Painters and Decorators Insurance - What Do You Really Need?

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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.

Business Insurance for Painters and Decorators

As a painter or decorator, you bring to life the visions and dreams of your clients. However, while doing so, it can be easy to forget the risks and repercussions of something going wrong. This article will give you everything you need to know to make sure you’re fully protected as a painter and decorator, including what insurances you'll need and how much you can expect to pay for them

If you’re wondering what a policy might look like for your business, fill out a quote form and provide some basic information to receive quotes from top UK painter and decorator insurance providers. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have, and choose the best policy to suit your needs.

Popular Types of Insurance for a Painter and Decorator

It’s important to make sure you’re financially protected as a Painter and Decorator—a good Public Liability policy can help keep you safe. If you bring an employee on board, even if only part-time, you’re must have an Employers’ Liability policy

There's a wide variety of insurances available to painters and decorators, so it's important to work out which will work best for you. There's a mix of compulsory and optional coverages, so have a look at each one and decide if it'd make sense for your business.

Common Types of Painter and Decorator Insurance & What They Cover
1.Public LiabilityIf you cause damages or injury to a third party
2.Product LiabilityProtects you if damages occur due to a product you use or sell, even after the project is complete
3.Employers' LiabilityLegally required if you hire anybody, insures you against any injury or illness claims made by employees
4.Personal AccidentCovers financial losses if you're unable to work due to injury or illness
5.Business Use VehicleInsures your vehicle for business use, such as moving your tools from one site to the next
6.ToolsProtects your tools if they’re stolen or accidentally damaged/lost

Here's some examples of how these insurances might protect your business:

Painter and Decorator Insurance Examples

  • Public Liability: You leave a small step ladder out in a hallway while you return to your vehicle to collect something. Your client trips over it and hurts their knee, and they’re unable to work for 2 weeks. They sue you for their lost wages.
  • Public Liability: While carrying equipment through a clients home, you turn a corner and your toolbox scrapes against the wall. They sue you for the value of having the damage repaired.
  • Employers' Liability: You’ve hired a temporary member of staff to help you with a redecoration project, however they fall from your step ladder and claim you’re at fault as the ladder was already broken. They can’t work for 4 weeks afterwards, and sue you for the cost of lost wages.
  • Personal Accident: You're involved in a minor road accident and hurt yourself. A doctor recommends you to take 2 weeks away from work. Your Personal Accident insurance covers you for some of your lost wages.
  • Tools: An employee accidentally drops a tool and breaks it. Your Tools cover pays for a replacement.
  • Business Use Vehicle: While transporting your equipment to a client's home in the morning, you're involved in an accident. Your Comprehensive Business Use cover pays for the repairs.


There are a number of different ways to help you save money. You’ll notice while going through the process to receive a quote that a number of questions regularly come up. Our research indicated they usually mentioned:

  • Working while suspended from ropes/cables
  • Application of heat (e.g. blow torches)
  • Removing asbestos
  • Working above a height of 10m
  • Operating in dangerous locations (airports, hospitals, power stations etc.)
If you can avoid meeting some of/all of these criteria, it’ll certainly help keep costs down by reducing your risk levels. But you do need to be honest so you’ll need to disclose these risks if they do apply—not doing so could invalidate your insurance.

More years of experience (and in general being older as well, up until around 60 years old) will reduce costs as you get better at your job and less likely to make a mistake. Certain areas of the country are also riskier for insurers (big cities, near airports etc.) and so avoiding these will help too.

You can also save money on interest payments by making one upfront payment, as opposed to paying monthly, so if you can afford to do so it’ll be worthwhile in the long-run.

No, it isn't advisable to hire a painter or decorator who doesn't have an appropriate level of insurance. If something goes wrong while they're on your property, and they damage something or cause injury to someone, they might not be able to pay for the compensation if they don't have an appropriate policy in place.

No, your painter/decorator should already have their own policies before the begin working for you. It is your responsibility, however, to check that they do have the relevant coverages before letting them onto your property.

At a bare minimum, all good self-employed painters and decorators should have a Public Liability policy. Most educated clients will not let you work for them if you don't have a policy when they approach you for work.

Employers' Liability and Business Use Vehicle coverage are compulsory if you employ staff or use a vehicle for business purposes, and if you have any expensive tools you should look into Tools insurance.

Do Painters and Decorators Need Insurance?

Yes, almost all painters and decorators should have some form of insurance before they begin work. And while some aren’t legally required, most good painters and decorators wouldn’t work without them given the risks they’d be exposed to if not sufficiently covered.

Public Liability, while not a legal prerequisite to working as a painter/decorator, is generally considered a must have. It protects you against your legal liability for any accidental damage/injury to members of the public or their property while you’re working. Policies often come tied with Product Liability, which covers you for any damages your work causes after you’ve completed it—say, if a radiator you installed comes off the wall after a couple of months.

If you hire staff, Employers' Liability is a legal requirement, irrespective of whether they’re full-time staff or just helping out for a single day, and the punishments for not having sufficient cover are expensive, so don’t risk working without it. You’ll also need a form of Business Use Vehicle insurance if you use your car or van for business purposes, even if it’s just driving from one client to the next.

Tools and Equipment can be especially useful for any painters and decorators using expensive, specialist or difficult to source tools. It will cover the cost of a replacement in the event of accidental damage or theft, allowing you to quickly recover in the event that they’re damaged/stolen.

If you work on large scale/complicated projects where you give advice, you may even want to consider Professional Indemnity as well, which will cover you for damages in the event that, after completing your work, a mistake, misunderstanding, or even just general unhappiness means the client is unhappy with the outcome and wants to be compensated.

How much does Painter and Decorator insurance cost?

The cost of public liability insurance for painters and decorators in the UK starts around £98. The table below should give you a rough idea of how much additional coverage might cost you, but keep in mind this will vary depending on a number of key variables, such as your age, location, and years of experience in the industry.

graph showing the average cost electricians insurance in the UK
Average Cost of Painters/Decorators Insurance for a sole trader
£2M Public Liability (PL)£98
£5M PL£137
£2M PL, £2,000 Tools (not left in van overnight)£145
£2M PL, £2,000 Tools (left in van overnight)£203
£2M PL, £10,000 Tools (left in van overnight)£389
£2M PL, Personal Accident£154
£2M PL, Personal Accident, £2,000 Tools (left in van overnight)£259
£2M PL, 1 Employee, £2,000 Tools, Personal Accident£644

Painter and Decorator Statistics

The North East is far and away the most lucrative region of the UK to work in, earning over £2,000 per year more than it's nearest competitor. And while the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings doesn't have any data for London painters and decorators, PayScale estimates that they earn 18.6% more than the national average of £24,710 (£29,306), unsurprising given the inflated cost of living in the capital. The National Careers Service tells us that an average working week for a painter and decorator is between 42-44 hours.

graph showing the average salary for painter/decorators in the UK
RegionAverage Salary
North West£23,379
East Midlands£24,119
National Average£24,710
West Midlands£24,766
Yorkshire and The Humber£25,805
South East£26,398
South West£26,972
North East£29,018

More Information on Types of Painter and Decorator Insurance

Public Liability Insurance

Painter and Decorator Public Liability insurance will protect your business if your client or a member of the general public is injured, or their property damaged, while you are working. It covers the cost of both legal expenses and any compensation the court awards, and comes in standard levels of £1M, £2M, or £5M (although higher amounts are available from most providers upon request).

It’s often bundled together with Product Liability insurance, which will protect you in the event that you work causes injury or damage after you’ve completed your work. If your projects tend to be quite complex, or involve parts of the house that can often go wrong (radiators, kitchen appliances etc.) then it’ll be worth looking for Public Liability coverage that has Product bundled in—the additional cost is usually not too much.

Employers' Liability Insurance

Employers' Liability is a legal requirement for any business that hires someone, whether they’re a full-time or part-time employee, and even if you only hire them for a single piece of work. The law requires you to be protected for £5 million, but most policies will provide £10 million as standard. You’re liable to be fined up to £2,500 per day for each day somebody works for you without an appropriate Employers Liability policy in place.

The insurance will protect you in the event that one of your own employees is injured or becomes ill as a result of their work for you. Like Public Liability, you’ll be covered both for any legal costs and compensation payable that comes from their claim.

Tools and Equipment Insurance

If you work with expensive or specialist tools, it’s worth considering a form of Tools and Equipment coverage. It’s often included in “all risks” or “contractor all risk” policies, but can also be purchased separately.

Many painters and decorators opt to hold a tools/equipment policy, as it makes sure they can quickly and efficiently replace any tools that are damaged or stolen, reducing the impact on the project and their relationship with the end client.

Where you keep your tools overnight will have an impact on the price—it’s more expensive to keep them in your van than a secure lockup or garage due to the additional likelihood of theft. If you’d like your tools to be protected while moving from A to B (especially relevant for fragile equipment) then you should also consider a form of Goods in Transit coverage, which can easily be added to your policy.

Business Use Vehicle Insurance

If you’re going to start using your van/vehicle for commercial purposes, such as moving your tools from one site to the next, then you’ll require business van coverage. Your existing Social, Domestic & Personal (SD&P) policy can be easily upgraded to cover you for business use by most providers.

Failure to upgrade your policy appropriately can lead to your policy being voided by the provider, as the cost of your old insurance wouldn’t have accounted for the additional miles/wear and tear accumulated while using your vehicle for business.

Business vehicle policies usually come in the same 3 levels you’d expect from traditional vehicle insurance (i.e., Comprehensive, Third Party Fire & Theft and Third Party Only), so getting it sorted is usually a quick and painless process, but be prepared to pay more than your existing policy to cover the extra risks.

Income Protection Insurances

If you don’t think you’d be able to cover your living costs in the event you’re unable to work, you should consider a form of Income Protection insurance. It comes in a few different forms, but the most popular protect you for short-term illness or injury or long-term disability.

Short-term coverages typically cover you for a % of your previous wages (typically 50%-70% monthly) while you’re out of action. Most policies cover you for up to 1 year away from work. Longer-term policies will give you a one-off, lump-sum payment, if something changes that makes you unable to work for the foreseeable future, say if you lost an eye or a limb in an accident.

Quotes were gathered for a sample painter and decorator with no prior experience, living in NW London. Quotes were averaged from multiple sources. No fewer than the three cheapest quotes were used to give us our results.

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 helped him write business insurance content to support SMEs at NimbleFins. He now works at DataPOWA, a sports & entertainment data analytics company. Read more on LinkedIn.


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.