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What our Nerds say about electrician insurance

KRISTINA

BUSINESS NERD

Working with electricity can be dangerous, so it’s important to think about how electrician insurance may be able to protect you, your employees and your business.

Despite everyone’s best efforts, accidents do happen – and they can prove costly. Electricians’ public liability insurance can help protect your business against legal fees and compensation payments if someone is injured as a result of your work.

There are also policies that cover property damage, financial loss, theft of materials or tools, and negligence claims. You can find out more about these policies below and how to adapt your electrician insurance to fit the needs of your business and get the level of cover you want.

What is electrician insurance?

Electrician insurance is an umbrella term for the range of different cover options you may need as an electrician.

Public liability insurance for electricians

Electricians’ public liability insurance covers you if a member of the public is injured because of your work – for example, if a client got an electric shock from an exposed wire. It also covers you for damage caused to someone else’s property by you or your employees.

Although electricians don’t legally need to have public liability insurance, you should consider whether you would be able to afford any legal costs and compensation if someone did make a claim against you.

Some clients may also request that you have public liability insurance as a condition of hiring you. Similarly, if you want to join an electricians’ association, you may need to prove that you have a minimum level of insurance before you are allowed to become a member.

» COMPARE: Public liability insurance

Employers’ liability insurance for electricians

Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement if you employ someone outside your family who lives in the UK. This can cover the costs of medical fees and compensation if an employee gets injured or becomes ill as a result of their work. As an employer, not having this insurance is illegal, and you could be fined £2,500 for each day you do not have it.

» COMPARE: Employers’ liability insurance

Additional insurance options for electricians

If a client accused you of being negligent or of giving poor advice, professional indemnity insurance could protect you. It may cover any legal fees and compensation if your client suffered financial losses as a result of your work – for example, if they had to hire another electrician to fix a mistake made by you or an employee.

Personal accident insurance could cover medical fees if you get injured, or die, as a result of an accident either at work or elsewhere. For example, if you injure yourself while installing new wiring in a client’s house and your injury prevents you from working, you may get a lump sum or a weekly payment to cover your lost income.

If your tools are stolen, replacing them could be an unexpected expense with a potentially significant impact on your business’s finances. Tools and equipment insurance could cover the cost of replacements if yours are stolen.

Similarly, if your materials are stolen or damaged while you’re at a job, stock insurance could pay out so you could replace them. For example, if a fire ruined the wiring you were yet to install at a client’s house.

Whether you use your own plant or hire from someone else, you may want to consider plant insurance. It could cover the repair or replacement costs of plant you own or plant you’ve hired if it’s accidentally damaged while you’re responsible for it.

Some projects may take a while to complete. If there was a flood or fire halfway through, you could be left out of pocket. Contract works insurance, also called Contractors All Risk insurance, could pay out to cover the cost of the materials and labour needed to get your project back on track.

Do I need electrician insurance?

As an electrician, employers’ liability insurance is a legal necessity if you’re employing someone who lives in the UK who isn’t part of your family. You need to have a policy that provides at least £5 million in cover.

If one of your employees was injured or became unwell as a result of their work, this policy would cover their medical costs if necessary, as well as any compensation payments they may be entitled to.

While you don’t legally need to take out insurance if you are a sole trader, you may still want to consider it.

Imagine a client has asked you to install a light fitting on a ceiling. You leave your ladder out while you go for lunch, and in the meantime your client trips over the ladder and suffers an injury. Public liability insurance could pay out for their compensation if they decided to make a claim against you.

If a client followed your advice and lost money as a result, they may make a negligence claim against you. For example, if you told a client that their wiring was safe, but soon after a large electrical fire caused thousands of pounds worth of damage in their house. Professional indemnity insurance could pay for your legal fees, as well as compensation payments to cover their financial loss.

» COMPARE: Professional indemnity insurance

If your materials were stolen while you were on a job, you could face delays and out of pocket costs while sourcing replacements. Stock and material insurance may be able to cover the cost of new materials.

Even if insurance isn’t mandatory for your electrician business, there are instances where it may prove useful to have cover if something goes wrong.

What does electrician insurance cover?

Electrician insurance covers a range of policies that may be relevant to your business. An electrician insurance package can often be adapted to fit your specific needs, so you only pay for the cover you want.

Below, we look at what can usually be included in electrician insurance and what may be excluded or available to purchase separately.

What is usually included in electrician insurance?

Electrician insurance usually includes some or all of:

  • public liability insurance
  • professional indemnity insurance
  • tools and equipment insurance
  • stock and materials insurance
  • plant insurance – either your own or hired
  • personal accident insurance
  • employers’ liability insurance (if necessary)
  • contract works insurance

If you are considering taking out a set package, you should check that the policies included are suitable for your business. You may be able to add extra policies or increased levels of cover to suit your needs.

Otherwise, you can work with an insurer to create a tailored set of policies for your business.

What isn’t usually included in electrician insurance?

As you can choose what is included in your electrician insurance, it is generally up to you what is and is not included. You should think about whether you would be able to pay for costs up front if you did not cover them through your insurance.

For example, if you did not take out electricians’ public liability insurance, you would have to pay compensation out of your own pocket if a member of the public was injured while you were working.

As with all insurance policies, there are exceptions and limits to what is covered. There is usually a maximum claim limit, whether that is for the cost of your tools or the cost of labour and materials to recover your work after a flood.

You should be honest with your insurer when initially getting a quote. If you underestimate the level of cover you need, you could end up underinsured – and your insurer may not pay out as much as you expect in the event of a claim.

If you use a vehicle for work,you may need specific business use cover rather than relying on standard personal car insurance. Business van insurance is usually available as a standalone policy.

» MORE: Do I need business insurance?

How much does electrician insurance cost?

The cost of electrician insurance may go up or down depending on which policies you choose to include. The price can also change based on factors such as:

  • the type of work you do
  • how many people you employ
  • the level of cover you want
  • where your business is located

How to choose the best electrician insurance policy for you

To find the best electrician insurance for you, you should assess your business activity and its potential risks. You can then decide which policies are most appropriate for your circumstances.

When you have worked out what cover you want for your business, you can click ‘Start your quote’ at the top of this page.

» COMPARE: Electrician insurance

Electrician Insurance FAQs

What insurance do you need as an electrician?

As an electrician, there is only one legal requirement when it comes to insurance: employers’ liability insurance, and that’s only if you employ anyone outside your family who is working within the UK.

If you don’t employ anyone, you don’t legally need any insurance – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider taking some out.

There are a variety of insurance policies designed for electricians to protect you and your businesses if something goes wrong. These include but are not limited to:

  • public liability insurance
  • professional indemnity insurance
  • tools insurance
  • personal accident cover

Should an electrician be insured?

Although you may not legally need it, you should consider the benefits of taking out electrician insurance.

If a member of the public is injured while you’re working, you could face paying out compensation – but electricians’ public liability insurance could cover your costs.

Similarly, if you were injured at work or elsewhere, you could face weeks or months without work. Personal accident cover could cover your lost income if you couldn’t work because of an injury.

Without insurance, if you were injured you could be liable for a whole host of legal fees and compensation payouts which could have a significant financial impact on your business. You should think about whether you would be able to finance these costs if someone did make a successful claim against you.

Do electricians require professional indemnity insurance?

Although legally you do not need professional indemnity insurance as an electrician, you may want to consider it.

Your professional opinion carries a lot of weight, and clients will trust you. But if you do make a mistake when giving advice, a client could raise a negligence claim against you if they’ve suffered financially for following your advice.

Professional indemnity insurance could cover your legal fees and related expenses if you have to defend yourself in court. And if the client wins, it could also cover the cost of any compensation they are entitled to.

Do self-employed electricians need insurance?

If you are a self-employed electrician, you may want to think about taking out business insurance.

Although sole traders do not legally need any insurance, it is worth weighing up whether you could afford to pay legal fees and compensation without it. If there was an accident where a member of the public was injured, or if your tools were stolen, you could face unexpected costs – but insurance could cover it.

» MORE: Business insurance: Do I need it?

About the author

Kristina Fox
Kristina is a writer at NerdWallet. A recent graduate trading French for finance, she has experience creating content for student newspaper Cherwell and an edtech company. Read more
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