What is Tradesmans’ Insurance?

Caeva O'Callaghan | May 8th, 2024

Before you start working as a plumber, joiner, builder or other contractor, you need specialist tradesman insurance. But what’s included on your policy, and what isn’t?

Tradesmen’s insurance is a catch-all term for specialist insurance products for electricians, builders, plumbers, and other contractors.

A tradesman’s policy covers you for the specific risks you’ll face in whatever kind of day to day work you do. It will cover public liability at minimum, but you can also add cover for tools, materials and more.

In this article, we’ll cover these questions:

Building is a high-risk profession where working with the public, at heights or with dangerous substances comes as standard. This is why you need comprehensive cover to protect you and others against all risks.

I’m a builder, what insurance do I need?

Builder, handyman, tradesman, contractor – no matter what you call yourself, you need to have specialist insurance. This will allow you to work in others’ homes safely, and will cover the costs of repairs if unintentional damage is done. This applies not only to their clients’ property, but also members of the public.

Accidents are the number one reason builders need insurance. Hundreds of people are injured during the course of building works per year. If you don’t have the necessary insurance in place, you may find it difficult to find clients willing to take a risk on an uninsured worker. Not to mention, if things go wrong, you could find yourself disastrously out of pocket.

Any plumber, painter or plasterer worth their salt needs to purchase insurance before they take on their first job. You will need three types of liabilities included in your insurance policy to cover your basic needs:

The first two types of cover will protect members of the public and save you money if your materials are faulty, leading to delays in the job or failures down the line. The third type is only applicable if you have people working for you on a permanent or temporary basis. Subcontractors you hire are not considered employees, and therefore need their own insurance.

Am I covered for public liability?

Yes, if you purchase any standard tradesman’s policy. 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 aren’t minimally insured with public liability cover in place, if or when an accident happens, you would find yourself having to pay out of pocket.

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

Or, if a member of the public injures themselves on-site while you’re working, your public liability insurance should cover their hospital bills and loss of income – as long as you took all the appropriate safety measures and weren’t negligent. This means putting up appropriate signage, warning others of dangers, and not leaving power tools around irresponsibly.

Does my insurance cover me if my materials are faulty?

Yes, if you state you would like this cover included on your policy. Bought a faulty pack of vinyl flooring? This is the type of insurance you need if the tiles are misprinted or arrive damaged, and the job is delayed.

In the majority of cases, the insurance provider you have your policy with will pursue the manufacturers. As long as the part turns out to be defective, it wasn’t your own fault and you installed the materials correctly, the manufacturer will be liable.

Another kind of cover you might find useful is professional indemnity insurance. This will cover your legal liability for any advice and design services that you provide.

Public liability is there to cover your actions (i.e., what you do) whereas a professional indemnity policy covers your advice (i.e., what you say). This kind of cover is not expensive, but it is a good idea to have.

Talk to our tradesman insurance team

If you need tradesman’s insurance and want to get the best value, you need a broker who knows the market. We have access to competitive prices and comprehensive cover, so call us today for a quote.








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