19th March, 2014

Public liability insurance: What you need to know

Accidents do happen and whether you are to blame or not, you could find yourself on the wrong side of a compensation claim.

Public liability insurance is designed to protect you from these incidents by ensuring you are adequately covered against potentially expensive legal proceedings.

Due to the nature of building work, public liability insurance is particularly critical. Construction can be a dangerous job and the risk of personal injury or property damage is very real.

However, not all policies are the same and if your public liability insurance isn't fit for purpose, you could find you are not protected under certain circumstances should something go wrong.

All policies have conditions and exclusions that limit or – in worst-case scenarios – exclude you from cover. For example, many policies do not provide protection if you work with asbestos or carry out jobs over a certain height.

Other common exclusions include digging, excavation and welding work. This makes it crucial that you do your research and read the small print before agreeing to a public liability insurance policy.

Some public liability claims may be fairly minor – you may be at a client's site and spill coffee on a laptop or drop a piece of machinery. However, serious bodily injury claims could be much more expensive.

The number of claims reaching millions of dollars is on the rise, which could put your personal assets at risk should you not have a high enough insurance limit to cover the complaint.

If now is the time to review your level of cover for public liability insurance, make sure to find a tailored package suited to your specific requirements as a tradesman.

Trades Insurance is a leading tradies insurance broker that offers a range of bespoke policies to people working in the construction industry.

Author: Murray Bruce