If you’re a self-employed builder, carpenter or other construction worker, having the right insurance covers your business from expensive risks on a daily basis. But understanding exactly which builders insurance policies you require can be confusing when you don’t have an employer arranging it all on your behalf.
At Tradesman Saver, we make getting covered easy for self-employed builders based here in the UK. In this guide, we’ll outline the key insurance products needed as standard to safeguard yourself and your livelihood.
Must-Have Public Liability Insurance
Arguably the most essential protection for construction workers is public liability insurance. This covers any injury or property damage claims from clients or members of the public, which could arise from something like:
A falling tool or building supply striking someoneFaulty work leading to damageSlips or trips on your work site
Without this policy, even fairly routine claims often reach thousands of pounds in payouts and legal fees.
Experts recommend £5 million public liability insurance as an absolute minimum benchmark for builders, although our standard cover is £10 million, rising to £25 million for maximum protection.
Public liability generally costs between £50 to £150 per annum. While not mandatory for the self-employed, having this cover demonstrates to customers that you operate professionally and safely.
Consider Employers’ Liability
While there’s no legal mandate for employers’ liability cover if you have no staff, many self-employed builders choose to arrange a nominal amount like £1 million anyway.
This provides protection if you later take on your first employee or work experience apprentice and simply forget to update your insurance – something that’s easy to overlook when extremely busy with contract work!
It also covers you on the rare occasion you may bring in extra freelance workers to help cope with sudden demand. A small amount of employers liability can be added to your existing public liability policy for very reasonable rates.
Specialist Construction Insurance
More complex and hazardous projects often require extra insurance covers beyond standard public liability protection. These include:
Professional Indemnity – Protects against design flaws and structural problems in anything you build or install. This is particularly important if you take on loft conversions, extensions or anything requiring architectural oversight.Contract Works (Buildings) – Covers damage to customer properties you’re working on, including compensation during delays plus cost of materials and hired equipment. Some home insurance policies won’t cover builder work externally or major internal structural changes.Tools Cover – Insures your equipment against theft from vehicles, damage on site and other loss or theft. This keeps your business running if the worst happens.
As a solo self-employed builder, everything is riding on you alone. If you fall ill or suffer an injury that prevents you from working, there’s no employer to pick up the slack while you recover. That’s why income protection insurance tailored to self-employed workers is so crucial in the trades sector.
This provides monthly payouts to partially replace your lost earnings following sickness or accidents that keep you off site. As benefits aren’t typically provided by employers, this safety net bridges gaps until you can work again. We cover up to 70% of your pre-tax income monthly.
Accounting for National Insurance
Another area self-employed builders need to consider is how they collect and pay National Insurance (NI) contributions. These aren’t automatically deducted like with permanent employee roles.
You’ll need to budget, save and submit NI instalments yourself as due. Being organised and on top of your payments ensures you qualify for State Pension, coverage under the NHS and eligibility for some unemployment benefits if periods between jobs arise unexpectedly.
For Trusted Builders & Tradesperson Insurance in the UK, Call Tradesman Saver Today
Here at Tradesman Saver, our experienced team is on hand to talk through precisely which covers suit your specific construction work. We’ll then arrange appropriately tailored policies protecting both your finances and professional reputation. We provide specialist insurance policies to protect tradespeople of all kinds in the UK from workplace accidents, negligence and more. For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.