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Electricians’ Public Liability Insurance

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Public Liability Insurance for Electricians

Modern society couldn’t function without electricity, but its power is a double-edged sword because electricity can also pose a serious risk to members of the public if there’s ever a problem with your electrical work. Faulty electrics can result in an electrical fire that could damage property or cause physical injuries to occupants, which in turn result in costly public liability claims if you’re held liable.  

That’s why it would be a wise decision to consider investing in public liability insurance for electricians, which can protect you from the financial fallout of a public liability claim if the worst does happen.  

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Is public liability insurance a legal requirement for an electrician? 

No, electricians aren’t legally obliged to take out electricians’ public liability insurance in the UK. 

However, you might have a contractual obligation to have this type of insurance, even though it isn’t mandated by law. For instance, if you do electrical work for a city council or local authority it’s likely that the contract you sign with them might include a clause that stipulates that you have to have this type of public liability insurance in hand before you proceed with work on their properties. 

Also, many trade bodies make public liability insurance obligatory when you decide to join them. For example, the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) requires all NICEIC-registered electrical contractors to have at least £2 million of public liability coverage. 

What level of coverage do I need when I’m taking out public liability insurance for an electrician? 

If you are a member of a trade body like the NICEIC then you’ll usually be required to take out £2 million or £5 million of public liability cover, and if you work for government agencies or local authorities they will usually insist you have £5 million of coverage. 

If you’re deciding on what level of coverage to go for yourself then £2 million and £5 million are the most common levels, although if your electrical business is relatively small you might decide that £1 million of cover is enough. 

Is electricians’ public liability insurance only suitable for self-employed electricians? 

No, whether you’re a self-employed electrician or you’re the owner of a bigger electrical services company, you can take out public liability insurance for electricians. 

Of course, the size of your business is likely to influence your premium, so you may well end up paying a bit more for your policy if you’re insuring a big electrical services company than you would if you were a self-employed electrician.  

The size of your business is also likely to influence the amount of coverage you opt for – bigger electrical companies may need to consider £5 million or even £10 million of public liability coverage, whereas sole traders might decide that £1 or £2 million of coverage is enough for their needs. 

What types of risks does public liability insurance for an electrician actually protect me against? 

Public liability insurance is intended to protect you or your business against the risk of a liability claim if someone is injured or killed, or their property is damaged or destroyed, and the incident occurs due to your work. Some of the typical scenarios that are likely to be covered by a good electricians’ public liability insurance policy will likely include: 

  • A property that is damaged or destroyed by an electrical fire that occurred due to your electrical work on the property 
  • A member of the public that is injured or killed by a fire or electric shock 
  • A member of the public’s valuables that are damaged by an electrical fire or electrical surge 

Does every public liability insurance policy cover legal fees? 

Some of the cheaper public liability insurance policies for electricians might not include legal cover as standard, in which case you might need to pay an additional fee to bundle this with your policy as an optional add-on. 

However, with most electrician PLI policies this will be included as part of your standard cover, so it’s important to read your policy’s small print to double-check this. 

How much does public liability insurance for an electrician cost, on average? 

The cost of a public liability insurance policy for an electrician will depend on a host of different risk factors, and the insurance provider you decide to go with will also play a big role in that premium calculation.  

For example, the type of electrical work you specialise in, the type of customers you serve, the location of your electrician business and the size of your business can all alter the cost of your electrician liability insurance. 

You could also choose between a range of different coverage levels when you’re taking out electrician public liability insurance. This can also influence the cost of your policy. 

With that in mind, the best plan is to compare policies from several different public liability insurance providers, and then go with the one that offers the most comprehensive policy at the most competitive price.  

Do I still need my own public liability insurance policy if I’m a subcontractor? 

No, if you’re an electrical subcontractor you’ll usually be covered by the contractor’s own public liability insurance policy, which means you might not have to take out your own insurance. 

Of course, if you do any additional electrical work over and above your sub-contracting work you won’t be covered for that unless you supplement the contractor’s policy with your own insurance policy.  

Is it true I need employer’s liability insurance as well as my electricians’ PLI? 

Yes, if you employ staff in your electrical services business you will need an employers’ liability insurance policy, which is a separate type of insurance.  

The reason your employees won’t be covered by your PLI is that (as the name suggests) public liability insurance is only designed to cover claims brought by members of the public, which means your own employees aren’t covered. 

If you do employ staff it’s worth mentioning that employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement in the UK, unlike PLI which isn’t mandated by law.