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Roofing Public Liability Insurance

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Roofing Public Liability Insurance

What insurance should a roofer have?

Roofing can be a dangerous job for the roofer, as they will be working at a height and will sometimes be exposed to wind, rain, snow or ice that can increase the risk of an accident occurring.  

But roofing can sometimes be dangerous for members of the public as well, with dropped tools or falling roof tiles potentially causing injuries to people down below. That’s why it would be a sensible idea to consider investing in roofing public liability insurance, which can protect the roofer or roofing company from the risk of public liability claims if an accident does happen. A standard roofer insurance policy may not offer you public liability coverage.

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Why would a roofer need public liability insurance? 

Accidents can happen anywhere, but when you’re working at elevated heights and are exposed to the elements there’s a higher risk that something might fall on a member of the public, whether they happen to be the property owner, a delivery person or simply a passerby on the street below.  

A public liability insurance claim in this scenario could devastate your roofing business’s finances – unless you have roofing public liability insurance in place at the time of the accident. 

Is public liability insurance a legal requirement for a roofing company? 

No, although some types of insurance are legally required in the UK, public liability insurance isn’t one of them.  

Of course, it’s still a good idea to invest in this type of insurance policy even though it isn’t mandated by law because a public liability claim could bankrupt your roofing business unless you have this type of insurance cover.  

Will customers insist that I have roofing liability insurance? 

Yes, that’s the one factor that might mean this type of insurance isn’t optional, even though it isn’t a legal requirement.  

Many homeowners will double-check that you have roofing insurance in place before they will allow you to work on their roof, and if you work for governmental or corporate clients like local authorities or office management companies then public liability insurance will usually be required under the terms of the contract.  

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

Homeowners may well be less concerned about the level of coverage you have, provided you do have a policy in place to protect against damages, but if you work for local authorities or corporate clients they will usually insist that you have at least £5 million public liability insurance coverage. 

What types of risks does public liability insurance protect roofers against? 

Public liability insurance is intended to protect your business from the financial burden of legal fees and compensation payouts in the event of an “insurable event”, which is an accident or other incident that is covered by your policy.  

The typical insurable events that will be covered by your public liability insurance policy include: 

  • A member of the public suffering an injury or death due to your roofing work 
  • A member of the public’s valuables being damaged or destroyed due to your roofing work 
  • A building, vehicle or other property being damaged or destroyed due to your roofing work. 

In each case, the public liability insurance policy will only cover the incident if you (or one of the employees in your roofing business) are in some way responsible for the incident occurring. 

What are the typical policy exclusions I might expect when I’m taking out roofer public liability insurance? 

As the name suggests, this type of policy is only intended to protect your roofing business from liability insurance claims brought by members of the public. That can include customers, delivery people, other service professionals and general passersby, but it specifically won’t include claims you might face from your own employees. You’ll need a separate employers’ liability insurance policy to cover you for those types of claims. 

Is roofing public liability insurance only suitable for self-employed roofers? 

No, while self-employed roofers can (and should) take out this type of policy, it can also be taken out by bigger roofing companies that employ dozens of roofing specialists.  

Of course, the policy will likely cost more for a big roofing company than it would for a self-employed roofer, and bigger companies might also need to consider opting for a higher coverage level of £5 million or even £10 million. 

Is it true my policy will cover my legal fees if I’m ever sued? 

The vast majority of public liability insurance policies will cover your legal fees if you are ever taken to court for a public liability claim, but it’s vital that you double-check the policy’s terms and conditions around this before you sign up for that policy, because the coverage and the list of exclusions can vary from one insurance provider to the next.  

How much does public liability insurance for a roofer cost, on average? 

The honest answer is “it depends”. 

The size of your roofing business, the location of that business, how long you’ve been trading, the types of customers you work for and the level of cover you want to take out can all influence the cost of your policy, and insurance providers will also give a slightly different weighting to each of those risk factors. 

The only way to get an accurate estimate for your own roofing business is to compare quotes from a range of different insurance providers, and then go with the one that offers the best policy at the cheapest price.  

If my roofing company employs staff will they be covered by my public liability insurance policy?  

No, public liability insurance is only designed to cover claims brought by members of the public, which means your own employees aren’t covered by this insurance. If one of your employees suffers an injury while they’re on the job and sues you for compensation it would be your employer’s liability insurance policy that would cover that claim, not your public liability cover. 

If you do employ staff it’s worth mentioning that this additional employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement in the UK.