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Employers Liability Insurance

Employers Liability Insurance is a type of insurance you need in place if you’re an employer in the UK. Employers Liability Insurance is not to be taken lightly – it’s mandatory in the vast majority of cases, and the penalties are serious for not having the right cover.

But don’t panic! Rhino is here to explain everything about Public Liability Insurance, from what it is, who needs it, and how to get it.


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Employers Liability Insurance is an insurance policy which exists to shield employers from the costs associated with claims made against them by their own employees. 

These claims can be for injury, illness or any damage to the employee’s property incurred while they’re carrying out their job.

An Employers Liability Insurance policy will also cover the death of an employee whilst performing duties for your business.

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worker and his employer


If you employ anyone in your business, the short answer is yes. There are one or two exceptions, which we will go into a little later.

By law, you should have Employers Liability Insurance cover in place as soon as you become an employer in the UK. Your policy must have a cover limit of at least £5M, and you must get your policy through an authorised insurer (like Rhino). 

So, if you have any employees, whether they are permanent, part-time, or temporary, it is most likely you will be legally required to hold Employers Liability Insurance.

Check out our list of exemptions further down the page to find out if you might be one of the few cases where Employers Liability Insurance isn’t a legal requirement.

It’s important to know that some customers won’t work with a tradesperson or contractor if they’re not covered by Employer’s Liability Insurance. So, even if it’s not a legal requirement, it could be a condition of your contract.

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  • Cover for £10M, meeting any statutory requirement
  • Optional cover for multiple trades/business activities
  • Option to purchase Tools in Transit cover and other great value add ons
  • Instant cover with documents immediately
  • Monthly or annual payment options
  • UK telephone support

Where can I get Employers Liability Insurance?

You’re in the right place.

Rhino Trade Insurance offers Employers Liability Insurance as an add-on to our hugely popular Public Liability Insurance – which is another vitally important policy for any self-employed tradesperson. Public Liability Insurance offers tradespeople financial protection against claims brought about by third parties other than employees. These include customers, suppliers, staff in other businesses and members of the public.

Rhino’s Public Liability Insurance and Employers Liability Insurance quotes are some of the most competitive on the market, and when you take out your insurance with us you’ll benefit from comprehensive, low-cost cover as well as the outstanding Rhino customer experience we’re famous for.

You can take out your Public Liability Insurance and Employers Liability Insurance online. Simply add a few details into our quick quote engine, and you will see your personalised price. If you’d like to go ahead and get covered, you can have your documents sent to your inbox immediately, and you’ll be protected in an instant.

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What does Employers Liability Insurance do?

When an employee has an accident, becomes ill or injured or has their property damaged as a result of their job, there are costs associated with this. These costs are generally made up of damages and compensation fees to be paid to the injured party, as well as things like court costs. It obviously wouldn’t be fair to make the employee bear these costs themselves, as the accident, illness, injury or property damage has been incurred in the line of duty.

So, the responsibility for these costs falls on the employer. This is where the Employers Liability Insurance comes in – it means that the employer won’t have to pay out of their own pocket either. The insurer is the one to pay the employee on the Employers behalf should anything happen.

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What happens if I don’t have Employers Liability Insurance?

You will be hit with fines of £2,500 per uninsured day if you go without Employers Liability Insurance

You also need to make sure your certificate is readily available to view at your place of business, too. Failure to present your certificate when asked by inspectors will result in a £1000 fine.


OK, so you’d like to know if you might be exempt from needing Employers Liability Insurance? Let’s look at the exemptions.

  • You don’t employ anyone

It sounds obvious, but you don’t need Employers Liability Insurance if you’re not an employer. Instead, as a self-employed tradesperson, you’ll need a basic Public Liability Insurance policy, and then you can build up a policy bundle to suit your business needs around this core cover. 

  • You run a family business

If your business employs only immediate family members (such as your spouse, children, parents or siblings), then you don’t need Employers Liability Insurance by law. 

  • You’re a company director

If you’re a limited company director, then you’re technically an employee. However, if you’re the owner and director of a limited company (holding at least 50% of the shares) as well as its sole employee, then you don’t need Employers Liability Insurance by law.

  • You only employ independent contractors

If you only employ self-employed bona-fide contractors (self-employed and with their own tools) then you won’t normally need Employers Liability Insurance for them as they technically work for themselves. This can be a grey area so feel free to pick up the phone to Rhino and we’ll go through your questions.

  • Your employees don’t reside in the UK

 Now, this is unlikely to affect tradespeople (it’s not like you can build a house or repair an electrical circuit from another country) but it’s worth knowing that if your employees are all based abroad then this is another exemption to needing Employers Liability Insurance.

Still not sure?

If you are still unsure of your legal obligations to carry Employers Liability Insurance, the HSE provides some guidance here.  Alternatively, contact the friendly trade insurance experts at Rhino to have a chat about your unique circumstances. 

Do I need to tell employees about this insurance?

Yes, your employees should know they’re covered under your Employers Liability Policy. 

You should display your certificate in full view on your business premises, or have it to hand whenever requested. You can be fined £2,500 for every day you’re not insured and a £1000 fine if you don’t produce your policy certificate when requested by Health & Safety Executive inspectors.

Do you need Employers Liability Insurance for a limited company?

If you have a limited company which has any employees, then you need Employer’s Liability Insurance to cover them. 

However, if you’re the director of a limited company that only employs you, then you don’t need Employer’s Liability Insurance.

Do you need Employers Liability Insurance for apprentices?

For legal purposes, apprentices are considered employees. This means that you’ll need Employer’s Liability cover even if you only hire one apprentice.

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Below are some examples that may be covered under an Employers Liability Policy

  • A roofer working for a company suffers serious injuries after scaffolding collapses onto them. The employer’s insurance will cover the cost of their claim, including rehabilitation costs and lost income due to time off work.
  • A carpenter’s employee was asked to use a machine they weren’t trained on. They injure themselves, and they make a successful claim for compensation against their employer, which Employer’s Liability Insurance pays out.
  • An apprentice slips on a wet floor and hurts their back on a job site. Their employer’s EL Insurance covers their missed wages while they’re recovering.
  • A group of employees contract E.Coli from a filthy work fridge. They make claims against the employer for damages, which their insurance covers.
  • One employee accidentally harms another through shoddy work while working for an electrical contractor. The injured party makes a claim against the employer for the employee’s negligent actions, and the employer’s insurance pays them compensation.

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Policy Docs

Employers Liability Insurance FAQs

Employers’ Liability Insurance protects businesses against the associated costs of an employee making a claim against your company due to injury or property damage. This type of insurance is important for any business to protect both employees welfare and your own livelihood.
Employers’ Liability Insurance will cover you if an employee makes a claim against you for costs and compensation that you are found liable for, up to your chosen limit of indemnity.
Please note that Rhino amazing low-cost Employer’s Liability Insurance can only be purchased alongside our popular Public Liability Insurance – another absolute must-have policy for tradespeople.
If you have an employee, whether they are permanent, part time, or temporary, it is likely you will be legally required to hold Employer’s Liability Insurance. It is not legally required if you are the sole employee of your limited company and own at least 50% of the shares. It may also not be required if you are not an incorporated business and employ only close family members. If you are unsure of your legal obligations to carry Employer’s Liability Insurance, the HSE provide some guidance here.
Employer’s Liability Insurance covers an employer should one of their employees make a claim against them for accident, injury, illness or property damage. In such cases, the employer is likely to be found liable for costs, damages and compensation.

The employer will have to pay up, which is where Employer’s Liability Insurance steps in. The employer will make a claim on their Employer’s Liability Insurance, so it will be the insurer – not them – who foots the bill.
Yes. If you are an employer in the UK, you need Employer’s Liability Insurance. There are a few exceptions – for example if you only employ close family members, or you are the only employee of your own limited company. Another exemption is if you only employ independent contractors.

Be careful with this last one. Independent contractors are generally considered to be bona fide contractors if they work for themselves and are self-employed. Double check if you’re not sure – you don’t want to fall foul of HMRC’s IR35 rules.
Employer’s Liability Insurance is so important because it offers protection to employee should they experience an accident, illness or other harm as a result of working for someone else.

Without it, businesses would have to pay out of their own pockets whenever an employee made a claim. And not all businesses would be able to come up with the sum required to put things right, which would leave the employee in a bad position (as well as the employer potentially bankrupted).

You might think claims aren’t particularly common, but that’s not true. There were nearly 90,000 employer’s liability claims lodged in 2018/19 (the latest statistics published).
It is required from the same day you become an employer. Going even one day uninsured will result in some large fines from HMRC – up to £2,500 per day.

Given that Rhino’s EL cover starts at just £6.07 per month there really is no excuse not to have it in place.
A slip, a trip, a fall from height, inhaling nasty chemicals or dust, or even being attacked by a co-worker. Any of these things could happen in the hazardous trade industry.

This is why employers need to have Employer’s Liability Insurance in place, to cover the costs associated with these types of work-related incidents.

If you’re an employer, you don’t want the constant threat of claims from current or even former employees hanging over your head. This is why having a good level of EL cover in place is vital (the law stipulates a £5M minimum indemnity limit). This goes to cover things like legal fees, compensation and damages should the claim against your business be successful.
By law, businesses in the UK are required to have cover of at least £5 million. Although depending on the type of work the business carries out, an employer may be required to carry a higher limit.

To work out how much insurance you need, it is a good idea to think about the type of activity you carry out and assess how much a serious claim could cost you.

Having cover provides reassurance and peace of mind as the cost of defending your business against a liability claim could be extremely damaging to your business, especially for those who are just starting out.
Employer’s liability insurance covers you against claims made by your employees, whether they are temporary or permanent, and others you may have employed such as work experience students. However, Public liability insurance covers you for claims made by clients, members of the public or others on your site against damages or injury.
Through Rhino!

We offer Employers Liability Insurance at great competitive rates as an add-on to our hugely popular Public Liability Insurance.

Still got Employer’s Liability Insurance Questions? Call Rhino today on 0116 350 1553 and our friendly team will answer anything you can throw at us. If you’d rather, start a live chat with one of our team now or drop us a message.

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