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What our Nerds say about handyman insurance

As a handyman, your job can be as varied as it is rewarding. One day you could be building shelves, the next you could be tiling a bathroom or painting a ceiling.

And with such a varied assortment of jobs comes a greater risk of mishaps – anything from falling off a ladder and breaking your arm to accidentally smashing a client’s marble kitchen countertop.

Henry Williams Writer at NerdWallet

What is handyman insurance?

Handyman insurance is not one specific policy, but rather an umbrella term for several products that can provide financial cover against incidents you might be held liable for while carrying out your work.

That means from breaking something in a client’s home to injuring yourself on the job, a comprehensive handyman insurance policy could pay for the legal fees and compensation costs for a number of worst-case scenarios.

Do I need handyman insurance?

Other than employers’ liability – which UK law dictates you must have if you employ any staff in the UK who are not family members – there is no legal requirement to take out handyman insurance.

However, even if you’re extremely careful, there is still the potential for things to go wrong while doing odd jobs on houses. So you may want to protect yourself from legal, compensation or replacement costs – and give yourself peace of mind in the process – by taking out a comprehensive handyman insurance policy tailored to the specifics of your role.

» COMPARE: Business insurance

What does handyman insurance cover?

Handyman insurance is not one policy, but a term used for several forms of cover that can protect you in various situations.

As a rule, what your insurance covers will depend on which products you choose. Most insurers will allow you to select the products most relevant to your business.

However, vehicle insurance will need to be taken out separately through a motor insurer. If you use a van to travel between jobs, and to transport materials and tools, you will require business van insurance.

» MORE: Types of business insurance

Handyman public liability insurance

As you’ll spend most of your professional life working in other people’s houses, you should consider including public liability insurance in your policy. Public liability cover can help with compensation or legal costs if you, or an employee, accidentally injures someone, kills them, or damages or loses their property as a result of your business activities. For example, if you leave your toolbox on the floor and a client trips over it and bangs their head or if your employee spills paint over the living room carpet.

Employers’ liability insurance

If you have one or more people working for you, you’re legally required to cover them against illness, injury and, on some insurance policies, death with employers’ liability insurance worth at least £5 million. The only exception is if your employees are based abroad or members of your immediate family. However, if you are incorporated as a limited company, you need employers’ liability, whether your employees are family or not.

Temporary employees cover

Some providers may include specialist cover for temporary employees, which can be useful if – as can be the case with handymen – your need for additional help changes from one job to the next and can be just a few days a year.

However, if you regularly employ another handyman, whether temporary or part-time, set their hours, and deduct income tax and national insurance from their salary, then they will be considered an employee. This won’t be the case if they work for other people and you don’t deduct tax from their salary. Always check exactly who will be covered before taking out employers’ liability insurance and ask the provider if you are unsure.

Tool insurance

Given that you likely wouldn’t be able to do your job without them, you should consider cover for the tools you rely on. You can cover both your and your employees’ tools against loss, theft, and damage up to a certain value on one policy with tools insurance. You may be able to extend this cover to protect your tools overnight, whether at home or in a van, with additional 24-hour tools insurance.

Stock and materials cover

If you keep a stock of materials, such as plasterboard, wood, fillers, adhesives and paint, you might consider protecting them with stock and materials insurance. This can help to cover the cost of replacements if they’re lost, stolen or damaged while in storage or in transit. Wear and tear will not be included in this type of policy, and you will be expected to keep stock securely locked when not in use.

Personal accident insurance

Don’t forget to consider protecting yourself. If you're self-employed and become ill or get injured and are unable to work, you’ll have no income coming in. Personal accident insurance can provide payments that could make up for some lost income to you if you’re out of action or to your beneficiaries in the event of your death.

What isn’t usually covered by handyman insurance?

It’s vital that you understand the limits of your handyman insurance policy. Handyman insurance is designed for general maintenance and odd jobs rather than large-scale and specialist work, such as bathroom and kitchen fitting.

Speak to your provider about exactly what is covered by your policy and check whether you’ll need additional cover for certain jobs. If you don’t have the right cover, don’t expect your insurer to pay out.

Can I buy handyman insurance if I’ve had any CCJs or IVAs?

If you have had any country court judgments (CCJs) or individual voluntary agreements (IVAs), it may affect your ability to take out handyman insurance, or limit the number of insurers that will consider your application. Each insurer treats CCJs and IVAs with differing levels of strictness, so it is a good idea to ask up front.

Will changing from a sole trader to a limited company affect my insurance policy?

Switching from sole trader to a limited company will likely necessitate changes to your handyman insurance, and may require you to cancel your existing policy and take out a new one. You should contact your insurer immediately to discuss what changes need to be made to make sure you have adequate cover at all times.

Can I add cover for a different trade or profession to my insurance policy?

The job of a handyman can vary greatly on a week-by-week basis. It might not even be your only role or business. If that is the case, you may be able to add cover to new services you offer as a handyman, or other jobs you have taken on, to your existing insurance policy. It is a good idea to speak to your insurer about what extra cover you need, to make sure you are always protected.

How much does handyman insurance cost?

It’s hard to give an exact cost because every handyman has different needs, but the main factors that dictate how much you’ll pay per month are:

  • your claims history
  • the size of your business
  • the types of cover you choose
  • how much cover you need

For example, if you have three regular employees, you may need a higher maximum cover limit than someone who only has one temporary employee. Likewise, a handyman with tens of thousands of pounds of tools and equipment needs a higher value of tools and equipment cover than someone with a basic toolbox.

How do I make a claim with handyman insurance?

  1. Before submitting a claim, make sure you do all you can to prevent further loss or damage, and contact the relevant authorities when necessary. You should also not try to settle the claim before contacting your insurer.
  2. Contact your insurer as soon as possible if you intend to make a claim, or fear someone might make a claim against your business.
  3. Your insurer will want evidence of your claim, so collect the relevant documents, witness statements and details you think will best illustrate what happened.
  4. When submitting your claim, you will need to provide your supporting evidence alongside your personal details and policy number.
  5. Then it is a case of filling in the necessary paperwork and waiting for your insurer to assess the claim.

How to choose the best handyman insurance policy for your needs

Once you know exactly what types of cover you require (and how much you need) to properly protect your business, it’s time to find a policy.

Simply click 'start your quote' at the top of this page.

When comparing insurers, you want to look out for:

  • how much the policy costs
  • what products the policy contains
  • the scope of the cover provided by the policy, and whether it deals with all the risks posed to your business
  • the excess you are expected to pay
  • whether the insurer has good reviews for settling claims

Handyman insurance FAQs

What insurance do I need as a handyman in the UK?

As a handyman in the UK, you could consider taking out a policy that includes public liability insurance, tools and equipment cover, stock and materials cover and personal accident insurance. However, it depends on your business activities. and you can pick and choose which products to include to suit your needs.

Additionally, if you employ any staff, you are legally required to have at least £5 million worth of employers’ liability insurance. The only exception is if your staff are based abroad or are close family members. If you fail to do so, you can be fined £2,500 a day until you have proper insurance in place.

» MORE: Do I need business insurance?

What motor insurance do I need as a handyman?

If you are using your car or van to drive to work, including transporting tools and materials, you will need to take out a business car insurance or business van insurance policy. You will need to apply for this separately rather than as part of your handyman business insurance.

About the author

Henry Williams
Henry is passionate about helping individuals and businesses stay informed. Over the last 8 years, he’s written for startup and small business sites, with a focus on finance, insurance, and websites. Read more
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