Handyman work involves dangerous tools and working in unfamiliar locations, so even the most careful and experienced handyman might find themselves on the wrong end of an accident. Without the right handyman insurance, they could face a lawsuit and have to pay solicitor costs and compensation payments or replace stolen tools using their own money.
Insurance isn’t required by law for a handyman, but it makes good business sense to protect yourself against certain risks. And your customers might prefer working with a handyman that is properly protected, as this protects the customer as well. Some customers might even ask to see your certificate of insurance as proof that you’re covered. It’s not uncommon.
Insurance for handyman services
There are at least 6 types of insurance to consider if you provide handyman services:
- Public liability insurance. Covers personal injury and property damage claims made by third parties that your business was negligent.
- Tool and equipment insurance. Covers your tools and equipment if they are stolen or damaged in a covered event like a fire. Won’t cover wear and tear or defects.
- Personal accident cover. Provides funding to help replace lost income if you’re injured on the job and can’t work. Can provide both short-term covers to provide a weekly or monthly benefit and lump-sum payments for more serious injuries.
- Legal expenses cover. In case you need legal assistance to pursue an unpaid debt, have a contract dispute, or are subject to an HMRC tax enquiry, among other things.
- Employers’ liability insurance. If you hire any workers, employers’ liability insurance is required by law in almost all cases, even if you pay them in cash or they work part-time.
- Commercial vehicle insurance. Regular social, domestic & pleasure, and commuting vehicle insurance won’t protect a handyman’s work vehicle. By nature, a handyman drives to multiple places of work and probably uses a special van, which may even be kitted out to store tools in a certain way. In most cases, a handyman will probably want commercial vehicle insurance to cover the work-related driving and the tools inside. Although if a handyman only wanted to cover their private car for work-related driving and not any tools, it might suffice to add ‘business use’ to their car insurance. Ask your provider to learn more.
While there might be other types of cover a handyman wants to consider as well, these are the most common types of cover. Each handyman business must assess the risks they face, and consider what types of protection they want.
Handyman public liability
The backbone of a handyman insurance package is public liability, which covers personal injury or property damage claims made by a third party. For example, if a customer trips on your toolbox and falls, injuring themselves, they could take legal action saying you were negligent in leaving your tools out. Or if while you’re carrying a ladder up a narrow staircase you accidentally damage a glass-framed painting hung on the wall, and the customer sues for the cost to repair the valuable painting.
Handyman public liability covers both the legal costs to defend against a claim as well as any compensation you’re found liable to pay the harmed party. It’ll even cover frivolous claims, for which you are not responsible or where you were not negligent, but someone tries to sue you anyway.
Handyman public liability insurance cost
Public liability insurance for a handyman costs start from around £75 a year, but cheaper policies can be found if you look around. That level of premium can easily buy you £2 million of public liability insurance if you’re working as a sole trader. Of course, if you want a higher limit of insurance, you’ll pay a higher insurance rate. On the bright side, adding to your coverage limit is usually not as expensive as you might think. It’s usually the initial cover that costs the most.
Also, if your handyman business is structured as a partnership or a limited company, your public liability insurance costs might rise. And prices might also rise as your business grows and your turnover increases. With a larger business, there are simply more people who could be negligent and more opportunities for an accident, and therefore a claim.
If handyman insurance seems expensive to you, consider the potential cost of a claim – both the legal costs and the compensation payments. Without insurance, a handyman would need to cover these costs themselves, which is a financial burden that most people and small businesses do not want to bear or could not without facing financial ruin.