or personal injuries.
On the subject of staff that you might employ, they might equally suffer an accident on your own business premises or whilst out on sites on your behalf with customers. Thus you are at double risk of one day facing either a compensation or criminal claim, either from an employee or a third party. Members of the public, your customers or your suppliers fall under the latter category.
As additional aspect of being a Locksmith that you should give some serious thought to is the plain fact that you are often responsible for the securing of your customers’ premises. As such, your double risk of having a claim instigated against you now triples. Should the standard of your work be proven to be inadequate, your customers’ might be the unfortunate victims of break ins.
Furthermore, it is not only your workmanship that can be called in to question. Any professional advice offered that your customers accept and act upon can be hauled over the coals if proven to be ultimately detrimental to them and the security of their properties.
It is a lot to take in. Very typical claims that pay out unprecedented amounts of monies daily evolve from the likes of simple trips or slips. Accidents can be caused as unwittingly as a tool being left at your side on the floor whilst you are getting on with a job that a customer or an innocent passer by fails to notice and stumbles over.
You might accidentally put a customer’s window pane through or cause damage to their front door whilst fitting locks for them. Your risks, just like the risks of other businesses, range from the banal to the traumatic.
Putting all of your risk potentials in to context and thinking about them realistically and seriously, public liability cover perhaps becomes not so much of an issue to be shelved and thought about at a later date, but something to be acted upon imminently. As a professional Locksmith, dealing daily with customers, their premises and the security of both, there is simply no knowing when damages and accidents might sneak up unexpectedly.
Is there just one or several types of liability insurance recommended for locksmiths?
There are several aspects of liability cover that you either might have to have or want to consider including in your ultimate insurance bundle. Do bear in mind when taking out your public liability policy that most elements are completely optional. With the exception of Employers liability if you have staff, the law does not you require to have anything else over and above.
However, many professional firms, including those of Tradesmen like yourself whose risk potential tends to be on the higher side, sensibly opt for financial coverage against external claims.
Commencing with your legal compliance:-
Its purpose is to have your back if any of your staff take successful action against you for damages or injuries suffered whilst working on your behalf, either on your site or customers’ sites. What is known in the insurance industry as an indemnity level is agreed as best befits your business. The indemnity level is usually fixed at either £2 million, £5 million or £10 million across the board for all business sizes and types.
It is the value up to which your insurer will pay out on behalf of your business for damages awarded to staff members claiming successfully against you, plus their legal expenses. Staff members means anyone other than any immediate relatives who might work with you and includes not only full timers, but also part timers, casuals, temps, sub contractors and admin staff.
Following on with non legally required but potentially equally important elements of your public liability cover:-
Equipment & Tools Insurance
It tackles potential payment to you, rather than to injured parties, for any unforeseen and unpreventable losses of, damages to or thefts of your all important equipment and tools without which you may be rendered incapable of working.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
It covers you for claims made against you that do not so much relate to what you do and supply but, on the contrary, to things that you mis-advise about or fail to do. In the case of Locksmiths, a clear example would be something like you leaving a lock of a back door half finished overnight, resulting in a burglary taking place.
It does very much the same as Employers liability but in respect of cases against you that are won by third party concerns, such as suppliers, sub contractors, the public and customers – anyone who is not in your employment. The indemnity level is usually fixed at either £5 million or £10 million across the board and dependant upon the specific nature and scale of your business.
Is there anything else to think about locking down?
It is highly probable that you might also need to take out commercial vehicle insurance if you have either a single car or van or several different vehicles in your business.
Whilst public liability cover might feel like an additional expense based on worst case scenarios, it is fair to say that such scenarios on minor or major scales can and do befall Locksmiths daily. If you are unprotected by liability insurance, the question you need to ask yourself is how robust your business would be if you were required to pay thousands of pounds worth of damages as a result of a seemingly basic mishap.