Could I Be Sued If I Don’t Have Tradesman Insurance?
Caeva O'Callaghan | February 13th, 2023
It’s every tradesman’s worst nightmare: being saddled with a lawsuit. But will your tradesman insurance cover you in this situation?
Yes. Or, rather, you can be sued at any time, regardless of whether you have or don’t have tradesman insurance.
Having insurance doesn’t protect you against lawsuits. However, it will make things a lot easier if someone sues you.
Read on to discover the answer to these questions:
- What is public liability insurance?
- Am I liable for the work of my subcontractors?
- How does tradesman’s insurance help if I am sued?
Going to court is a last-ditch attempt for both parties. However, having adequate tradesman’s insurance in place ensures that everything can be resolved as smoothly as possible.
What is public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance protects homeowners, visitors and passers by in the event that they are injured or their property is damaged and builders or tradesmen are responsible. It is a minimum requirement for all tradesmen who operate in Ireland.
If you don’t have public liability insurance and are found responsible for someone being injured, you may be taken to court, jailed, or banned from trading if the damage is bad enough.
You shouldn’t be sued as long as you took enough safety measures and weren’t negligent. Always put up appropriate signage, never leave power tools in the open, and be careful with rusty nails and exposed wires around members of the public.
There are different limits of indemnity for public liability insurance, and the lowest is 2.6 million euros. Building sites are very interesting and attractive to animals, children and thieves, and even if they break into your site, any injuries will be your responsibility.
Am I liable for the work of my subcontractors?
Not necessarily. You don’t need to purchase insurance cover for your subcontractors as long as they have valid insurance of their own.
There are generally two options when it comes to the insurance cover between contractors and subcontractors: the first is that you require each of your subcontractors to buy their own insurance cover to protect their liabilities, equipment and materials. Second, you can add each subcontractor to your current insurance policy.
It’s generally more cost-effective for contractors to go with the first option. If your subcontractor has their own insurance already in place, it’s more likely that they are reliable and trustworthy. If they object or drag their feet, you should consider that a red flag.
However, if the subcontractors generally work only for you, you should consider getting employers’ liability cover for peace of mind.
How does tradesman’s insurance help if I am sued?
If someone sues you, your insurance provider will defend you as well as paying any compensation that is awarded in the event that you are found liable in court.
Having public or employers’ liability will never impact on your likelihood of being sued. This is why it’s always worth having this cover in place before you need it.
Of course, the best way forward is to avoid court if you can manage it. So if the problem can be smoothed over if you sacrifice a little time, money or dignity, it may be worth doing so to avoid a court date.
But if you are adamant that you should fight your case, you should always have full tradesman’s insurance in your corner. Bear in mind, it may make financial sense to settle, even if you believe the claimant has a weak case.
If you win, you will probably not recoup all of your costs. If you lose, you may have to pay most or all of the claimant’s costs, as well as your own.
Insurance will help you, but it may not pay for everything. Consult your policy documents to make sure you understand what you might need to pay for out of your own pocket.
We can help you find the best tradesman’s insurance for whatever you do, and it will include public liability cover for any eventuality. As an insurance broker, it’s our job to go and find you the best cover available in Ireland at the most affordable cost. Give us a call today to find out more.
YOUR LOCAL TRADESMAN INSURANCE SPECIALISTS
All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.