Electricians and Electrical Contractors Insurance

19/06/2013 -- Mary Simpson
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Whether you call yourself a sole trader, self employed electrician or electrical contractor, you'll want a belt and braces insurance policy to cover the risks you face on a daily basis.

You can buy tradesman cover tailored to your specific trade risks as an electrician including:

  • electrical installation
  • testing and certification
  • heating, ventilation & air conditioning
  • security systems
  • renewable energy

Policies can have set cover, optional extras and add-ons, e.g.:

Public Liability Insurance

When working with electricity, there are obvious dangers to you, the general public and property.

Public Liability Insurance (PLI) covers you for unintentional damage or injury to others. It covers legal liability to pay compensation for death, injury or property damage and legal costs if you are to blame.

Employers Liability Insurance

Employers Liability Insurance (ELI) is designed to meet the costs of compensating employees (plus paying their legal costs) if they are injured or made ill because of their work. The legal minimum cover is £5 million.

Self employed sole traders who work alone without employees won't need Employers Liability Insurance (ELI).

If you employ an assistant or apprentice you need employers liability insurance. Businesses employing direct family (unless a limited company) and companies employing only their owner (who owns half or more) of the company are exempt.

Product Liability Insurance

Products you supply - wiring, switches, light fittings, heaters, fuse-boxes, alarm systems, etc. - must be fit for purpose.  If not and someone suffers injury, illness, loss or damage because of them you could be held legally liable.

Product liability cover - usually included in Public Liability Insurance - can help you defend a claim for dangerous, defective or faulty products made or sold by you up to a maximum value each year.

Tools Insurance

If your tools are lost or damaged, then tools insurance helps you get back to work quickly.

You can insure against loss or damage to your own gear, as well as hired or leased tools, and theft from a secured vehicle.

Check if replacement is on a new for old or depreciation basis and keep a close eye on the excess you need to pay if you make a claim.

Cost of Insurance

Policies are priced based on level of risk, payroll and turnover.  

If Testing and Certification is more than 25% of your work, you'll pay a higher premium, ditto if you do a lot of security system installation.  Here you may want to make sure you're covered for product failure.

Hotwork, i.e., welding on or off site and use of blow lamps, also increases cost, as does work at height outdoors, especially if above three storeys. Many insurers place height restrictions on electrical work and exclude external aerial work.

Industrial premises or buildings over 4 storeys are often ruled out because of the increased risk of an expensive claim.

You must declare work at hazardous locations, eg, power stations.

Specialist Cover

Specialist cover is usually needed for Testing and Certification or installation of security systems.

If you install alarms, your insurer will want to know the type of premises - hotels, hospitals, care homes - and whether you issue test certificates and the type of certificates (e.g. fire alarm systems, emergency lighting).

If you fit fire/intruder alarm systems, door entry, voice systems and fire extinguishers pay close attention to the small print in your public liability policy.

Check if there's an efficacy exclusion i.e. malfunction of a product. Some insurers won't cover product failure (e.g. a fire alarm). If there's a fire, say, and the fire alarm doesn't go off, you could be wholly liable for any damage or injury.