Why do I need sole trader liability insurance?
Everyone who works for themselves should have some level of insurance protection but sole trader liability insurance is particularly crucial as there is no other safety net against losing everything if a client or third party decides to sue you.
Even if you work for yourself part-time, you should absolutely consider protecting yourself against being sued. Remember as a sole trader you don’t have the protection of an LTD status and if things with your clients get really out of hand, you could be facing a very stressful situation.
Sole trader professional indemnity insurance
This is a specialist cover designed for professionals who lend their skills and expertise to solve problems for their clients.
Sole trader professional indemnity insurance will provide legal defence paid for by the insurers if you find yourself facing a client accusing you of a costly mistake. And if it comes to it and you’re asked to pay compensation, the insurance will cover it.
Do sole traders need professional indemnity insurance?
Your profession could be manual or non manual and in quite a wide range of industries. When deciding whether this cover is for you, it’s important to consider whether what you do could have a negative financial impact on your client.
With some professions, it's easy to determine whether PI cover would be beneficial. If an accountant makes a mistake, it could cost a client a fine by the HMRC. Others are less obvious, such as hairdressers. And yet if as a hairdresser you recommend certain treatments or products to your clients, you are at risk of being blamed if something goes wrong.
Sole trader public liability insurance
This is the cover sole traders will first think of when considering business insurance. However, just like there is a case for buying other insurances, you also need to consider your work circumstances before opting for sole trader public liability insurance.
Public liability insurance is also a legal cover, meaning it will provide you with legal defence and possible compensation payouts to the damaged party. A damaged party could be your client or a third party claiming that you have caused them an injury or property damage.
Do I need public liability insurance as a sole trader?
If during the course of your work you have physical contact with your clients, their property or any other third parties, then you are likely to be a candidate for public liability insurance.
Public liability claims are quite common and legal fees often run into thousands. Don’t leave yourself exposed. It could be the smallest thing that gives rise to a substantial claim against you. Here are some very common scenarios:
- A customer trips and falls over equipment that was left out in the open by a sole trader. The customer suffers an injury and makes a claim for compensation.
- A painter accidentally spills paint on a client's expensive rug, causing damage that requires professional cleaning or replacement.
- An electrician accidentally damages a customer's electrical appliance while working on their property, resulting in the customer making a claim for the cost of repairing or replacing the appliance.
- A plumber accidentally damages a client's water pipe while fixing another issue, causing water damage to the property and resulting in a claim for compensation.
- A landscaper's equipment damages a neighbour's car while working on a project next to the neighbour's property, resulting in a claim for the cost of repairing the damage.
Sole trader employers liability insurance
This is a cover often asked about by sole traders. Just because you are a sole trader doesn’t mean you are not required to have this cover.
Firstly employers’ liability is yet another legal cover which offers legal protection if you’re accused by one of your employees of causing them harm at work. The cover will also payout any compensation if due.
The important thing to note about employers’ liability insurance is that it is, in certain circumstances, required by law and you need to understand whether you fall within the defined categories. You could be facing a fine if you’re not compliant.
Do I need employers liability insurance as a sole trader?
If you always work alone then you’re in the clear and don’t have to worry about this cover. However, anyone employing staff, using volunteers and subcontractors should check the government guidelines.
Tools and business equipment insurance
As a sole trader you rely on the use of your own equipment. This could be anything from a laptop to something more specialised.
Sometimes items get dropped or can be lost. The immediate cost of replacement or repair may not be something you want to be exposed to if an accident happens. Tools and business equipment insurance can be a useful way of reducing the unforeseen costs.
Sole trader income protection
Sole traders, by definition, rely on themselves for income and therefore are a lot more at risk of financial hardship in the event of a serious illness or accident.
Sole trader Income protection insurance can be a welcome safety net during those times. It is often judged as too expensive and a lot of sole traders would rather not pay the premium but with certain modern age illnesses on the increase, this could be a false economy. You don’t always have to buy cover that matches your monthly earnings exactly. You can buy just what you need to help with the most pressing outgoings, should you ever find yourself in that situation.
Personal accident insurance
As the name suggests this is a cover that will provide a quick financial injection when you suffer a serious accident.
It is likely to stop you from working immediately and so can be very useful to have a backup plan of this type. Personal accident cover provides a one off quick payment to bridge over the worst and it is usually very inexpensive cover.
Sole trader life insurance
If you are working for yourself, you are not receiving any employee benefits such as death in service benefit. Therefore protecting your loved ones against the worse is that much more critical.
No one wants to think about the worst but if you are a sole trader with a family, it’s essential to consider what would happen to them.
In fact it can be helpful to talk your situation through a life insurance specialist whether or not you buy. They can take you through all the options and, if you decide to go down that route, help you design the cover to protect your family.