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What is Insurance for Electricians?
If you’re working as an electrician, you’ll be very aware of the dangers that wiring and electricity can cause for you and your customers. And despite your best efforts, things can go wrong. As an electrician, you definitely need insurance to protect you and your business from certain financial disasters.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about electricians’ insurance, from types of cover, costs and who needs to buy it. If you still have questions, fill out a quote form and—if you still have questions someone can call you back on the phone to discuss if you want.
- What insurances can an electrician need?
- Where can I get electrician insurance quotes?
Types of Insurance for an Electrician
Electricians and electrical contractors know better than anyone the risks they’re exposed to on a daily basis. If you’re setting up your own business, or working self-employed, there are a few different insurances to be aware of before picking up your tools.
Public Liability Insurance
Electrician Public Liability insurance will keep you protected if a client, member of the public or other third party is hurt or has their property damaged while you’re at work. Public Liability insurance is equally important for self-employed electricians and those starting up small businesses and hiring additional staff.
Public Liability covers you for both the time you spend on site, and is often sold alongside Product Liability, which will protect you for any injuries/damages that occur at a later date (perhaps due to an error, or a faulty piece of wiring) as a result of your work. If you’re deemed to be at fault, then the cost of the settlement would fall to you. Your Public Liability would cover you both for any legal costs incurred and any compensation awarded.
- Injury Example: While you’re working on a plug socket, your customer trips and falls over a piece of wiring you’ve left out. They injure their knee and can’t work for 2 months. They sue you for the value of the wages they’ve lost.
- Property Damage Example: While walking through a client’s home, you drop your toolbox and damage their wooden floor. They sue you for the value of having the damage fixed.
Employers’ Liability Insurance
Simply put, if you hire employees, whether they’re full-time, part-time, or even just on a one-off, you’re legally required to hold Employers' Liability insurance. It will cover you in the event that somebody is involved in an accident or becomes ill during or as a result of working for you. If this does happen, you may be liable to pay compensation for their loss of income or any other costs they’ve incurred as a result of the incident/illness.
The law states you must be covered for a minimum of £5 million, however most policies will automatically provide £10 million. If you don’t have suitable insurance, you could be fined up to £2,500 a day for every day somebody works for you uninsured.
- Employers’ Liability Example: You’ve hired someone part-time to help move your tools from one client to the next. They hurt their back while lifting a heavy toolbox, and sue you for damages.
Tools and Equipment Insurance
Protecting your tools and equipment is important for any electrician who works with expensive tools or on high value pieces of work. Consider the potential costs of replacing your tools if they’re broken or stolen, and the implications the loss could have on your ability to complete the work within the timeframe you’ve agreed with the customer.
Consider whether you want your tools covered while they’re in transit, and if you need to keep them in your van overnight then inform your insurer. This will make your policy more expensive (illustrated below), so if you want to save money on your policy then perhaps consider an overnight secure storage solution.
Some insurers also set limits on the value of tools they’re willing to insure (typically £10,000 or £20,000) but some will happily go above that, so take a good estimate of the value of everything you own to find the insurer best for you.
Hired-in Plant Insurance
Similar to Tools & Equipment, Hired-in will keep you covered if any equipment you’ve borrowed or loaned are damaged, destroyed or stolen while in your care. It’s mostly relevant to any electricians who rent tools regularly, so if this sounds like you or your business then keep it in mind.
- Hired-in Plant Insurance Example: You’ve borrowed an expensive piece of equipment for a one-time job. While unpacking it, you drop it on the ground and damage it. The company that loaned it to you is asking for you to pay for the repair.
Income Protection Insurances
There are a number of insurances designed to protect you in the event that you’re unable to work in the short/medium/long term due to illness or injury. Income Protection insurance will cover you in the event you’re out of action due to a short-term injury or illness (typically less than 1-2 years, depending on your provider).
Critical Illness insurance will support you with a one-off lump sum payment in the event you’re unable to return to work for the foreseeable future due to a long-term injury or illness.
- Income Protection Insurance Example: you hurt your back while at the gym and can’t work for 2 months. Your income protection insurance (would typically) cover you for around 50-70% of your previous monthly income, depending on your provider and level of coverage.
Business Van Insurance
If you’re using your own van for business purposes, or have just purchased one, you’ll need to make sure you have a form of business van insurance. Getting set-up isn’t much more difficult than getting a quote for a car/personal vehicle, but you risk your policy being voided if you use your vehicle for business purposes and fail to inform your insurer, so make sure you’re sufficiently covered.
Do Electricians Need Insurance?
Yes—if you’re working as an electrician (whether self-employed or as a business owner) it’s likely that you’ll need some form of insurance to operate. While many insurances aren’t legally required, the risks of operating without them can be enormous. Let’s go through which insurances are legally required, which are recommended, and some more you might want to consider.
Employers’ Liability is a requirement for anybody hiring employees/staff. If you pay somebody to work for you, then you need to have it, even if they’re a friend or you’re paying them in cash on the day. And if you’re using your own van for work, you’ll need to have business van insurance; or if you’re driving your private car between clients then at the very least you need to declare business use, or your coverage will be voided by your insurer and you’ll be left with no protection at all in the event of an accident.
Public Liability for electricians isn’t a legal requirement, but almost all good electricians have it. It protects you against any claims and legal costs for accidental damages or injury by any members of the public. Tools and equipment cover, again, while not required, is considered a must-have for many electricians who own expensive tools, due to the potential problems caused by the tools being stolen or damaged and the impact that has on their ability to do their job (and ultimately get paid for it).
Finally, if you’re working on larger or more complex projects, you may want to consider professional indemnity insurance. It will cover you in the event that a mistake or miscommunication with the client means they’re unhappy with the result of your work. If they are displeased, you can be liable both to return their payment to you and cover the additional cost of having the work replaced/redone, so if you’re working on high cost projects you might want to consider it.
How much is Public Liability Insurance for an Electrician?
The cost of liability insurance for an electrician in the UK starts around £85 to £100 for basic coverage. You can read more in the table below to get an idea of how much you might expect to pay, but bear in mind your quotes can vary due to a number of different factors and risks.
|Average Cost of Electricians' Insurance|
|£2m public liability (PL)||£89|
|£2M PL, £2,000 Tools (not left in van overnight)||£148|
|£2M PL, £2,000 Tools (left in van overnight)||£190|
|£2M PL, £10,000 Tools (left in van overnight)||£467|
|£2M PL, Personal Accident||£270|
|£2M PL, Personal Accident, £2,000 Tools (left in van overnight)||£271|
|£2M PL + 1 Employee + £2,000 Tools + Personal Accident||£643|
|£2M PL + 5 Employees + £2,000 Tools + Personal Accident||£1,598|
|£2M PL + 10 Employees + £2,000 Tools + Personal Accident||£3,091|
How much is Electricians Insurance?
How much you pay will be dependent on the level of coverage you opt for and the different insurances you choose, and may be higher or lower than average. Besides public/product liability cover, which starts from £89 a year or so, if you opt to grow your business and hire employees you can expect to pay at least £350 more in insurance due to your Employers’ Liability cover (even if you only hire one employee). This is significantly more than the average cost of employers’ liability, as insurers categorize electricians as higher risk than industries like catering or cleaning.
What will impact the cost of my Electrician Insurance, and how can I save money?
First, the type of electrician you are can have an impact on cost, depending on whether you work in domestic locations (homes, gardens etc.), commercial locations (offices, public buildings) or whether you’re a portable appliance tester. It’s more expensive to get insured for commercial locations and testing due to the additional risks (higher value of property, more complex electrical set-up) so keep this in mind when setting up.
If you offer advice, design or electrical certification, you’re also likely to want to include a form of professional indemnity in your coverage—most electricians insurance providers will automatically include this if you tell them you’re doing this.
If you’re a more experienced electrician, or work in an area of the country less associated with high risk (big cities, near airports etc.) then you’re likely to find your insurance is cheaper, as insurers feel you’re less likely to be involved in an accident or cause damages.
As with any insurance package, you’ll be able to save money by making one, annual payment, as opposed to paying monthly, and avoid paying interest on top of the cost of your coverage.
If you work while elevated your policy will also cost more due to the additional risks. This typically includes, but is not limited to working while hanging from ropes or cables or on suspended platforms. Some providers may also charge you more if you work at heights above 10 metres, so check with your provider to make sure you’re appropriately covered.
Finally, if you work in dangerous locations, such as power stations or airports, expect to have a high electricians insurance cost due to the extra hazards you’ll be dealing with.
Specialist Electricians Insurance
As being an electrician is a tricky job, and you’re exposed to a multitude of different risks, some of which are very hard to predict, there are a number of specialist insurance providers in the UK targeted specifically at electricians. These can be a useful tool, as they’ll bundle many of the insurances you need into one convenient package.
They can also be useful for research, to help you understand what these specialists consider “must have” and what they feel are “optional extras”. Do keep in mind that opting for one of these providers can be more expensive than going out and finding individual quotes for your insurance, but they can be useful if you want to keep everything in one place and know you’re being covered by industry experts.
Where can I get electrician insurance quotes?
Compare electrician insurance quotes here—after filling out a short form you'll receive quotes from up to five insurance providers. You'll have the chance to talk on the phone if you have questions that you want to discuss. Then choose the cover that offers the best price and features for your needs.
Electrician Pay and Market Statistics
The image above should give you some idea about, regionally, which electricians do the best and worst. While London electricians are paid the most, it's Scotland that is most affordable when you compare pay to their cost of living, and Yorkshire and the Humber where the most electricians ply their trade. On the other side of the scale, electricians in the South East might struggle a bit more, earning considerably less than those working in London, but with a similar cost of living.
If you're interested to learn more, read our article on the best spots for electricians in the UK.
Quotes were gathered for a sample electrician with less than 1 year of experience and living in NW London. Quotes were received from a number of different sources. No fewer than the three cheapest quotes were averaged to give us our results.
And if you're an electrician considering a move to another area of the UK, for whatever reason, read our study about the best regions to be an electrician in the UK.