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Public liability insurance for plumbers

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Public Liability Insurance for Plumbers

Plumbers will often be called on to fix the plumbing issues that might result in a home insurance claim for the homeowner, but if the plumber’s own work causes additional damage (or even worse, injury to the homeowner or another member of the public) they could face their own claim for compensation. In that scenario, the plumber would have to cover the resulting legal fees and compensation payouts themselves – unless they had suitable public liability insurance for plumbers. Standard plumber insurance may not cover you for public liability costs.

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Do I have to take out plumbers’ public liability insurance? 

Plumbers aren’t legally obliged to take out plumbers’ public liability insurance, but some customers might insist that you have this type of insurance in place before you undertake any plumbing work on their property.  

In addition, some trade bodies make public liability insurance one of the contractual obligations when you join, so you might have to take out PLI if you become a member of a professional trade body for plumbers. 

However, even when this type of insurance isn’t required it’s still a wise investment for any business or sole trader that deals with members of the public daily because one public liability claim could be enough to bankrupt your business if you don’t have the right insurance in place. 

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

If you do plumbing work for government agencies, local authorities or large corporate customers they will often insist that you have £5 Million Public Liability Insurance

If you generally only work on residential properties you will likely find that many homeowners are less concerned about the actual amount of coverage you have, provided you do have some level of coverage in place. 

Is this type of policy designed for self-employed plumbers or big plumbing businesses? 


The insurance provider will ask questions about your plumbing business when you’re getting a quote, including the size of your business and whether you’re a sole trader or an LTD with employees. In either case, you should be able to find suitable public liability insurance, although if you’re insuring a bigger plumbing company you’re likely to have to pay a bit more for your policy than a sole trader might do.  

The size of your plumbing business is also likely to play some part in the level of coverage you decide to go for, with larger plumbing businesses often opting for a minimum of £5 million of coverage, while self-employed plumbers might decide that £1 million or £2 million is enough.  

What types of risks does plumbers’ public liability insurance insure me against? 

Public liability insurance is intended to protect your plumbing business against the risk of a liability claim if a member of the public is ever injured or killed, or their property is damaged or destroyed, and you (or one of your employees) is held liable. Some of the typical scenarios that are likely to be covered by a good plumbers’ public liability insurance policy include: 

  • Accidental damage to a property’s walls, doors, floors or contents during the course of your work 
  • A member of the public that is injured by your plumbing equipment 
  • Accidental damage to a member of the public’s car is caused by your plumbing equipment. 

Does every plumber’s liability insurance policy cover legal fees? 

With the vast majority of plumbers’ liability insurance policies, your plumbing business should be able to claim for legal fees if you’re ever taken to court by a member of the public, and then if the claimant wins their case the resulting compensation should be covered as well. 

Do I have to pay an excess when I claim on my plumbers’ liability insurance? 

Yes, your plumbers’ public liability insurance will include an excess, which you’ll have to pay yourself if you ever need to claim on your insurance.  

The size of this excess can vary quite considerably from one insurance provider to the next, so it’s important to double-check the policy’s terms and conditions before you sign on that dotted line.  

How much does public liability insurance for a plumber usually cost? 

The cost of a public liability insurance policy for a plumber will depend on a whole host of different risk factors, and the insurance provider you decide to go with will also give a different weight to each of those factors. 

For instance, the size of your plumbing business, the location of the business, the types of customers you serve and the types of plumbing work you generally undertake for those customers can all influence the cost of your insurance. 

Your history of public liability insurance claims will also be taken into account, and the amount of coverage you need will influence the premium as well.  

With that in mind, the best plan is to compare plumbers’ public liability insurance policies from a number of different 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 plumbing subcontractor? 

No, if you’re a subcontractor you should be covered by the contractor’s own public liability insurance policy, which means you might not need your own policy. 

Of course, if you do any work for other customers on the side then you still consider taking out your own PLI, because the contractor’s insurance wouldn’t cover those cases. 

Does plumbers’ public liability insurance cover compensation claims by the employees of my plumbing business? 

No, public liability insurance for plumbers will only cover you against liability claims by members of the public. This can include your own customers, visitors, delivery people or other service providers, but specifically won’t include your employees because they aren’t classed as members of the public. 

To cover your business against employee liability claims you’ll need employers’ liability insurance, and if you do employ staff it’s worth mentioning that this particular type of policy is legally required in the UK.