Does Tradesman’s Insurance Cover Me if I Can’t Work?

Caeva O'Callaghan | March 12th, 2024

Building work can be dangerous. But will your tradesman insurance cover you if you get injured or fall ill?

No. If you cannot work, sadly your insurance won’t cover you for the loss of earnings. Tradesman insurance covers your public liability at a minimum, and you should have employers’ liability and extra cover for your tools and materials if you need it.

Business interruption insurance will only help you financially recover following an insured event such as a fire or flood at your business location.

In this article, we’ll cover the following questions:

  • Will tradesman’s insurance cover me if I’m ill?
  • Does my insurance cover my employees?
  • What happens if a member of the public injures themselves on a building site?

Will tradesman’s insurance cover me if I’m ill?

No. Under no circumstances will your builders’ or tradesman’s insurance cover you for loss of earnings if you happen to fall ill or have an accident and cannot work.

You may have heard of business interruption being available as optional cover. However, this kind of insurance cover is only recommended for a tradesman who works out of business premises. If your office or headquarters are hit by an insurable risk, such as fire, flood or storm, business interruption insurance will cover you for repairs as well as fixed costs such as employee wages and rent if you cannot trade from your location.

If you get hurt on site, you may be able to claim compensation. When a tradesman enters a member of the public’s home, they are being invited onto the property to carry out a service. The homeowner therefore has a duty of care to you to:

  • Take reasonable precautions to ensure your safety
  • Warn of any risks or dangers present
  • Never wilfully put you in harm’s way

For small jobs such as rewiring a socket or fixing a roof slate, the homeowner shouldn’t have to inform the tradesman of any faults in their home besides those they’ve employed you to fix. However, if the chimney is loose or your house wiring is dangerously out of date, this would make the homeowner liable for any injuries you may suffer.

Does my insurance cover my employees?

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

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.

When you get a quote, you will need to give your insurer a lot of information to make sure they have all the necessary details. Your insurer may not agree with your assessment of whether a subcontractor is labour-only or bona fide, so be as clear as you can. In most cases, you’ll need to check that any bona fide subcontractors also have their own public liability insurance.

What happens if a member of the public injures themselves on a building site?

If your client, or one of their visitors or loved ones, suffers illness or injury as a result of your building works, your public liability insurance should cover associated costs. These could be loss of income while they heal, hospital costs and more.

As a tradesman, you really do need public liability insurance. If you don’t have it and an accident happens, you may find yourself having to pay out of pocket – and the consequences can be very expensive indeed.

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.

If you have any queries on your tradesman insurance, feel free to call our experts and they will answer all your queries.








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