Handyman Insurance: What Do I Really Need?

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What is Handyman Insurance?

Building up a solid reputation as a handyman can take years of hard work, but this can really pay of when you have a roster of loyal clients who supply you with a steady stream of work. You may even need to grow your business and hire a few employees to help you out.

But given the risks involved in your line of work it's critical to have the right insurance in place. And many homeowners will not hire a handyman without liability insurance, so having a suitable policy in place can improve your business prospects as well. Read our in-depth guide to learn about the different types of cover you might need, as well as typical costs. For quick definitions of each type of cover, see the blue boxes below. To find out how much your handyman insurance will cost, fill out a quote form to get quotes from up to 5 providers.

What Kind of Insurance Does a Handyman Need?

While insurance needs are unique to each small business, there are some types of insurance coverage popular with handymen. Below we define them and include some examples to illustrate how they work in the real world.

  • Handyman Public Liability Insurance

Public Liability insurance protects your small handyman business financially if you accidentally injure a member of the public or damage their property. Public liability insurance covers both legal expenses and, if you're found liable, compensation claims. Many clients will only hire a handyman who has public liability insurance—if this is the case for you then ask your clients how much cover they expect so you have enough in place.

Public liability cover usually includes product liability as well, which can cover faults with products you supply and sell to clients.

  • Bodily Injury Example: A customer trips over tools you left on the floor and breaks their hip. The client sues you for lost wages and the NHS could even sue you to recoup ambulance call out charges and hospital fees.
  • Property Damage Example: You accidentally drop a drill onto a client's tile floor, causing multiple tiles to crack. The client comes after you for the repair costs.
  • Product Liability Example: You install a heavy TV on the wall. A month later, the fixtures you supplied fail and the TV falls from the wall and breaks. The client sues you for the cost of the TV and to repair the wall.

  • Employers' Liability Insurance

If your business expands and you hire any employees, even on a temporary or part-time basis, you'll need to buy employers' liability insurance—it is required by law under the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.

Employers' Liability insurance covers compensation claims by current or former employees against employee illness or injury caused by negligence through the course of their work for your business.

  • Example: An employee is fixing a gutter for a client. The ladder you supplied him is unstable and your employee falls, injuring his back and leaving him unable to work for a period of time. He sues for lost wages.

  • Tool Cover

Tool Cover covers the cost of replacing tools stolen from you or an employee. Tool cover can even protect tools left in a van overnight, although the premium for this will be higher than if you bring your tools inside each night. It can protect against a wide range of tools you might use as a handyman, such as:

  • drills
  • saws
  • hammers
  • pliers and blow torches to ladders
  • spirit levels
  • lawnmowers and painting
  • cleaning supplies

  • Personal Accident

Personal Accident insurance can compensate you for lost wages or medical expenses due to an accidental serious injury or compensation for accidental death.

  • Example: If a power saw accident causes a temporary loss of use in one hand, you can claim for lost wages through personal accident insurance.

  • Commercial Vehicle Insurance

Commercial Vehicle insurance protects your business financially if you or one of your employees has a road traffic accident and causes injury or damage while driving a business vehicle. Third Party Only cover does what it says on the tin—it only covers damage to third parties, not you, your employees or your business vehicle. Third Party, Fire and Theft policies will cover third party damage as well as fire or theft of your vehicle. Only Comprehensive policies will protect you and your vehicle from injury or damage due to a road traffic accident.

  • Example: Your business van is stolen overnight.
  • Example: You have an accident at a roundabout and cause damage to another car, for which you are liable.

Plus, there are other types of handyman insurance you might need. Read about a dozen popular types of small business insurance here. If you use a personal car for your work (e.g., visiting clients) then make sure you've disclosed your business use to your car insurance company, or you might not be insured.

What handyman insurance do you need if you're self employed?

If you're self employed, you still need the same types of insurance such as public liability, employers' liability (if you employ anyone), as well as optional add-ons like tools cover or personal accident if you think you need them.

How do I Find the Best Handyman Insurance for Me?

When choosing a handyman insurance policy, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Customisable cover: no two businesses are the same, so look for coverage that you can customise to your business needs.
  • Financial strength of the insurer: Check the financial strength of an underwriter before you sign up. You can do this by looking for financial strength ratings from Fitch, Standard & Poor's. A.M. Best and Lloyd's.
  • Customer reviews: Read customers reviews online—Trustpilot and reviews.io are good places to start.
  • Cheap quotes: Insurance quotes can vary drastically from one insurer to the next for essentially the same cover, so it's always a good idea to check multiple sources, for instance via a comparison site.

How Much is Insurance for a Handyman Business?

The average cost of public liability handyman insurance is around £75 a year or £9.12 a month for £2 million of cover. Adding additional coverages will increase the premium you pay. For example, adding £1,000 of tool cover typically costs an extra £60 to £65. Personal injury cover can add around £80 to your rate. If you hire any employees, you'll need to make sure they're insured as well (read about the costs of employers' liability insurance here).

chart showing the average cost of public liability handyman insurance

Where can I get handyman insurance quotes?

Compare handyman insurance quotes here—after filling out a short form you'll receive quotes from up to 5 tradesman insurance providers. You can even request a call back if you still have questions that you want to discuss. Then choose the cover that offers the best price and features for your needs.

Handyman Statistics

The average pay for a handyman is around £26,000 a year, typically ranging from £16,000 to £36,000. Assuming a handyman works a full 40 hours a week, this translates into an hourly wage of around £13 per hour. However, since a handyman typically has a lot of down time between jobs or travelling from one to another, they charge more than this per hour. In fact, our recent analysis showed that hiring a handyman typically costs £40 to £60 for the first hour (with subsequent hours costing around £30 to £50 per hour).

Therefore, a self-employed handyman would work for around 2 hours to pay for their public liability insurance (assuming £2 million of cover).

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the CEO, Co-founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.