As an electrician, you’ll be very aware of the potential risks that electricity can pose for both you and your customers. If things go wrong, the consequences can be extremely serious. That’s why it’s so important to have public liability insurance and other specialist insurance in place.
What is public liability insurance for electricians?
Public liability insurance offers you cover in case a person is injured, or their property is damaged, as a result of your work.
If an accident happened, you could face a hefty compensation claim, as well as a court case involving potentially expensive legal fees. These claims can take time to work their way through the legal system, which means the legal bills alone could soon mount up.
A public liability insurance policy can help protect you financially, should you find yourself in this situation, and give you peace of mind that your business is protected.
Do you need public liability insurance if you’re an electrician?
UK law doesn’t require you to take out public liability insurance as an electrician or electrical contractor. But it’s wise to consider it.
As a registered electrician, you’ll already comply with safety regulations to ensure your work protects people from electric shocks and fire.
But accidents can happen. According to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) report Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain 2021, a total of nine fatal injuries occurred as a result of contact with electricity in the period 2020-2021.
Even the most skilled and experienced electricians can be vulnerable to litigation, so it could pay to be covered in the long run. It’s also worth considering that:
- Many people won’t hire you if you don’t have public liability cover. Local authorities usually ask for a minimum cover level of £5 million before you can tender for work.
- If you work as an electrical sub-contractor, you may find it very difficult to get hired by project managers and main contractors if you don’t have your own public liability policy.
What other types of cover do you need to consider when taking out electrician’s insurance?
As well as public liability, you can add the following to your specialist electrician’s insurance:
Employers' liability cover
If you employ people who aren’t direct family members – even if you only have one employee – you're required by UK law to have employers’ liability insurance. You can be fined £2,500 every day that you're not properly insured.
This cover protects you if an employee injures themselves or becomes ill as a result of working for you. You must get cover for at least £5 million.
According to the HSE, for the period 2019-2020, employers reported 65,427 non-fatal injuries to workers – and 693,000 non-fatal injuries were reported by workers themselves.
And remember, you must keep up to date with Health and Safety at Work regulations. If you don’t, it could invalidate your employers' liability insurance.
Tool and equipment cover
Electricians’ tools and testing equipment can be very expensive.
Tool and equipment cover can insure your work tools and equipment, so you can replace them quickly without it costing you more than your agreed policy excess.
Business interruption insurance
If you’re unable to operate for a period of time due to unforeseen circumstances, business interruption insurance could compensate you for lost profits while your business is out of action.
You might also want to consider:
- Professional indemnity insurance can help protect you if you make a mistake at work and have to compensate a customer.
- Van insurance can cover your van if you use one for your business.
- Commercial property insurance can protect your business premises.
- Home office insurance can be useful if you run your business from home.
What if I’m self-employed?
In addition to the above policy types, there are different types of cover to protect your income or business, so it’s worth considering which insurance type best suits you:
- Income protection insurance – can provide a replacement income if you’re ill or injured and unable to work.
- Critical illness insurance – a tax-free payment to help you financially if you have a serious illness or injury.
- Business life insurance – financial protection for your loved ones if you should die.
Frequently asked questions
What does electrician’s public liabiity insurance typically cover?
Public liability insurance could cover you or an employee against legal and compensation costs if you cause injury to someone else or damage to their property. For example:
- Your work causes an electrical fault that results in a fire in your customer’s house.
- A customer suffers an electric shock caused by faulty wiring done by you.
- A member of the public trips over cables you’ve left out on the pavement while working on a house nearby, and breaks their leg.
- You drop your toolbox and damage a customer’s oak flooring, which then needs to be repaired.
What insurance do I need if I'm an electrical sub-contractor?
As an electrical sub-contractor, you’ll normally be covered by the main contractor’s public liability insurance policy – as long as you’re working under their supervision. If you’re working independently, you’ll most likely need to arrange your own policy. Either way, you should check to see what insurance the main contractor has in place to make sure you’re adequately covered.
What insurance do I need if I'm an electrical contractor?
As a contractor, you’ll want public liability insurance. But it’s important to check the details of your policy carefully, to make sure you have an adequate level of cover. If you’re using sub-contractors, they’ll normally be covered under your policy too, assuming they’re working under your supervision. If not, check that they have their own insurance policy in place before you start working with them.
Is insurance tax deductable?
Yes. If you’re a self-employed electrician, you can claim back public liability and other types of business insurance when you file your self assessment tax return.
How much cover do I need?
It depends on the size of your business and how risky your work is. However, if you’re working on contracts for larger organisations like government and local authorities, you’ll need at least £5 million of public liability cover.
Trade bodies and associations may also insist on a minimum amount of cover, so check with them if you’re a member.
What else should I consider when taking out electrician’s public liability insurance?
When you take out electrician’s insurance, you should let your insurance provider know if there are any changes to your business that could affect your cover. For example:
- If your business expands – you’ll need to update your policy to ensure you have the right level of cover.
- If you employ staff – even an apprentice, you’ll need to take out employers’ liability insurance.
- If you move business premises – your policy will need to be updated and your premiums may change. For example, if you move to an area with a higher crime rate, you may need to pay more for your business contents insurance.
How can I find electricians’ insurance deals?
We’re here to help you find the right business insurance quotes to meet your needs, as quickly and as simply as possible.
Just give us a few details about your business and the type of cover you need, and we’ll provide you with a list of industry-specific deals, tailored to your business.
Get a quote today and help keep your business protected.
How much does electricians’ insurance cost?
The price of electricians’ insurance can vary greatly. Some of the main factors affecting cost are:
- The size of your business – annual turnover and number of employees
- The level of cover you want
- Your location
Other factors include:
- If you’ve claimed on your insurance previously
- The type of work you’re doing – whether it’s small jobs for private property owners or big, high-risk contracts for business owners
We can help you find the right public liability insurance by comparing quotes from leading business insurance providers, to find the cover you need at a price to suit you.
What do I need to get a quote?
To start comparing quotes, we’ll need a few details from you, including:
- Details of your trade and business, such as how long you’ve been in business and your annual turnover.
- Details of any people you employ, and whether you use any casual workers or contractors.
- The level of cover you need for public liability.
- Any additional cover you need, such as personal injury cover, tool insurance or commercial vehicle insurance.
- The specific risks relating to your business, including the type of premises you work in and any work-related safety issues.
Also, we’ll need a few personal details about you, unless you’ve compared with us before, in which case we can fill those in for you.Start a quote
Why use Compare the Market?
We take the legwork out of finding public liability insurance, by comparing quotes from a range of leading insurance providers.
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Business insurance expert
What our expert says
“Even for the professionals, working with electricity is extremely dangerous. Accidents can and do happen. For peace of mind, make sure you’re covered for a worst-case scenario with public liability insurance.”