Building sites can be fraught with hazards but the right insurance can help minimise the cost to you if something were to go wrong. In this guide, we explore building site insurance, as well as the types of cover builders might need while working on projects.
Can you get insurance for building sites?
Yes, and in fact, insurance for building sites is considered essential for anyone who wants to carry out:
- A self-build project
- Renovation work
- An extension or conversion
What does building site insurance cover?
Policies cover the building site and the specific project being undertaken from start to finish. You’ll usually be compensated for loss of materials and any damage caused by fire, flood, storm, vandalism and theft.
Insurance for building sites also typically includes liability cover which covers costs if anyone is injured or has property damaged while on site.
Policies should also include non-negligence insurance. This covers damage to nearby properties that has been caused by non-negligent reasons. In other words, this provides cover for events that you cannot reasonably predict will cause problems. For example, if you drill or excavate your land and it causes subsidence to neighbouring homes.
What isn’t covered by building site insurance?
Policies will vary so don’t assume they’ll all cover the same risks. When you compare policies, it’s important to be clear on what is and isn’t included – for example, does the policy cover tools left on site.
How much does insurance for building sites cost?
A lot of this will depend on the scope of your renovations and how long it might take. If you’re sub-contracting, insurers will usually want to know if your contractors have liability cover, and if so, how much.
Insurers will also consider the rebuild value of the property. The greater the value, the more you can expect to pay.
Do you need to insure a building site?
If you’ve employed anyone to help with your build (either part-time or full-time) then you must have employers’ liability by law. Other than that, there is no legal requirement to have insurance for your building site or any other type of insurance.
However, insurance is there to help minimise financial loss if something unexpected happens. If you don’t have appropriate policies in place, it would be down to you to cover any costs involved – such as paying for stolen materials and damage to the site or covering your own legal fees.
Are minors insured on building sites?
In most cases, anyone under 18 should be covered by your policy as long as they are properly supervised, and you (as their employer) have carried out a suitable risk assessment. It’s also your responsibility to ensure minors are clear on health and safety regulations.
While it’s not compulsory, it’s good practice to let your insurer know if you have any under 18s working on your site. Whether or not it affects the cost of your policy will depend on the insurer. As a general rule, minors on work experience should not impact your premium.
For more information, you can head to the Health & Safety Executive’s page on young people at work.
Do you need building site insurance when renovating a house
Building site insurance is designed for anyone undertaking renovation work, a self-build project, extension or conversion.
If the property will be empty while work is being done, it’s important to let your insurer know. This is because there’s an increased risk of vandalism and theft, and this needs to be factored into your premium.
You won’t usually need to tell your insurer about everyday projects like refitting a kitchen or bathroom.
What insurance do builders need?
Builders and construction firms can buy a range of products that cover different risks, for example:
Public liability is probably one of the most important insurance products to consider. It covers costs if a member of the public blames you for illness, injury or damage to their property. For example, if one of your workmen knocked down a wall that collapsed on someone’s car.
The higher the level of public liability cover, the more you can expect to pay for your policy. Read more about public liability costs here.
Employers’ liability insurance
Employers’ liability covers costs if any of your staff become ill or are injured through work.
If you employ anyone (full-time or part-time) you must have at least £5 million worth of employers’ liability insurance. If you don’t have cover, you can be fined £2,500 for each day you are uninsured.
The cost of employers’ liability insurance will depend on how many employees you have and also the type of building work you carry out. For instance, if you work at height, below ground or in any other environment considered high risk, you can expect to pay more for cover.
You can find out more about what you need and exemptions at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Equipment and tools insurance
Also known as plant insurance, this covers equipment you use as part of your work. Most policies cover both your own equipment and any that you hire in. That said, it’s important to check this rather than assuming that hired machinery is covered too. You can also buy cover for handheld tools if it’s not included within plant insurance.
Additional builders insurance features to consider
Your builders insurance policy should reflect the risks your business faces and most insurers will be able to tailor a policy that gives you the protection you need. Additional features that you might want to add to your policy, include:
What is contractors ‘all risk’ insurance?
Contractors all risk insurance is designed for builders and building firms. Policies include all the essential covers a builder might need – including public liability, employers’ liability, as well as covering the project being built. Bear in mind that while these policies are designed to cover the essentials, they do vary by insurer so it’s worth double checking exactly what’s included.
How much is contractor all risk insurance for buildings sites?
Cost depends on a number of factors and insurers will consider:
- The type of construction work your business usually carries out
- How many employees you have
- Your business’ turnover
- Security on site
- Whether you’ve chosen to add other features (such as tool cover)
Remember to compare policies for all your essential covers
Whether you need to insure your self-build project or own a building firm, insurance isn’t compulsory unless you’re hiring staff. But it does provide a valuable safety net that can help keep renovations or your company afloat should anything unexpected happen.
With that in mind, it’s worth taking the time to compare what’s available so that your policy offers protection and value for money. To help you clarify what you might need (and how much it could cost), take a look at our comprehensive guide to builders insurance.