It’s a battlefield out there 

By Christopher Bates, Divisional Director at United Insurance Brokers: 

For tradesmen, keeping the work flowing from one month to the next can be a constant worry. Our research indicates that when you’re out on the battlefield trying to win your next job, you’ll need to take cover – insurance cover.

We recently conducted a survey of 2,000 consumers and 320 tradesmen* to explore their views on the industry, and our findings illustrate just how important it is for trade professionals to have insurance.

According to our research:

58% of customers think ‘having insurance’ is a characteristic of a reliable tradesman, while 55% agree that lack of cover might even make them suspicious.

58% of tradesmen said customers ask if they have insurance.

43% of customers check whether a tradesman has insurance. Incidentally, insurance is the third most-checked item (after references and work guarantees).

So with insurance on the minds of your potential customers, being covered could mean more than just peace of mind – it could protect your livelihood.

Impact of insurance

Even the best tradesmen experience mishaps, and sometimes these can result in property damage or accidental injury. Without public liability insurance, you could bear the brunt of legal liability running into the thousands, covering things like legal fees, NHS hospital costs and compensation claims.

As well as protecting you from expensive claims, having proper cover could also help you to land more projects. Some customers, such as local councils, may refuse to have you work for them if you don’t have public liability insurance, while the Citizens Advice Bureau advises consumers:

“It’s worth asking contractors if they have insurance to cover you and them if someone’s hurt or property is damaged (e.g. your home or your neighbour’s). Ask to see insurance policies and check they don’t run out before the work will be finished.”

According to our survey, 83% of tradesmen already have public liability insurance. However, of those who didn’t, the reasons were:

35% said they didn’t think they need it; and

26% said they’ve never been asked for it before.

However, with almost half the consumers we surveyed stating that they do check for insurance, it seems likely that the number of tradesmen who have ‘never been asked’ for proof of cover will decline in future. And while public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it’s still essential for tradesmen keen to avoid forking out for accident claims from their own pockets.

Share your views

Over half of the customers in our research said they are suspicious of tradespeople who don’t have public liability insurance, but what’s your experience? Have you ever been asked to get covered before being awarded a job? Or has insurance never been an ingredient in your success?

*Based on an AXA Direct Business Insurance survey of 2000 consumers and 320 tradesmen in the UK conducted in November 2015

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