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Do I Need Public Liability Insurance As A Cleaner?

Rhino Trade Insurance 23 May 2024

For cleaners working for themselves in the UK, Cleaners Public Liability Insurance from Rhino is the invisible shield you need with you on every job. You can’t see this silent powerhouse, but Public Liability Insurance could save your entire livelihood if it comes to the crunch. So, don’t skip this – read on to get the lowdown. 

The Growing Demand for Cleaning Services 

In the UK, the cleaning industry is a huge sector worth around £59bn, with SMEs (small or medium sized enterprises) taking up a significant chunk of the market.  

This might seem huge, but that’s because the sector is diverse, comprising sub-sectors like household cleaning, facilities management, landscape services, and waste management. If we’re talking just about household cleaners alone, they contribute around £1bn in worth to the UK economy. Still, that’s a lot of Mr Muscle!

The cleaning sector has grown by around 1/5th since 2013 according to official statistics. What’s driving this growth, you may ask? The pandemic factor is a big one – since the dreaded virus swept our land, it makes sense that people want things as clean as possible, without a germ in sight.

Fascinating though the cleaning market may be, we’re here to talk about insurance. It’s sort of our thing. Rhino’s task today is to share with you why insurance so important, why it’s sometimes overlooked, and why YOU should never find yourself operating without it.

Risks of the Job: What Can Go Wrong

We don’t like to play pessimist here at Rhino, but we must get real sometimes. It’s an unfortunate reality for anyone who works in the cleaning industry that jobs can go wrong, and people can get hurt. This is why it’s so important to stay protected. 

Let’s look at some of the key risks that cleaners face.

Sprains and strains: Lifting heavy objects and equipment, containers, furniture, and bins can cause personal injuries to you and your staff.

Slips and trips: Wet floors, spilled cleaning fluid and trailing wires can send unsuspecting folk flying – leading to physical harm for you and your team, plus unfortunate random passers-by.

Falls from height: Perching on stepladders, benches and chairs to complete cleaning tasks can be very dangerous and lead to serious injuries.

Chemical exposure: Bleach, ammonia, and other elements found in your average cleaning product can play havoc with your health if not handled properly. These components can also damage furniture, clothing, and fixtures. 

Harming property: Working in and around private homes, public spaces and business environments means you’re always running the risk of causing accidental damage to your surroundings. This could be anything from a cleaning product spillage to causing a fire.

Harming someone: Your business activities could cause someone else to have an accident or incur an injury. Despite following every health and safety precaution, this is always a risk and an unfortunate reality of operating a cleaning company. 

Real-Life Incidents: The Need for Comprehensive Coverage

Let’s take a look at a couple of real-life situations where cleaning companes have found themselves on the sticky end of a legal claim. 

Remember, these are just cases which made the news. Countless more are playing out as we speak up and down the UK, where cleaning companies find themselves settling claims against them (and thanking their lucky stars they got insured). 

  • Priceless research lost through cleaner’s blunder

A cleaner working for a company in New York was cleaning a university laboratory when he silenced an annoying alarm coming from a freezer. In the process, he switched off the freezer and destroyed two decades of priceless research. This mistake led to the university suing the cleaner’s employer for an undisclosed sum. 

  • Fire started – but who was to blame?

A restaurant in Guernsey suffered a catastrophic fire after the cleaning company they had contracted failed to adequately clean the extractor duct system. As you can imagine, a court battle ensued, with the restaurant seeking significant damages against the cleaning company.

Public Liability Insurance: A Cleaner's Safety Net

When you have your own cleaning business, plenty of things can go wrong. Protecting yourself from the most common risks you face is crucial – and this is where Public Liability Insurance comes in. 

Whether you’re a sole trader cleaner working alone, or the director of a limited company with several staff, Public Liability Insurance is the core cover you need. Public Liability Insurance protects cleaning companies against third-party claims for property damage or bodily injury. So, if someone trips over your vaccum cleaner wire, goes flying across a freshly-mopped floor or collides with a cleaning trolley, there’ll almost certain be a compensation claim to follow. This is hardly suprising, as the injured party will want their lost income, suffering, inconvenience and costs to be covered by the person at fault – you. So, you’re going to need to call upon your Public Liability Insurance to smoothly settle the claim without you having to dip into your own finances.  

Further, if you (or one of your employees) damages someone’s property (either belonging to a customer or a third party), Public Liability Insurance will once again step in to save the day. 

Generally, commercial contracts will stipulate that you must have Public Liability Insurance as a condition of the job. Most private customers will need assurance that you’re covered by this protection, too, as they won’t want to take the risk that you won’t be able to put things right if anything happened on the job. 

Tailored Insurance Solutions for Cleaners by Rhino Trade Insurance

Rhino are the trade insurance experts, so we have tailored a package of insurance specifically for self-employed cleaners, and those running their own cleaning businesses in the UK. 

Rhino’s customisable insurance solution for cleaners has our fantastic Public Liability Insurance at its core. This cover is packed with great benefits, including:

  • Comprehensive cover for third-party accidents and property damage 
  • Choice of cover limits up to £10million
  • Instant cover – documents emailed to you immediately
  • Range of low-cost add-on policies including Employer’s Liability Insurance
  • Monthly or annual payment options at no extra charge
  • UK telephone support from a friendly, expert team.

In addition to your market-leading Public Liability Insurance, you can choose to add more valuable policies at a low cost. Our collection of tradesperson coverage includes:

  • Personal Accident Insurance
  • Income Protection Insurance
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Tax Enquiry Insurance
  • Legal Expenses Insurance
  • Tools in Transit Insurance
  • Van Insurance

The Benefits of Being Insured: Beyond Financial Protection

Being covered by Public Liability Insurance (and other policies) not only safeguards your own finances, but it has other benefits, too. Being fully insured builds trust with potential customers and boosts your overall reputation and credibility within your industry. Your insurance status should be shouted from the rooftops, as it will reassure clients of your professionalism and commitment to safety. 

This will give you a real competitive advantage and will likely mean you’ll be chosen for jobs over a dodgy uninsured cleaner every time.

Assessing Your Coverage Needs: A Guide for Cleaners

The amount of insurance cover you need will be in line with the level of risk your business faces. So, what’s the best way to determine this? 

You should consider the following:

  • The size of your business

Larger operations carry out more work and the jobs may be more extensive. This means you carry extra risk and must be protected accordingly.

  • The number of employees you have

If you employ anyone, expect to need a higher level of coverage than solo operators. This is because extra staff come with extra risk, which must be covered by adequete insurance. 

  • The services you offer

If you’re offering services which carry increased levels of danger, such as cleaning at height or using highly dangerous solvents, then your insurance coverage will need to be higher to reflect the enhanced risks you and your employees face. 

  • Your turnover

Again, the more work you carry out and the more money your company makes, the higher the inherent risk. This will be reflected in a higher need for insurance coverage, and higher premiums. 

  • Your experience and claims history

Just like with car insurance, if you’re an accident-prone rookie, you might see your insurance needs go up. 

  • Changes to your business

Your business will almost certainly go through changes over its years in operation, from structural changes to scaling of your operations. Similarly, you may hire and fire employees, and invest in expensive new equipment. It’s crucial to let your insurer know each time you make a significant change to your business, as you risk invalidating your coverage otherwise.

The very best way to determine the level of insurance your business may need? Talk to Rhino. We’re the experts, after all. Give us a call on 0116 350 1551. Or, you can check out our online quote generator to get an idea of the level and types of coverage you need to protect your business.

Financial liabilities due to unforeseen incidents are something every businessperson must plan for. Don’t find yourself wishing you had a time machine – get comprehensive insurance coverage sorted today. 


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