What Conditions Are There for Valid Builders’ Insurance?

Caeva O'Callaghan | May 20th, 2024

Getting builders’ insurance is a necessity for your business. But what kind of conditions do you need to uphold?

You must be a tradesman – either a sole trader, partnership or a limited company. This is the first, and most important, condition of your builders’ insurance, but there are others.

As with all insurance products, a builders’ insurance policy comes with certain conditions you need to adhere to as long as you want your cover to remain valid.

Read on to find out:

Most conditions are common sense. For example, if you don’t pay your premiums, you won’t be covered by your insurance. Others may be less obvious.

Do I need to read my policy document?

Yes, ideally. It’s not enough to assume you’ll be comfortable with all the conditions set out by your insurance provider. Make sure you read your policy thoroughly before you sign.

However, policy documents can be huge, unwieldy documents which include a lot of insurance parlance which might not be easy for the average person to understand at once. If you’re in doubt, give us a call. Here at OCI.ie our experts can translate even complex tradesmans’ policies into plain language, so you can rest assured you have all the necessary cover in place without paying for cover you won’t use.

Knowing your policy inside and out before you sign will help you both spot potential issues that could delay or sabotage a claim made down the road. For example, if only you had been aware of something in your policy which affected an activity you were to undertake, you may have acted differently and thus wouldn’t have needed to claim.

When you get your policy document, always read it thoroughly before signing. This is because you’re bound by the conditions of the policy as soon as you add your signature. If you’re confused about the terminology or conditions laid out, it’s absolutely fine to ask your provider for clarification.

What are the health and safety conditions of builders’ insurance?

When you take out builders’ insurance, one of the conditions of doing so is that you not act in a reckless manner or endanger yourselves or others. Insurance will not protect you against negligence: it’s there to give you coverage in the case of unforeseen events, not as a license to act in a reckless manner.

The law states that every business in Ireland must have a health and safety statement. Therefore, it is a prerequisite your insurance provider will insist on before you take out a policy. You will not be granted cover without one.

A safety statement is a document which sets out how safety and health are managed wherever you work. In it, you need to:

  • Identify dangerous building activities and assess the risks – i.e. likelihood and severity – of someone becoming injured.
  • Explain what safety measures have been put into place to protect your own safety, as well as that of your clients, employees, service providers, and members of the public
  • Describe how safety will be managed and secured on your building site, and by whom

A health and safety statement is easy to prepare yourself. You can find several guides online on how to do so.

On the other hand, a health and safety certificate represents a commitment to the safety and health of yourself and others. It is not required for builders’ insurance, but it looks good if you have one. It’s a qualification that can be obtained from many course providers, including NEBOSH and CMI.

What are the other conditions of builders’ insurance?

Your builders’ insurance will also contain conditions that you may already be familiar with from reading other policy documents, such as home and car insurance. For example, the section about alteration of risk.

The alteration of risk section explains that if you change the level of risk too much, your insurance will not cover you. When you deliberately conceal information or lie to your insurer to lower your premiums, this is insurance fraud – and it’s a very serious crime. Changing the risk includes a change of occupation which you did not tell us about, such as working at height on a roof when we were not aware you were doing so, or where the risk of loss, damage, accident or liability is increased, and of course if the policy is removed.

As a tradesman, you could be involved in a number of jobs. It’s important that you tell us exactly what you do – building, carpentry, plumbing etc – and if you do more than one, even on occasion. This is because different rates apply to different trades. If you are in a trade that works at heights (painters, roofers) we will ask you what height limit you require.

Another condition of the policy is that you must never act in a fraudulent way. This includes making false claims about damage or loss, claiming for damage you inflicted yourself in order to get insurance money, and supplying forged documents to your insurance provider.

If you have signed the policy and later decide that it’s not right for you, then you have fourteen days – a “cooling-off period” – to cancel without any penalty.

Talk to our builder insurance experts today

If you have any questions about builders’ insurance pick up the phone and talk to our trained team of insurance experts. We are here to help you understand all the various conditions required and options available to ensure your business is insured.








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