If you work as a self-employed contractor or even run your own small contracting business then the buck really does stop with you. If your business does well then you get the profits; if things go wrong then you may be held financially responsible. This is one of the reasons why solid insurance cover is so important. And, the fact that you will be dealing with other people means that contractors liability insurance may be something you need to think about.
So what will this kind of insurance help you with? This isn’t about whether you have your tools stolen or whether your premises get damaged in a fire or a flood. This kind of insurance looks after your ‘liability’ to others – it simply aims to give you protection if something happens in the course of your doing your job. There are two main things to think about when considering your liability as a contractor:
· Your liability to the public – if you’re working on a job and a passer by or some other person has an accident or gets hurt because of something that you do then public liability insurance may be useful to you. People are more likely to sue in this kind of situation now and you may, therefore, need to look at getting cover for legal and compensation costs. You may also find that some clients will not work with you unless you have a public liability insurance policy in place.
· Your liability to your employees – if you employ other people then the law usually requires that you have employers’ liability insurance to protect your employees. So, for example, if they get injured or ill because of something that happens when they work for you then this cover may, once again, be useful from a costs point of view. There are a few exceptions where you may not need this kind of cover but, in most cases, this will be necessary.
It doesn’t matter how hard or how carefully you work. Accidents do happen and sometimes it doesn’t matter if you consider you were at fault or not. Some people will sue anyway. So, getting the right mix of contractors liability insurance cover may well help you cope if things do go wrong.
By Robert Watson