One of the most common forms of carpenter insurance is public liability.
This is the insurance that will save your back if you cause property damage or personal injury to another person.
Whilst public liability certainly isn’t the only form of business insurance a chippie should consider, it is arguably the most important.
In this guide we’ll take a detailed look at public liability insurance for carpenters.
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What does it cover?
Public liability insurance will protect a carpenter in the event that their negligence results in property damage or personal injury to another person.
Whether you damage someone else’s property whilst on the job, or cause injury to that person, your public liability will respond.
Your policy will generally also cover the cost of defending a claim. For example if someone tries to sue you for negligence, even if you are eventually found to be in the right, your policy will cover your legal expenses to get that outcome.
When it comes to carpenters and public liability, there are small claims and there can be big claims!
Small claims typically involve property damage. For example you might be in a client’s roof and you put your foot through the ceiling.
The plaster repairs and painting could cost a couple of grand, which is enough to wipe out the week’s profit, but not enough to be life changing.
This type of event would be covered by public liability, saving you potentially a couple of grand.
At the other end of the scale we have the big claims, which more often involve personal injury.
An example here could be that you’ve built a deck for a house and that deck subsequently fails, resulting in serious injury or death to those on the deck.
If you are found to have been negligent in some way which contributed to the accident, you could be up for hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars in damages.
Your public liability insurance policy would also respond in this case.
Public liability claims are rarely black and white, and the above examples would be subject to all sorts of issues, but it does give you an idea.
Is it mandatory for carpenters?
Unlike electricians and plumbers who typically have mandatory public liability insurance requirements for their licence, chippies do not.
Whilst the government might not have any insurance requirements for carpenters, building companies often will.
Many builders will require that all trades – including carpenters – show evidence of their public liability insurance before being allowed on site.
Evidence is generally in the form of your certificate of currency, which outlines the details of your insurance.
Regardless of whether or not you are required to hold public liability for your licence or through a building contract, it is still an incredibly important form of cover for any self-employed carpenter.
How much does it cost?
Carpentry is seen as a fairly low risk when it comes to public liability insurance, which thankfully means the cost is very low.
For the minimum $5 million cover, premiums start from around $400 per year depending on the insurer.
The cost can rise depending on a number of factors including the size of your business and any work considering high risk, or in high risk locations.
Examples of high risk locations include mine sites, airports and other similar sites.
If your trade is a carpenter but you’re really undertaking the work of a builder, you’ll need to insure yourself as such. This will typically be a little more expensive, but it’s far more important to be properly insured in the event of a claim.
To obtain further advice or quotes on carpenters insurance the best option is to speak with an insurance broker.
A broker can compare multiple quotes for you, as well as providing advice on what types of policies are best for your carpentry business.