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A Guide to Tradesman Insurance

Rhino Trade Insurance 01 August 2022

Whether you lay bricks, fix guttering, rewire houses, draw up designs, fit carpets – or work in practically any other trade out there – Rhino Trade Insurance is here to assist you in finding the best trade insurance for your business. 

Trade insurance provides a safety net to self-employed tradespeople so if something unfortunate happens, you and your business won’t take the financial hit.

In an industry rife with hazards, you need insurance cover that’s comprehensive and clear. You don’t have time to plough through confusing policies, waste time on hold and decode legal jargon. Time is money when you work for yourself – and here at Rhino we know that.


So, what is Tradesman Insurance?

Working in the trades comes with a higher level of risk than an office job.

Just consider the dangers for a moment:

  • Noise – power tools, machinery and vehicles 
  • Electricity – whether you’re a sparky by trade or not
  • Height – working at height equals danger
  • Heat – from machinery and working outside in summer (yes, even in the UK)
  • Trips & slips – even the safest site has obstacles aplenty
  • Hazardous materials – lead, solvents, cement, paints and glues
  • Dust – from bricks, sanding and sawing

We’re not ones to be negative, but there’s even more to worry about as a tradesperson:

  • Tool theft – common and on the increase
  • Work vehicle theft – could you work without your van?
  • Public liability claims – you’re on the hook if a third party takes legal action
  • Employee claims – if a subcontractor is injured, guess where the buck stops?
  • Tax enquiries – HMRC could come knocking and open a costly case
  • Mistakes – errors in your work or bad advice could mean a client sues 

We think you get the picture. As a self-employed tradesperson, you’re going to need a safety net, and that’s exactly what trade insurance is.

Trade insurance isn’t a single policy you take out. Instead, there are a range of bespoke policies which cover specific aspects of tradie life. From van theft, legal expenses, personal accident cover and public liability, trade insurance provides a financial safeguard should anything happen to get in the way of you making that hard-earned living.

Think of it like your toolkit. Each tool does a different job. You might not use all your tools every day – but you know that when you do need them, they’re to hand.

And if you need another tool? Just call Rhino – we’ve got everything you need.


Who needs Tradesman Insurance?

Absolutely anyone who works in the trades needs trade insurance. 

At Rhino, the trade insurance experts, we work with men and women from hundreds of different trades. As well as plumbers, roofers, carpet fitters, window cleanerstilers, scaffolders, carpenters, joiners, pipe fitters and plasterers; we also provide cover for self-employed tailors, potters, chefs, locksmiths, gardeners, chimney sweeps and many more. 

In fact, you name the trade, and we'll likely have cover for it. 

Our Tradesman Insurance is carefully designed to suit each individual trade. Unlike other insurers, Rhino’s policies are handpicked by people who know what your job consists of day-to-day and as a result, exactly where you need protection. 

At Rhino, we’re passionate about insuring tradespeople. Don’t judge us – but it’s our thing. We think it’s so important for people who work in the trades in the UK to understand their insurance needs and get the right cover in place, saving them from a devastating financial blow down the line.


Types of Insurance available for Tradesmen

As a tradesperson, there’s quite a menu of insurance types to choose from.

Don’t feel overwhelmed, though. Insurance shouldn’t be a burden. It’s there to protect you and your stuff from financial harm should anything happen. 

Here is a quick overview of what we offer:

  • Public Liability Insurance & Employers' Liability Insurance: Our most popular types of insurance. This cover will protect you if there is damage, injury or accidental death to a third party in the course of your business – whether a member of the public or someone you’ve hired. 
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance: If you offer guidance, advice or designs as part of your service, you could be open to a claim should this information be wrong and the customer incurs costs as a result. 
  • Contractors' All Risks Insurance: Cover that will pay you up to the entire contract value of your project if something (e.g. fire or vandalism) happens to write off the work you’ve already completed. Further, this covers any plants and machinery you and any employees own or have rented for the job, too. 
  • Legal Expenses Insurance: For self-employed contractors who face legal action, legal expenses insurance will cover the cost of your legal defence to ensure you’re not bankrupted in the process. 
  • Tools Insurance: If something happens to the tools of your trade, this policy will cover the cost of their replacement. This includes damage and theft, so you can sleep easy at night knowing they’re protected.
  • Gadget Insurance: In our digital age, you most likely conduct a lot of your business through laptops, smartphones and PDAs. If you work for a big company, they’ll replace them if anything happens. For self-employed tradespeople, gadget insurance is the best option. 
  • Tax Enquiry Insurance:  If HMRC decide to open an enquiry against you, you’ll need to find the money to bring in the professionals. This handy cover can finance accountants, solicitors and lawyers to help you fight your corner.
  • Personal Accident and Income Protection: Doing exactly what it says on the tin, this is essential cover for anyone who is self-employed. Can't work due to an injury or off for an extended period of time from sickness? Don't fret. Get paid and cover any costs you have with this insurance. 


Do I need insurance as a self-employed tradesperson?

Going without insurance as a self-employed tradesperson would be extremely risky.

Life will always throw us curveballs, whether that’s an injury, a car accident, an illness, a theft, property damage, lost gadgets, a fire or an unexpected call from the taxman. These things are unfortunately part of life, but without a big company watching your back, a tradesperson is on their own when it comes to dealing with the fallout.

Remember, those who spend their working lives as employees benefit from things like sick pay, paid holidays and protection from public liability claims. What’s more, those who are office-based have whole departments dedicated to making their working lives more comfortable. PC and furniture modifications, specialist ergonomic equipment and wellness benefits are all things that desk-based workers can easily access.

Life in the trades is different. It comes with core risks, which can’t be entirely avoided. However, you owe it to yourself, your family, your employees and your clients to do everything in your power to protect yourself against the financial ramifications should anything happen.


Do I need employer’s liability insurance?

If you employ anyone in almost any capacity, the answer is yes.

Employer’s Liability Insurance helps cover the costs of paying compensation to employees of yours should they become ill or get injured as a result of working for you.

If you’re operating as a Limited Company, you must be covered as soon as you hire anyone, and your policy must be for at least £5 million. You can be fined £2500 per day if you don’t have cover in place (that would add up pretty quickly!)

There are a few exclusions when it comes to Employer’s Liability Insurance, including:

  • Small family businesses where the staff are all closely related
  • A business where the only employee is the majority owner
  • Businesses where the staff work abroad.

At Rhino, we like to make things simple and straightforward for our customers. That’s why Employer’s Liability Insurance is usually combined with Public Liability Insurance as add-on cover.

Speaking of Public Liability Insurance…


should I get Public Liability Insurance?

For a snip starting at £6.07 a month? What do you think?!

Seriously though, there are so many reasons to get Public Liability Insurance as a self-employed tradesperson. But the main reason is that it will save you an absolute fortune if (or when) someone brings a claim against you for injury or damage associated with your business.

Think it won’t happen to you? Think again. There are over 800,000 personal injury claims made in the UK every year, and they’re not all made to the big corporations who can afford to settle the case for a tidy sum. 

Many of these claims are made against small businesses and one-man (or woman) enterprises who don’t have the cash reserves to pay out compensation to members of the public. 

It’s not just personal injury that Public Liability Insurance covers. If your apprentice reverses into someone’s Ferrari in the work van, we doubt if the owner will smile and say, “No harm done!” 

In cases like these, Public Liability Insurance will save the day, and quite possibly, your apprentice’s life.

There’s another big reason to get covered ASAP. Many clients and even subcontractors won’t work with you unless you have it. Don’t blame them, though - they see it as too risky. A tradesperson without insurance is exposed to compo claims from everyone and their dog, and if a claim is brought they don’t want to be dragged down with you! 

The bottom line is this – as a small business or sole trader, you simply can’t afford not to have Public Liability Insurance in place.


Is public liability insurance a legal requirement?

No, the law doesn’t require you to have Public Liability Insurance. Think about it, there’s no law against paying for claims out of your own pocket as and when they happen, which some people still think is the cheaper option.

This is clearly not the case. Consider the cover limits of Public Liability Insurance, and how high they are. For example, Rhino’s Public Liability Insurance can cover you up to a limit of £5 million. We didn’t pick that number out of the air – some public liability cases really do cost that much. 

Not only this, Public Liability Insurance lets your customers know that you’re trustworthy and responsible, and if something goes wrong on-site, you will have the cover to fix it. 

It’s worth noting that local councils and some trade bodies won't hire you unless you have a certain level of Public Liability Insurance, which is yet another incentive to get it immediately if you’re not already a policy holder.


What does public liability insurance cost?

Here’s a quick-fire guide to Rhino Trade Insurance’s Public Liability cover.

  • Low cost

Our protection starts at just £6.07 per month. Each tradesperson or small business receives their own personalised quote, which depends on things like your business size, numbers of employees, annual turnover, business activities and company structure.

Generally, the larger the business and the higher the turnover, the higher the monthly premiums will be. But you can take our word for it – you won’t find cover as good as ours any cheaper.

  • High limits

We offer Public Liability Insurance limits up to £5 million if needed. OK, this is the high end of the sliding scale of claim costs, but do not underestimate how expensive defending a public liability claim can be. If you cause serious injury or accidental death in your line of work, the cost to you really will run into the millions.

Again, factors including business size will influence the cover limit, which starts at £1 million.

  • Standard excess

We have a basic one-off excess of £500 on every claim, even if it’s into the millions of pounds. 

There is one exception which is if the claim arises specifically from the use of heat, such as in the case of heating engineers and other relevant trades.

  • No admin fees

Rhino offers a whole toolkit of insurance policies designed especially for your trade. If you choose to add on another policy to your package at some point down the line, we won’t charge you admin fees for the privilege. 

  • Interest-free monthly payments 

Some insurers charge their customers interest each and every month when they pay for their premiums on a monthly basis. Why, you ask? To make more money from you of course!

At Rhino, we think this is silly and we don’t do it. So, if you’d rather pay monthly for your insurance rather than annually, you don’t get punished with rolling interest fees. You pay a flat one-off fee of £14 to arrange the direct debit, the quoted monthly premium price and nothing more.

  • Quick and easy

It’s quick to organise cover with Rhino. Just fill out our short online quote engine, select your policy terms and get covered the very same day. You can do it in your lunch break and have the documents and insurance certificates in your inbox by the time you pick up your tools for the afternoon.

If you’d rather chat, just ping us a message using the chat function on our website, or call our friendly UK-based team on 0116 243 7904. We talk insurance all day long, and again, don’t judge us, but we enjoy it.


Anything else I need to know?

When you take out cover with us, you’ll be sent your Policy document and Schedule of Insurance. You should read these documents carefully. You have 14 days after taking out your policy to change your mind, (known as the ‘cooling-off period’) and you’ll get a refund of anything you’ve already paid.

Getting a quote with us couldn't be easier. It will take you less than 60 seconds. All we ask is that you provide us with a few details about your set-up, including:

  • your turnover
  • how many people you employ
  • what level of cover you need
  • your trade. 

From this, we’ll send you your quote.

That just about covers it. Now that you know what Tradesman Insurance is, why not grab your next quote online? Like we say, you will be done in just under a minute. 

If you would rather speak to a member of our UK-based team, just give us a call on 0116 243 7904 to find out more. 

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