Does Plumbers’ Insurance Cover Me If I Have Employees?

Caeva O'Callaghan | August 9th, 2021


Does plumbers insurance cover employees?

If you’re too busy to take on a big job, you might bring on some extra help. But will your plumbers’ insurance cover your employees, as well as yourself?

It depends on your policy. Some plumbers’ insurance policies will cover employees, and some will not. To determine which is the case, check your policy or give us a call – we can look it over and clear up any doubts you may have, as well as finding the perfect cover for your needs.

In this article, we’ll go over the following questions:

  • Will plumbers’ insurance cover subcontractors?
  • Does my insurance cover casual workers?
  • What happens if I’m proven negligent?

Plumbing is a high-risk profession. It’s important that you protect not only yourself, but the members of the public you serve as well as your employees when on site.

Will plumbers’ insurance cover subcontractors?

No. If you subcontract out part of a project, they will absolutely need their own insurance: public liability at a minimum. If they don’t and something goes wrong, you’ll have to pay for damages yourself.

If you’re a plumber working as a contractor or subcontractor, you should make sure you have the right insurance to protect you and those you’re working for, as well as those you’re working with.

From an insurance point of view, you may have three types of people working for you:

  • Employees who work with you permanently or part-time
  • ‘Labour-only’ subcontractors, who work under your supervision using your tools and materials
  • ‘Bona fide’ subcontractors, who typically make their own decisions and use their own tools and materials

If you have any employees or labour-only subcontractors, you’re legally required to have employers’ liability insurance. This protects anyone who works for you against accidents, theft, and other workplace risks.

You’ll need to give your insurer a lot of information to make sure everyone’s clear. Your insurer may not agree with your assessment of whether a subcontractor is labour-only or bona fide, so be as honest and as upfront as you can. In most cases, you’ll need to check that any bona fide subcontractors also have their own public liability insurance.

Does my insurance cover casual workers?

In most cases, “casual workers” would be classed as “labour-only” subcontractors, who work under your supervision using your tools and materials.

This would mean you absolutely need employers’ liability insurance to protect them as well as yourself. This kind of policy covers anyone who works for you against accidents, theft, and other workplace risks.

No matter if your casual worker is with you for an hour, on and off throughout the year or just during the summer, you will need employers’ liability insurance. If you are a sole trader plumber or registered gas installer (RGI plumber) and work alone, you may very well only have public liability insurance in place.

Employers’ liability cover will protect you and your business if there is an accident and your employee or casual worker holds you responsible.

Additionally, if you have been hired by a builder or a tradesman to take on the plumbing side of their project, you are a subcontractor. Subcontractors often depend on the main contractor to have employers’ liability insurance, but it’s always in your best interest to have your own.

You may be able to negotiate a better rate from the main contractor if you have your own insurance.

What happens if I’m proven negligent?

If your employee or casual worker injures themselves on the job and you are proven negligent, your employee will be awarded compensation. This must come out of your own pocket, unless you have employers’ liability insurance.

If you do not, compensation payments could very well put you out of business. It’s unlikely that a sole trader or small plumbing firm will be able to absorb compensatory damages and still continue to trade.

Having employers’ liability insurance means that your insurance provider will both defend your case and pay any damages that ensue from a successful negligence claim. This is why it’s essential for any plumbing business to have such a policy – without it, you would have to deal with the entire matter yourself.

Confused about plumbers’ insurance? Give us a call today and we can arrange cover to suit your needs.

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YOUR LOCAL TRADESMAN INSURANCE SPECIALISTS

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All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.