The Gold Coast is a great place to live and work, and there is no shortage of business owners who call the Coast home.
With a population of more than 600,000 and annual visitor numbers of around 10 million, there is always something going on.
But with so many people pouring in and out of local businesses every day, it’s important to ensure your business is properly insured if something is to happen to one of those people.
This is where public liability insurance can help your Gold Coast business.
What is Public Liability Insurance?
If someone was to enter your place of business and injure themselves, or if you were doing some work for them and you caused property damage or personal injury to them, they could sue you and/or your business for serious money.
Public liability insurance can protect you and your business from this risk by covering the cost of a claim against you for property damage or personal injury suffered by others.
You can learn more at our ‘what is public liability insurance’ guide.
Which Gold Coast Businesses Require Cover?
If your business has the potential to cause property damage or personal injury to another person, then you will most likely need (or should at least have) public liability cover.
This captures pretty much any type of business, from the small shops along Cavil Avenue, the cafes, restaurants and bars elsewhere in Surfers Paradise and many other business types throughout the Coast.
If someone can slip, fall and sue, then you need cover!
The other big user of public liability insurance is the building and construction industry.
Whilst a tradie isn’t going to be at risk of slip and fall type claims in the same way that a shop could be, they are still exposed to the risk of causing property damage or injury whilst on the worksite.
The reality is that very few businesses on the Gold Coast (or elsewhere in Australia for that matter) could survive a serious claim without having the right public liability insurance in place.
Special Local Requirements
There aren’t any major differences in the insurance requirements between local businesses on the Gold Coast and elsewhere in Australia, but there are a couple of exceptions.
Both electricians and pool inspectors on the Gold Coast (and elsewhere in Queensland) have special requirements for their business insurance, and without the right cover they can’t obtain their licence.
Generally speaking you should be okay to use an insurance broker from anywhere in Australia, but if you do fall into one of the special categories then you may be better off using a local broker.
Quotes and More Information
There are a few ways in which you can obtain quotes and advice on your public liability and other forms of business insurance.
The most popular option for Gold Coast businesses is to use a local broker who specialises in business insurance. They will be able to run through your options with you and provide you with quotes.
An increasingly popular option is to go online via websites such as this one which allows you to request quotes and even take out cover over the internet.
When it comes to electricians insurance, Queensland is unique in its public liability requirements.
Most Australian states require that elections hold public liability insurance, but here in Queensland there is an additional requirement that states the cover must include a special option known as consumer protection.
The Qld State Government requires that all electrical contractors hold an Electrical Contractors Licence, and in order to obtain or renew this licence the applicant must have an appropriate insurance policy in place.
The required insurance is a public liability policy of at least $5 million, plus a special inclusion known as consumer protection insurance.
The amount of consumer protection insurance required is no less than $50,000.
A special certificate of currency is required in order to apply for or renew a licence, and the certificate must be signed and stamped by the insurance broker.
Not all insurance providers offer a public liability policy which meets the Qld requirements.
Two of the major insurers offering cover are QBE and Vero, and there are a number of less known insurers also offering cover.
A better option may be to use an insurance broker, and in particular one that is familiar with the Qld electrical contractor insurance requirements.
Such a broker will not only know which insurers offer the right cover for your licence, but also which ones provide the most competitive premiums.
If you are speaking with your insurance broker and they are not familiar with the requirements, make sure they don’t give you a normal policy as it won’t be good enough for your licence.
Electrical Contractors Licence
Once you have obtained your appropriate public liability and consumer protection insurance policy, as well as the correct Qld State Government approved certificate of currency, you will be ready to apply for or renew your electrical contractors licence.
Of course there are other requirements when applying for a licence, such as having the right qualifications, but generally it is the insurance requirement which holds up most licence applications.
The licensing authority is very specific on making sure the name on your licence application is an exact match for the name on your certificate of currency, so make sure you get the details spot-on in terms of your company or trading name if applicable.
As with all forms of insurance, this price for Qld electrician’s public liability cover can vary from company to company.
A recent survey of insurance brokers revealed a premium of between $550 and $850 per year. If you are quoted higher than this figure it may be worth asking your broker for a better price or to start shopping around.
Your public liability insurance cost can be affected by other factors, so best to check with your broker for the coverage details before rushing off to use someone offering a cheaper price.
Electrical Contractors Insurance
Whilst there are various forms of insurance available to Qld electricians such as income protection and tool insurance, the most commonly required form of insurance is public liability.
Only certain insurance companies offer a policy to suit the Qld electrician requirements, and in order to obtain or renew your licence you will need to be able to confirm your policy meets the criteria.
There are other forms of electricians insurance available and that could be right for you, but public liability (with consumer protection) is the only one that is mandatory for your contractors licence.
Broadform Liability Insurance
A Qld electrical contractor’s insurance policy is based upon broadform liability. Broadform liability is essentially just another name for a public and product liability policy.
A broadform liability policy is generally available in amounts of $5, $10 and $20 million. The minimum requirement for Qld electricians is $5 million.
It is important not to choose a policy based on the broadform coverage alone, as your electrician insurance in Qld must also include consumer protection cover.
Consumer Protection Insurance
All policies which meet the eligibility requirements for an electrical contractors licence in Qld must include a special option called consumer protection insurance.
The requirement for consumer protection insurance is unique to Qld electricians, and is designed to protect the customers of electricians in Qld.
All policies must contain coverage of at least $50,000 consumer protection to be accepted by the Qld government for an electrician.
Certificate of Currency
In order to obtain or renew your contractor’s licence you will need to provide the licensing authority with a copy of your certificate of currency.
You cannot just use any certificate of currency issued by your broker or insurance company. Instead you must have your broker complete the special certificate issued by the Qld government.
The special certificate of currency issued by the government confirms that the policy you have been issued does comply with the broadform liability and consumer protection requirements.
The good news for Qld electricians is that the insurance they need does not have to be expensive.
A suitable policy can be had from around $600 for the minimum acceptable amount of cover. This price can vary depending on the specific details of your business, and the best way to get a firm quote is via an insurance broker.
For more information on the insurance requirements for Qld electricians check out the official government website or contact your insurance broker.
Wherever you operate in Queensland, chances are your business will require public liability insurance.
Public liability is a form of insurance which protects Queensland businesses from the financial costs of accidents and negligence which results in loss or damage to others.
Public Liability in Qld
Wherever you are in Australia public liability insurance is generally the same, however there are a few unique situations here in Queensland where the insurance requirements differ to other states.
One such example is electricians. Here in Queensland any subcontractor or business owner applying for a Qld Electrical Contractors Licence must obtain a public liability policy which includes a special option known as consumer protection.
Licensed pool inspectors operating under the Qld guidelines must also hold a special form of professional indemnity insurance that has been designed specifically to meet the government regulations.
Is Public Liability Mandatory in Qld?
There are a few instances where public liability insurance required, such as those mentioned above, but generally public liability is entirely optional for business operating in Queensland.
Whilst the government may not mandate insurance requirements for everyone, many people such as tradesmen will find that the insurance has been made mandatory by many companies managing large building projects.
Regardless of whether or not you are told that you must have public liability insurance, there is little doubt that it’s a very good idea for any business to have adequate cover in place to protect them against things going wrong.
Queensland Insurance Quotes
Obtaining quotes for public liability insurance for businesses here in Queensland is a fairly straightforward process which can be done in a number different ways.
Traditionally many business owners and operators have gone directly to an insurance broker to obtain quotes on their business insurance. This is still the most common option, however some of the insurance companies are now targeting clients directly and bypassing the brokers.
Despite this trend, most business owners still find it much easier to use an insurance broker who knows their industry and can obtain multiple quotes in a shorter period of time. Not to mention the benefits of good advice that an insurance broker can offer.
If your business is based in or operates in Queensland and you would like to find out more about public liability insurance please contact your insurance broker.
If you do not have an insurance broker you can find a local broker using this service offered by the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA).
There are plenty of questions to answer when taking out a new business insurance policy, but your responsibilities don’t end once the policy is in place.
If your business is like most other successful businesses, it will be continually evolving as you look at ways to improve it.
Whilst some businesses might not change a lot from year to year, others are changing rapidly from month to month, or even day to day!
For this reason it is important to keep your insurance broker or company in the loop to ensure that you and your business are properly protected.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of only answering the questions when they are asked, but you are still required to update these details at each renewal and even in between renewals.
An ideal opportunity to review your business insurance needs it at renewal time, which will ensure that you are reviewing your cover at least annually.
It’s not simply a good idea to review your business and keep your broker updated. It is in fact part of your duty of disclosure to ensure that your insurer knows about any relevant information which could affect their risk.
Areas for Review
There are many things which can change within a business over time, and some of the most common ones include changes to:
Business activities (both new activities and ceased activities)
Annual turnover / revenue
Use of subcontractors or labour hire
Working locations (particularly hazardous locations)
These aren’t the only changes that you need to make your insurer aware of, but they are certainly some of the more common changes which can impact upon your business insurance.
Whilst some of these changes may result in increased premiums, others can actually result in reduced premiums.
For example if your revenue and/or staff numbers have reduced, or you have ceased certain business activities, you may find that telling your insurer will result in a saving on your insurance.
The consequences of not reviewing your business insurance can be extremely serious.
If you need to make a claim on your policy, and it is found that you have not notified the insurer of a relevant change to your business, you may find that the claim will be declined.
For example let’s say you’re an electrician and you have recently started a new contract working on a mine site, but you have not notified your insurer of this work.
If you need to make a claim for work you have done on the mine site, the insurer will most likely deny the claim because you have not disclosed this work to them.
If the claim was for a few thousand dollars you might be able to pay it out of your own savings, but if the claim is for a few hundred thousand, or even a few million, you could find yourself in serious financial trouble which can impact upon both your business and your family.
Reviewing Your Business Insurance
At each annual renewal you should speak with your insurance broker about you cover and whether or not it is still suitable for your needs.
In between renewals you should also inform your insurance broker (or the insurer directly if you do not have a broker) of any changes to your business which could affect your cover.
Whilst in some cases your premiums could increase after a review, it is much better to know that you are properly covered rather than taking the risk of being under-insured.
So it’s important to know why you need to have it.
Who Needs It?
First up let’s look at who needs this form of insurance.
Anyone who is self-employed or owns a business will most likely have a need for public liability. This could include any of the following:
Pty Ltd Company
So virtually any type of business where you’re not directly employed by someone else.
This includes anyone from a sole trader handyman startup through to a nation-wide company turning over millions of dollars per year.
Whilst many businesses need public liability to protect themselves and their owners, for some businesses it is a mandatory requirement.
For example electrical contractors in Qld must hold a minimum of $5 million public liability in order to maintain their licence. Without their licence, they cannot trade.
This is a government regulation, and there are many others in other states and for other industries.
Aside from government regulation, some companies have their own regulations for other businesses that they contract or subcontract work out to.
For example tradies undertaking subcontracting work for builders will often find that the builder requires all subcontractors on site to have their own public liability.
Or if you’re operating as a handyman doing property maintenance for real estate agencies, often the agencies will require that you provide evidence of your public liability insurance.
This is a good thing, as it protects you and your clients in the event that something goes wrong on the job.
What Does It Cover?
Now that we know who needs public liability, we need to know what it actually covers.
The policy is intended to respond in the event that your negligence results in property damage or personal injury to a third party.
In plain English, this basically means that you’ve stuffed up and someone else has been injured or had their property damaged.
An example of a claim could be where you’re working in a client’s roof, and you take a misstep, putting your foot through the ceiling.
The policy would cover the cost of repairing and repainting the ceiling. This would be considered a minor claim, but could still climb well into the thousands.
A more serious claim would generally involve personal injury. An example could be where you’ve left materials in a walkway without any signage, and a member of the public has tripped over and suffered an injury.
If it’s found that you’ve been negligent, your policy would respond to a claim for damages from the injured person.
Essentially, public liability is what’s going to save you having to sell your family home or go bankrupt in the event that something serious happens on the job, and it’s proven to be your fault.
So Why Do I Need Public Liability Insurance?
This brings us back to the original question. Why does my business need public liability?
You need it because if something goes wrong, and you’re a self-employed person or business owner, you’re the one who’s going to be financially liable.
We could be talking a few grand, or a few million in the event of a serious injury or death.
Some businesses could swallow such a loss, but many would be sent bankrupt with catastrophic financial consequences.
From under $400 a year, depending on your business type, you could protect yourself and your business from such huge risks.
We have insurance brokers who can assist with quotes and more information. Please click here to get started.
As an employee you typically have a lot of protections in place.
If something goes wrong on the worksite and you cause damage or personal injury to a third party, it will generally be your employer who is responsible financially.
If you suffer an injury yourself you’ll be protected via your employer’s workers compensation, as well as sick leave.
But as a subcontractor you lose many, or all, of these protections depending on a few factors.
So just like your employer would have had, as a subcontractor you need to take out your own insurance to protect yourself.
The two most common forms of subcontractor insurance are public liability and income protection.
Subcontractor Public Liability Insurance
This is by far the most commonly required form of business insurance for subcontractors.
Public liability insurance will respond in the event that you cause property damage or personal injury to a third party.
Some subcontractors believe they will be covered under the insurance of the company hiring them, but this is almost always not the case.
In some cases there may be shared liability. For example you might be a carpenter subcontracting to a builder. There is an incident on site, and a judge finds that the builder was 60% liable because they told you to do something a certain way, and you are 40% liable because you went along with it knowing the issues.
The builder’s public liability insurance would cover their 60% of the claim and the carpenter’s public liability insurance would cover the remaining 40%. If you didn’t have your own insurance, you would have to cover the 40% out of your own pocket.
Because of the serious financial risks involved, most company using subcontractors will require that all subbies have their own public liability insurance in place, and will not be able to work until they have provided a copy of their certificate of currency.
The cost of subcontractors public liability insurance can be very low depending on the type of work you are undertaking.
For a standard trade for example, you might be looking at just $400 a year for the minimum cover. At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re working on a mine site or oil rig your public liability insurance cost will be in the thousands.
Subcontractor Income Protection
As we mentioned earlier, as a subcontractor you won’t have access to sick leave via an employer, and depending on your business structure you might not have access to worker’s compensation.
This leaves you in a very precarious position should you be unable to work due to an injury or illness.
Thankfully income protection insurance can look after subcontractors in this even.
Income protection can cover up to 75% of your income for a period of time whilst you’re unable to work due to illness or injury.
Some companies using subcontractors will require that all subcontractors hold their own income protection insurance, such are the risks involved.
Others forms of business insurance
Whilst public liability and income protection are the only two forms of business insurance that are typically required by a subcontractor, there are other forms of insurance worth considering.
If you are a tradie for example, as a subcontractor you’ll most likely be providing your own tools and equipment.
Your gear won’t be covered by the insurance of the company using your services, so you’ll need to insure your tools yourself.
For more information and advice about what forms of subcontractor insurance you may require, we strongly recommend speaking with a qualified insurance broker.
As a subcontractor you’ll be required to hold your own licence for certain occupations or business activities.
For example if you’re a Queensland electrician you’ll have special public liability insurance requirements. Likewise for plumbers in Victoria who also have unique requirements.
Even if the companies you are subcontracting to don’t ask to see your public liability insurance cover, keep in mind that you might still need it for your licence.
With so many commercial and residential buildings in the Sydney CBD, it is no surprise that cleaners are in great demand in the city.
All cleaners working for property managers and real estate agents will generally be required to hold insurance before that can start work.
In this guide we will take a look at the forms of cover commonly required.
Public Liability Insurance
All cleaning contractors (those working under their own ABN) will require public liability insurance.
This form of cover protects you from the financial consequences of causing property damage or personal injury to others through your own negligence.
Common claims can include people slipping and injuring themselves where you have not placed appropriate warning signs on slippery surfaces.
Another common claim is where an inappropriate cleaning product has been negligently used and resulted in damage to property.
Although these events can constitute common claims, you still need to check your policy to ensure events such as these are covered.
When taking out public liability cover in NSW it is also important to tell the insurance company if you are undertaking any work in public spaces, as this can impact upon the cover you need.
It is far less common for income protection to be a mandatory form of insurance for cleaners, however it is still important for any cleaner working for themself.
As a self-employed or contract cleaner you will generally not be covered by worker’s compensation or sick leave, therefore the only way to protect your income is via income protection insurance.
Income protection can replace the majority of your income for a period of time if you are unable to work due to injury or illness, and in most cases it will cover you for events which occur at or away from work.
To obtain a quote on your cleaners public liability insurance please contact your broker or preferred insurance company.
It’s also worth shopping around, as the quotes for cleaners insurance can vary greatly depending on who you go through.