Engineer Insurance - What Do You Need?

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Engineer Insurance UK

Engineering insurance can seem daunting at first. There are a wide number of coverages available to those working in the construction, distribution and manufacturing industries that can make it difficult to work out exactly what it is you do and don’t need.

We’ve put together this guide to engineers insurance in the UK to help you make an informed decision when it comes to buying your coverage, including a unique look into how much your engineers insurance is likely to cost.


If you only have a few minutes

What can engineer insurance cover?

  • Public liability
  • Product liability
  • Employers' liability
  • Professional indemnity
  • Tools and equipment
  • Contract works/machinery
  • Electronic equipment

How much will you pay?

Fill out a quote form here to compare prices.

Who might need engineers insurance?

  • Self-employed engineers
  • Owners of a manufacturing, construction or distribution business

Is engineer insurance required?

  • Engineering insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but most customers will require you to have a policy before allowing you to bid for work. As well as covering both you and your clients if something goes wrong, it can help reassure potential customers that you’re a careful and risk-averse engineer.

Popular Types of Insurance for an Engineer

While every engineer is different, there are very few that wouldn’t benefit from public liability. If you’re providing advice or designs as part of your service, then professional indemnity is a must. Finally, if you’re employing any staff, you’re legally required to hold employers’ liability.

Generally speaking, engineers insurance will refer to a policy that will combine a number of different insurances to help protect your engineering business from many of the most common risks you might face. While you may find slightly cheaper deals by shopping around and buying each individual coverage from a different insurer/broker, many engineers like the convenience of having all their insurance in one place, helping to simplify claims processes and avoiding a number of different renewal dates throughout the year.

Common Types of Engineers Insurance & What They Cover
1.Public LiabilityCoverage if a third party incurs property damage or injury as a result of your work
2.Product LiabilityUsually sold with public liability, it will protect you if property damage or injury occurs due to a product you designed, made, sold or recommended
3.Employers' LiabilityInsures you if an employee becomes unwell or is injured while working for you
4.Personal AccidentFinancial protection if you or an employee are unable to work for a significant period due to illness or injury
5.Business Use/Commercial VehicleVehicle insurance to cover you while driving for business purposes
6.ToolsReplacement tools/compensation if your equipment is stolen, lost or accidentally damaged
7.Contract WorksA form of ‘All Risks’ cover, designed to protect materials, plant and property from the most common risks you’ll face on-site
8.Electronic EquipmentAnother form of ‘All Risks’, covering your electronics (phones, office equipment, etc.) from potential damages
9.Professional IndemnityDesigned for cases of ‘professional negligence’, where a client is unhappy with your design, advice or general service

Irrespective of whether you’re self-employed or run a small business all of these can apply, depending on your level of responsibility while on-site. For larger projects, don’t be surprised if coverages like public liability and contract works are mandatory, so keep in mind you may not be considered if you don’t have appropriate insurances when tendering.

Engineers Insurance Example

  • Public Liability: An employee of another business on-site trips over a toolbox you’ve left out. They have to take 2 weeks off of work, and sue you for their lost income.
  • Product Liability: A piece of equipment you’ve sold to a customer fails and causes damage to their project. They sue you for the cost of repairs.
  • Employers’ Liability: An employee becomes unwell and believes you didn’t take adequate safety precautions on-site. They have to take a month off of work, and sue you to recover their lost wages.
  • Personal Accident: You have to take 6 weeks off of work after a bad bicycle accident. Your personal accident insurance covers lost income.
  • Business Use Vehicle: While transporting your tools to a customer’s site, you’re involved in a minor road accident.
  • Tools and Equipment: Your tools are stolen overnight from a secure lock-up.
  • Contract Works: Torrential rain causes a flood and damages a number of valuable pieces of equipment.
  • Electronic Equipment: The torrential rain also finds it way into your temporary office on-site, damaging computers, phones and printers inside.

FAQs

Absolutely. Given the risks engineers face while plying their trade operating without the proper insurance could be extremely dangerous, both for you and your customers. And don’t be surprised if many bidding/tender processes have insurance pre-requisites for any engineers interested in the work, so if you are under-insured you may find yourself struggling to bid for larger pieces of work.

In terms of exactly what you’ll need, it varies from person to person, but almost all self-employed engineers and engineering businesses hold public liability cover. If you’re hiring any staff (even part-timers/contractors) then employers’ liability is a legal requirement. And finally, professional indemnity is definitely worth having if you offer advice, guidance or design as part of your engineering services.

Engineering insurance brokers act as an intermediary between engineers and the insurance market. Their main role is to act as an advisor to their customers and to help them find the best deal possible.

Brokers do charge a fee to the insurers they work with, so can be more expensive at times, however they are able to provide valuable advice and guidance to their customers to ensure they’re covered for many of the most common risks they’ll face. Their unique relationship with the insurance market also means they have access to deals that you might not find elsewhere, so they can still be a cost-effective option even with their fee accounted for.

Public liability insurance for plumbing heating engineers helps to protect you and your customers in the event that your work causes property damage or injury. It’s a hallmark of quality plumbing heating engineers, and most don’t operate without a policy in place.

While it can seem like an unnecessary cost, the amount you stand to lose if somebody does sue you is considerably more. The average public liability settlement in the UK is around £13,500, so it’s well worth being properly insured.

All of the insurance policies that could be relevant to a regular engineer still apply to anyone working with gas. It’s worth keeping in mind that the risks gas engineers face may lead to your policies being more expensive than those of other engineers, but those dangers are the exact reason why a good insurance policy is so worthwhile.

Remember, if you are taking on gas engineering work you will be required to inform your insurance provider ahead of time—failure to do so may result in your insurer voiding your coverage, a risk not worth taking when working with gas.

HSB engineering insurance is owned by Munich RE, and specialise in providing specialist engineering and technology insurance and inspection services. They’re a reputable firm with over 350 employees in the United Kingdom.

While there aren’t many reviews for HSB online, Munich Re does only have a 2.8-star Trustpilot rating. There’s no reason to doubt the legitimacy of HSB’s as an insurer, however, so any insurance they issue would be valid.

Like any form of industry insurance, there are a few things you can do to keep costs low:

  • Compare a number of different quotes from multiple sources
  • Opt for less coverage
  • Working in safer regions (rural, away from cities, airports, etc.)
  • No previous claims, convictions or bankruptcies
  • More years of industry experience

What insurances do you need to be an Engineer?

Engineering is a risky business. The foundation for any engineering insurance policy should always be public liability (and the product liability it’s often sold with can be useful too). Engineering tools can be dangerous, so the costs of something going wrong and causing damage/injury to third parties can be severe—public liability helps take care of this risk.

If you’re employing any staff, even if they’re part-time, contractors or interns/apprentices, you’ll need employers’ liability. And if you’re using a vehicle for business purposes, such as moving your tools or staff from client to client, you must upgrade your vehicle coverage to a form of business use vehicle cover.

If you offer advice, designs/blueprint or qualification as part of your business service, then professional indemnity is a must-have, covering you if someone is unhappy with the service you’ve provided.

Finally, while you’re on-site, contract works, tools and equipment and electronic equipment coverages can help protect work in progress, your tools/plant and any valuable electronics you’re using/storing while at work.

Yes, all self-employed engineers will need insurance. Exactly what you’ll need will depend on where you get your work from. If you’re hired directly by customers (and therefore responsible for the risks on-site) then you should hold the same insurances a larger business would use to cover yourself.

If you’re being hired by other businesses, they should have insurance in place to help cover you. They may insist that you also have your own coverages, so check beforehand what you’re already protected for and what they’d like you to have.

How much does Engineer insurance cost?

The average cost of a basic engineers insurance policy of £2,000,000 worth of public liability will cost around £110 per year. This is slightly cheaper than the average cost of public liability insurance in the UK.

The most expensive part of an engineers insurance policy is your professional indemnity cover. This isn’t hugely surprising—the costs of making an error during design or providing poor service can be severe, both for you and your client, so the amount your insurer charges must reflect that. While it might seem excessive, if design/drawing is a core part of the service you offer it’s absolutely a must-have. Below are some sample quotes we gathered for a self-employed engineer to get a sense of typical insurance costs. Your quotes may be higher or lower.

graph showing the average cost engineers insurance in the UK
Average Cost of Common Engineers Insurance policies
£2M Public Liability (PL)£110
£5M PL£166
£2M PL, £2,000 Tools£215
£2M PL, Personal Accident£191
£2M PL, £50k Professional Indemnity (PI)£904
£2M PL, £2,000 Tools, Personal Accident, £50k PI£1,008
£2M PL, 1 Employee, £2,000 Tools, Personal Accident, £50k PI£1,090

Where can I get quotes?

Compare engineer insurance quotes here. Complete a short form and our partners at QuoteZone will take care of the rest, connecting you with up to five specialist engineer insurance providers.

Additional Coverage Information

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance for engineers will protect you in the event a third party (client, other business on-site, member of the public) incurs financial loss or injury as a result of your operation. It’ll cover the costs of both your legal defence and any compensation a court awards against you.

Employers’ Liability Insurance

Employers' liability insurance, like public liability, covers the cost of compensation and legal fees in the event an employee becomes unwell or is injured as a result of working for you. It’s a legal requirement in the UK if you employ anybody, so if you inform your insurer you have staff members they should add it to your policy automatically.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional indemnity insurance will cover you against claims of ‘professional negligence’ by your customers. This has a fairly broad definition and covers a wide variety of issues, from errors in blueprints you’ve drawn, to a poor recommendation you offered, all the way through to customers who believe your general service wasn’t up to scratch.

It’ll cover many of the costs associated with having work redone, such as redesigning of blueprints, purchase of new materials and any additional labour costs your customer would have incurred.

Further Guides

Quotes were gathered for a sample engineer in north-west London with 3-4 years of engineering experience. No fewer than the six cheapest quotes were used to generate the average cost of a policy. Remember that your costs may be higher or lower depending on the factors insurers associate with your risk level, such as your years of experience or the size of your business.

Luke Masters

Prior to NimbleFins, Luke studied economics at Brunel University and worked at FreshMinds, Investigo and BMW. His work in data analytics, pricing, strategy and business development now help him write business insurance content to support SMEs. Read more on LinkedIn.

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.