As a self-employed electrician, your services can open you up to a unique set of risks in your everyday work. This article will look at the insurances that are available to you, to protect yourself and your business should you need it.
- Public liability insurance
- Employer’s liability insurance
- Property insurance
- Personal accident and sickness insurance
- Contract works insurance
- Legal expenses insurance
Public liability insurance
What is public liability insurance?
Public liability is an insurance policy that protects you if a claim is made by a member of the public against you or your business. It covers you if a member of the public is injured, harmed (either physically or emotionally) or their property is damaged in an accident when dealing with your business.
Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, but it would be unwise to go without a policy as an electrician who may have to constantly deal with the public. Often, if you are contracted to work on a site, you will have to prove that you have a valid public liability policy before you are allowed to start work. This protects not only the main contractor company, but you and others on the site.
What does public liability insurance include?
This insurance will cover if a customer is at your premises or office, as well as protecting you while you work in other people’s homes or a work site. Public liability insurance will also usually cover any incidents where a customer has been harmed by using any products you have supplied.
The insurance covers any legal fees as well as compensation for the person involved. Compensation can often be a five figure sum and this could be a massive blow to your small business if the insurance didn’t cover it. Public liability insurance ultimately protects the future of your business in case a customer makes a claim against you.
Employer’s liability insurance
This is very similar to public liability insurance, except it protects your business in the case that any person you employ makes a claim.
If you have taken on a contractor as a spare pair of hands for a project, you must ensure that you have the right cover in case they make a claim. Even if you employ someone on a casual basis, it is a legal requirement to have this insurance in place. There are severe penalties if you are found to employ someone and don’t have this protection.
This insurance will cover if the employee claims that you or the business’ activities are responsible for them becoming injured or ill while working for you. Again, compensation would be in the tens of thousands for even a minor injury, so protect your business if you often have a spare pair of hands to help you out with work.
Property insurance could be a very important one for an electrician to have, as it covers your tools, equipment, materials and other property against accidental damage or theft.
This will usually insure your property at your office or business premises as standard, but there will be policies that also cover your property from being damaged or stolen from your van. Therefore, always do your research to check your property will be protected when you are out working too.
Personal accident and sickness insurance
As a self-employed person, if you are unable to work, the money stops coming in. This is where personal accident and sickness cover comes in.
This insurance is for if you are unable to work for a period due to illness or injury. The payout on this will usually be a weekly sum, to cover bills and living expenses while you recover. If you are unable to return to work at all, then a lump sum payment will be made and how much will be stipulated in the contract.
Contract works insurance
Sometimes called Contractors All Risk insurance, this policy protects your equipment and any hired equipment that you are responsible for if you are a contractor on a work site. This policy would cover injury or accidents and means you won’t have to pay out of your own pocket for an incident that was out of your control on a site.
This insurance will cover any legal fees, cost of replacing tools or having to change the type of electrical work you’re doing if unexpected circumstances change the direction of the project. This keeps your business safe when being contracted for projects.
Legal expenses insurance
If you find yourself involved in legal action, then this insurance will cover the fees associated with that. The insurer will also be able to support you with the type of legal action you find yourself up against, including:
- Disagreements or grievances over contracts
- Disputes with neighbours or neighbouring businesses at your premises
- Criminal charges or hearings
- Employment tribunals, if you employed contractors or employees on a temporary or fixed basis
- Tax inquiries
- VAT inspections
- IR35 investigations
What insurance policies should self-employed electricians prioritise?
First take a look at the type of work you do most often. If you work in customers’ homes day in, day out, then public liability and property insurance could be top of your list.
If you are contracted to work on sites more than domestic electrical work, then you will likely need public liability and contract works insurance more than the others.
However, it is worth noting that you will be able to find specialist electricians’ insurance that may cover a variety of these things in one policy. This could simplify things and save you having to find several separate insurance deals.
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