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How do I know if I need developer insurance?


If you’re a self-employed property developer, or you own a small business that specialises in property development, you would be expected to cover any legal costs and compensation pay-outs yourself if a member of the public was injured on one of your construction sites and you didn’t have suitable insurance in place at the time of the accident.

Given the relatively risky nature of construction sites, many property developers do decide to invest in property developer insurance, which can help to protect them against the financial risk these types of liability claims might otherwise pose.

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Is property development insurance mandatory in the UK?

It isn’t mandatory from a legal point of view, because property development insurance is a type of public liability insurance and this type of policy isn’t a legal requirement in the UK.

However, it might be mandatory from a contractual perspective, because many mortgage lenders will include clauses in their mortgage agreements that require you to take out property developer buildings insurance in order to insure the actual building (or buildings). Failure to do so could mean you’d be in breach of contract.

However, it’s worth considering property developer insurance even if your mortgage lender doesn’t insist on it, because this type of policy can offer property developers protection against potentially very costly liability claims in exchange for a relatively cheap premium.

What does property development insurance cover?

Property developer insurance can cover you if a member of the public is injured and it is alleged that the accident occurred due to some sort of negligence on your part.

For example, if a member of the public was injured by falling debris while visiting your site and they argued that the injury occurred because you failed to take the necessary safety precautions, you could be hit with a public liability claim.

Similarly, if someone’s property or belongings were damaged due to a mistake you made, that person could also sue you for damages.

Public liability insurance for property developers should cover you against the resulting legal fees and compensation pay-outs in either of those cases.

Can I still be held liable if someone is injured while trespassing on my construction site?

Possibly.

Landowners owe a duty of care to people visiting their land, and in some cases that duty of care does extend to trespassers, even though they shouldn’t be there.

Under section 1(3) of the Occupiers Liability Act 1984, landowners in England and Wales may owe a duty of care to people trespassing on their land if:

  • The landowner knows of the danger, or should know of it, and
  • The landowner is aware of the fact that people do frequently (or even occasionally) trespass on their land, and should therefore expect that these trespassers might be at risk.

Of course, if you’re a property developer you probably don’t expect people to trespass on your construction site, but it could be argued that you need to ensure the site is locked and secure at all times outside work hours in order to prevent trespassing.

How much does property development insurance cost?

Insurance companies use a wide range of variables when calculating the premium for your property developer insurance, so it’s almost impossible to indicate how much a policy might cost.

For instance, your location, the crime rate in that area, the level of coverage you’d like to take out, whether or not you’ve claimed on a public liability insurance policy in the past and whether or not you’d like to bundle other types of cover into your property developer insurance policy will all affect the premiums you’re quoted.

The best plan is to use Quotezone.co.uk’s insurance comparison service to compare property developer insurance quotes from a range of different providers, and then go with the one that offers the best policy at the most competitive price.

What add-ons should I consider adding to my builder insurance policy?

Public liability insurance for property developers is the core element of any property development insurance policy, but it is possible to bundle other optional add-ons with your PLI cover in order to ensure you have well-rounded protection.

Some of the add-ons you can bundle with your liability cover include:

  • Employers’ liability insurance: If you are a self-employed property developer and you always work alone you might not need this type of add-on, but if you do employ other people then you’re legally obliged to have employers’ liability insurance in place.
  • Professional indemnity insurance: This add-on covers you if you are held liable because advice or expertise you provided resulted in some kind of loss for your customer.