Window cleaning has come a long way since the days of a ladder, bucket and chamois leather.
Professionals are now more inclined to use purified water and water-fed poles, abseiling techniques and powered access lifts when cleaning commercial property windows.
While techniques have become more sophisticated, the possibility of a costly claim against a window cleaning business is always there.
Whether you’re a sole trader or small company, you can buy an insurance policy to cover the risks your business faces on a daily basis.
Cover can include:
- Employers liability
- Public Liability
- Tools and equipment
- Damage to property being worked on
- Loss of customer's keys
- Failure to secure a customer’s premises
- Employee theft
- Personal Accidents & Sickness
Employers Liability Insurance
If you’re a one-man or one-woman business with no employees and no sub-contractors then you don’t need employers liability insurance.
If you do have employees, then it’s a legal requirement. If one of your employees falls ill or is injured as a result of their work, they may claim compensation from you.
Employers’ Liability Insurance can provide cover against the cost of compensation and legal fees and is usually linked to public liability insurance in policies for small businesses.
£5 million is the legal minimum required.
Public Liability Insurance
Window cleaners need specialist public liability insurance as many tradesman policies don't cover damage to glass, frames, fascias and gutters, etc., while they're being cleaned.
As well as damage to glass or anything else you may clean, public liability insurance for window cleaners provides cover against claims by members of the public who have sustained injury or damage to their property because of your business activities (a ladder falling on a car, say).
You are not required by law to take out public liability insurance, but most reputable companies and some customers won’t allow you on their premises without it.
There are three main levels of cover to choose from - £1 million, £2 million or £5million.
Things to look out for
Check the type of equipment covered and any height restrictions that could impact on the type of property you can work on.
Some insurers will only cover ladders or water fed poles.
If you’re asked to quote for a contract for a high rise building where you need a cradle, platform or cherry picker you could find these are excluded.
So it's worth checking if an insurer's limited options could limit work opportunities.