Plumbers Insurance - What Do You Really Need?

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Plumber Insurance UK

As a plumber, you’ll spend your time helping other people fix their own insurance claims. However, it’s important not to neglect your own business while taking care of others' property, and a single mistake could be extremely costly. This guide to Plumbers insurance will give you all the information about the policies available to you, and breakdown the average cost of coverages to protect against situations that could ruin your business.

If you’d like to know how much Plumbers insurance might cost for you, fill out a quote form and with some basic information you’ll receive quotes from highly rated UK plumbing insurance providers. It’ll also give you the chance to ask any questions you might have about protections and cost with one of their specialist advisors.

Popular Types of Insurance for a Plumber

Plumbing can be complicated and mistakes can happen while you’re on other people’s property—you’ll more than likely need a Public Liability policy to operate safely. If you hire anyone, even if only for a short period, you’re legally required to buy Employers’ Liability insurance.

Different insurances make sense for different plumbing businesses, so it’s important to evaluate each one and consider whether or not it might make sense for your business. Here’s a rundown of the insurances that’ll be the most interesting to you.

Common Types of Plumber Insurance & What They Cover
1.Public LiabilityIf you cause damages to a third party, such as damaging their property or causing an injury, Public Liability will cover your legal costs and any compensation awarded
2.Product LiabilityOften sold with Public Liability, Product Liability protects you if damages occur as a result of something you’ve designed or sold
3.Employers' LiabilityEmployers’ Liability is a legal requirement if you hire staff. It’ll cover your legal/compensation costs if a member of staff becomes unwell or is injured while working for you
4.Personal AccidentPersonal Accident and Critical Illness insurances can help protect your income if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury
5.Business Use VehicleBusiness Use Vehicle insurance insures your vehicle to support your business
6.ToolsCovers any equipment you own or rent if it’s stolen or accidentally lost or damaged
7.Contract WorksProtects your business if an unavoidable issue occurs (fire, vandalism etc.) and work needs to be redone/restarted

Here’s a few examples of how Plumbers insurance can protect your business:

Plumbers Insurance Examples

  • Public Liability: While working on a customer's kitchen, you accidentally cause a leak which damages their floor. They sue you to repair the damage
  • Product Liability: You’ve designed the plumbing for a new build house, however the design causes a leak. The customer sues you to have it repaired by another company
  • Employers’ Liability: One of your staff members cuts themselves with a tool you supplied and believes inadequate safety equipment is at fault, so sue you for damages
  • Personal Accident: You hurt your back lifting equipment and can’t work for 2 weeks. Your Personal Accident insurance covers some of your wages while you recover
  • Business Use Vehicle: You use your van to transport your tools from one customer's home to the next. You’re involved in an accident, and haven’t upgraded your insurance from a Social, Domestic & Pleasure policy, and so aren’t covered by your policy
  • Tools: An expensive wrench you’ve just purchased is stolen. Your Tools cover pays for a replacement
  • Contract Works: You leave your tools and equipment overnight on a secure clients building site, however a fire starts and your tools are lost. Your Contract Works coverage pays for them to be replaced, and covers you for any additional time required to complete the work.

FAQs

Yes—almost all good plumbers in the UK will need insurance to protect their business. Public Liability for plumbers is considered a must-have by most quality tradesmen, helping to protect both their personal and business finances in the event that something goes wrong.

Employers’ Liability and Business Use Vehicle insurance are also mandatory if you fulfill the criteria for needing a policy. If you employ any staff, you’ll need Employers’ Liability, and if you use your vehicle for business purposes then you’ll need to purchase a new Business Use policy or upgrade your existing Social, Domestic & Pleasure insurance.

Many traditional methods of saving money on your business insurance still apply to plumbers. Here’s a few examples:

  • No prior claims, convictions or bankruptcies
  • More years in the industry
  • Opting for less coverage
  • Working in ‘safer’ regions (away from airports, seaports, power stations)
  • Gathering quotes from multiple providers to compare

However there are some things more specific to plumbing businesses that you can avoid if you want to save money:

  • Working while suspended (in a cradle or gondola, for example)
  • Applying heat (such as welding)
  • Removing or working with any product containing asbestos
  • Using chemicals/dangerous substances (doesn’t include normal business materials, such as cleaning fluids or bleach)
  • Doing business outside of the UK
  • Working on pipes for gas lines

Professional Indemnity insurance covers you if the advice or service you provide causes financial damages for your client. If you design or advise your clients on their plumbing, or work with architects and builders on house/building blueprints, it’s very likely you’ll need a policy in case you misadvise the client and cause damage, even if you’re not the one installing the plumbing yourself.

However, if your business just fixes issues with existing plumbing it’s unlikely you’ll need a policy—your public liability should cover you if something goes wrong.

Claiming against your plumbers insurance should be a fairly simple task, and not dissimilar to making a claim on any other insurances you hold, such as home or car.

Simply contact your insurer as soon as possible after the incident and give them as much detail as possible. Any additional photographs, witnesses or details you can provide will help support your case and get things moving quickly.

Yes—everything discussed above still applies to plumbers whether they’re installing gas or not, however you may find your policy more expensive due to the additional risks of working with gas.

Yes—if you’re self employed and declare your earnings to HMRC then your insurances should be tax deductible—with the exception of personal accident insurance,

Policies started around the £475 mark, but you may find your policy more or less expensive depending on the variables insurance companies consider, such as years of experience and the risk profile of your work. Click here to learn more.

What insurances do you need to be a Plumber?

Most plumbers consider Public Liability cover as vital to the financial security of their business. While it’s certainly more expensive for plumbers than other trades, the average settlement for a claim is over £13,000, so it more than pays for itself if something does end up going wrong.

Professional Indemnity will be relevant to some plumbing businesses, specifically those that offer design or advice as part of their service. If you consult on plans, create blueprints or advise other businesses on how they might effectively set-up or maintain their pipework, then Professional Indemnity will cover you for any damages if the advice or plans you offer create damages for your customer.

If you hire any staff, the UK government requires you to hold a form of Employers’ Liability. Getting set-up is simple, just inform your insurer that you’ve got employees and they’ll usually add it to your policy automatically (it’s not cheap though, as shown here, so don’t be surprised at the additional costs!).

And if you use your personal vehicle for business purposes, you’ll need to upgrade your Social, Domestic & Pleasure policy into a Business Use coverage. It’ll cover you for the additional wear and tear those business miles put onto your car or van.

How much does Plumber Insurance cost?

Plumbers Public Liability policies start from around £475 per year for a less experienced plumber for £2M of protection—you may find your policy starts lower if you’ve spent more years as a plumber, work outside of London or opt for a lower level of coverage.

graph showing the average cost electricians insurance in the UK
Average Cost of Plumbers Insurance for a sole trader
£2m Public Liability (PL)£476
£5m PL£773
£2M PL, £2,000 Tools (not left in van overnight)£689
£2M PL, £2,000 Tools (left in van overnight)£749
£2M PL, £5,000 Tools (left in van overnight)£783
£2M PL, Personal Accident£557
£2M PL, Personal Accident, £2,000 Tools (left in van overnight)£831
£2M PL + 1 Employee + £2,000 Tools + Personal Accident£1,561

Where can I get quotes for Plumbers insurance?

Compare plumbers insurance quotes here—after you’ve filled out a short form you’ll receive quotes from some of the UK’s top insurers. If you have any queries, you’ll have the opportunity to jump on a phone call with an advisor and get the answers you need before signing up.

Additional Information on Plumbers Insurance

Public Liability

Public Liability Insurance for plumbers covers you if your work causes damages, such as property damage or injury, to any third parties while you’re working. It’ll cover not only any compensation you have to pay out, but also any legal costs you incur while preparing to defend yourself.

Employers’ Liability

Employers' Liability Insurance is a must-have if you’re a UK business employing staff, even if they’re your family members or they’re only working for you for a single day.

It’ll cover you in the event that an employee claims that their work for you caused them injury or illness, and like Public Liability will cover and legal expenses and compensation

Professional Indemnity

Professional Indemnity Insurance covers the cost of any damages your customers incur due to an advice or design you gave to them. Irrespective of the reasoning behind it (whether you made a genuine error, there was a miscommunication with the client or they’re just not happy with the result), Professional Indemnity will cover any financial damages the customer believes they’ve incurred, and your legal costs.

Tools and Equipment

If you use any specialist or expensive tools, it’s worth looking into Tools and Equipment insurance. It’ll pay for the value of an equivalent replacement if your tools are accidentally lost, damaged or stolen.

If you’re going to purchase a tools cover, make sure you have a good idea of the value of your tools, and how much it might cost you to replace them.

Salary Information

The average salary for a plumber in the UK is £31,428 per year. London is by far the most lucrative region of the country to ply your trade in, perhaps unsurprisingly, with plumbers in the capital earning £36,847 per year—nearly £4,000 more than their nearest competitors in the West Midlands. On the other side of the spectrum, a plumber in Wales or the East is likely to earn the least in the UK, with both regions averaging under £28,500 per year.

graph showing the average salary for plumbers in the UK
RegionAverage Salary
East£28,237
Wales£28,459
Yorkshire and The Humber£28,845
North West£28,934
South West£28,978
North East£29,614
Scotland£30,359
National Average£31,428
South East£32,177
West Midlands£32,676
London£36,847

Methodology

Quotes were gathered for a new plumbing business in NW London. No fewer than three quotes were averaged. You may find your own quotes higher or lower depending on the variables discussed.

Luke Masters

Luke is a freelance research associate. Prior to NimbleFins, he 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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