Does Tradesman Insurance Cover Public Liability?

Caeva O'Callaghan | February 8th, 2023

You’ve heard public liability insurance is important, but does it come as standard with tradesmen’s and builders’ insurance?

Yes – in fact, this is the number one reason to have builders insurance. Public liability cover will come as standard for any builders’ or tradesmen’s insurance.

Public liability covers you for injury to members of the public or their property. It’s extremely important to have, because building work is extremely dangerous and there is a high risk to members of the public and their property.

In this article, we’ll answer these questions:

If you don’t have public liability insurance at a minimum and earning money from your building services, you will be trading illegally. Get public liability insurance – it will be worth it.

What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance is a requirement for all tradesmen who operate in Ireland. It’s meant to protect clients, visitors and passers by in the event that they are injured or their property is damaged and the tradesmen are responsible.

If you don’t have public liability insurance and an accident happens, you will be paying out of pocket – and that’s the best case scenario. You may be taken to court, jailed, or banned from trading if the damage is bad enough.

For example, if you’re working in your client’s home and accidentally drop a heavy drill on their kitchen floor and crack the tile, your public liability insurance will cover the cost of the labour and materials involved in replacing it.

Or, if a member of the public wanders onto your building site and hurts themselves, your public liability insurance should cover any associated costs – as long as you took enough safety measures and weren’t negligent.

Safety measures you always need to use – even if you have public liability insurance in place – include putting up appropriate signage, not leaving power tools in the open, being careful with rusty nails, and so on.

There are different limits of indemnity for public liability insurance, and the lowest is 2.6 million euros. However, we can easily get you higher limits. As a tradesman, you may be asked to indemnify another person or organisation, such as a County Council. This is absolutely no problem. Just email us the form and we will complete it, notify your insurance company and return the signed form to you and to your County Council.

Why do builders need public liability insurance?

Builders do a lot of work around members of the public, and that work is extremely risky. You may be working at heights, with heavy equipment or toxic materials, increasing noise levels and around unstable structures.

You need public liability insurance because building sites are, by nature, around members of the public – even if it’s just your client. Building sites are also very interesting and attractive to animals, children and thieves.

You may think you only have one occupation – a tradesperson. However, when you identify as a tradesperson rather than a builder or carpenter or so on, it may mean you do many jobs at once. No matter why you consider yourself a tradesperson, we’ll need to find out what type of work and job you typically do for a living.

For example, in between larger projects you may find yourself insulating a house, or replacing a radiator. Maybe you are doing a larger building project but it involves a bit of electrical work which you are happy to fix yourself. Sometimes it’s just not cost-effective or practical to hire subcontractors for these quick fixes, even though you’re not an expert.

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.

Does builders’ insurance come with restrictions?

Sometimes, yes it will. You need to check your builders’ insurance policy, or ask your provider. For example, you may want to take on extra roofing work during sunny weather – but your insurance may not cover you for working so high off the ground.

This is a common restriction with building insurance. For example, say your insurance policy listed a height limit of 10m and you were working on a roof at a height of 12m. Your insurance company could try to get out of a potential claim because you were working outside of this limit. In cases of public liability claims, such as in the event of a slate falling and hitting someone, this mistake could prove disastrous.

The policies we recommend here at O’Callaghan’s Insurance mostly include 15m height and 3m depth as standard. These limits can be increased but are much higher (and lower) than most policies sold in Ireland.

Talk to us today about your tradesman insurance

Are you working at a greater height or depth than normal? Worried about members of the public’s or your worker’s safety? Whatever your concern is, give us a call today, and we’ll be able to help you work out the right cover for your tradesman insurance needs.








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