As a self-employed painter decorator, your services can open you to a unique set of risks in your everyday work. This article will look at the insurances available to protect yourself and your business should you find yourself up against, or need to make, a claim.

This article will look at the following types of insurance:

  • Public liability insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Contract works insurance
  • Personal accident and sickness insurance
  • Employer’s liability insurance
  • What insurance policies should self-employed painters prioritise?

Public liability insurance

What is public liability insurance?

Public liability is an insurance policy that protects you if a member of the public makes a claim against your business due to an accident caused while you were carrying out your work. The policy covers if a member of the public is injured physically or emotionally harmed by your equipment or your activities. The policy will also cover if their property or personal belongings are damaged whilst working with your business. 

Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, but it would be unwise to go without a policy as a decorator who likely works with the general public daily. Also, if you are hired as a contractor on building sites or sites for new build homes, for example, then you will have to prove that you have a valid public liability policy before you are allowed to start work. Being insured protects not only the main contractor company but you and other workers on the site.

What does public liability insurance cover?

Public liabilities policies will cover you while you work in other people’s homes or a worksite for any accidents that happen. Public liability insurance will also usually cover any incidents where a customer is harmed from using any products you have supplied to them.

The insurance covers any legal fees you’ll incur as well as compensation for the person making a claim. 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 by paying any costs related to a claim so that you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket and potentially cease trading because of the expenses.

Property insurance

Property insurance could be essential for a painter decorator because it covers your tools, equipment, materials and other property against accidental damage or theft. 

This will usually insure your property at your business address as standard, but there will be policies that also cover your property from being damaged or stolen from your vehicle. Therefore, always do your research to check that the policy will protect your property in your van or a toolbox while working.

Contract works insurance

This insurance is sometimes called Contractors All Risk insurance. It protects your equipment or any hired equipment that you are responsible for if you are a contractor on a work site. This policy would cover injuries caused or accidents that occurred, so you wouldn’t pay out of your own pocket for an incident on a site that was out of your control. 

This insurance will cover any legal fees, the cost of replacing tools or materials while you’re working on a site. In addition, this kind of policy keeps your business safe when contracted for projects managed by other businesses. 

Personal accident and sickness insurance

As a self-employed person, if you are unable to work, the money stops. This is where personal accident and sickness cover comes in. 

This policy is for if you are unable to work for a period due to illness or injury. The payout on this type of insurance can be a weekly sum to cover bills and living expenses while you recuperate. If you cannot return to work, the insurer can make a lump sum payment to cover your living expenses long-term.

Employer’s liability insurance

This insurance is very similar to public liability, except it protects your business in the case that any person you employ claims about an accident caused while working for you or with you.

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 hire 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. But, again, compensation would be in the tens of thousands for even a minor injury, so protect your business if you often hire a spare pair of hands to help you out with projects.

What insurance policies should self-employed painters prioritise?

First, take a look at the type of work you do most often. For example, public liability and property insurance could be top of your list if you work in customers’ homes day in and day out. 

If you are contracted to work on sites more than domestic decorating, you will likely need public liability and contract works insurance more.

However, it is worth noting that you may find specialist insurance for your profession that can cover several insurances in one policy. This could simplify things and save you from having to find several different insurance deals.

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