The risks of using contractors and tradesmen who do not hold adequate liability insurance have again been making headlines in the press. Businesses in the UK have been increasingly aware in recent years about the importance of using sub-contractors and contractors that hold an appropriate level of insurance but the culture of checking insurance coverage has not yet been fully accepted by private individuals in their own personal dealings.
Many people will spend a good deal of time “shopping around for the best price” and asking for recommendations from friends but do not focus on the importance of making sure that people who undertake work for them are properly insured.
For most people providing a service, whether as a builder, handyman plasterer or a cleaner, childminder, children’s entertainer or face painter, the cost of a public liability insurance to provide them with a basic level of protection is not expensive and should be considered as a minimum requirement.
Surely the fact that someone has insurance in place is one mark of their professionalism; having the correct insurance in place is no guarantee of professionalism but what does not having the cover in place suggest to you.
As a consumer you may take the view that if a person causes injury or property damage then, it is their responsibility and they should pay for the damage and this may well be the case. Regrettably, not everyone has the financial resources to meet the cost of every possible claim that may be made against them.
Public liability insurance provides policyholders with the cover that they need to meet the cost of claims made against them in respect their legal liability.
A recent example of this occurred when a client hired singer/songwriter for a party and all went very well until the artist accidentally smashed the brand new 60′ TV screen with their guitar. in this case the entertainer was not insured and did not have the money to replace the TV, fortunately the client had household insurance in place that was able to meet the cost or replacement and was only out of pocket for the policy excess and potentially the increased cost of home insurance in the future.
You should ensure that anyone you hire to undertake work for you has valid public liability insurance in place as a minimum. Ask for evidence of the cover. The key areas to check are;
- The name on the policy, is this the person or company that you are hiring?
- The dates of cover under the policy i.e. is it in force?
- The business description, does this reflect the work they will be undertaking for you?
- The limit of indemnity, is this sufficient to meet the costs of any potential losses?
For more detailed checks you may want to ask the person undertaking the work to complete one of our standard public liability questionnaires that you may download here.
For more information on this subject visit here or call us direct to discuss any concerns you may have.