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The complete contractor’s guide to business insurance


If you are a contractor or tradesperson, you’ll know that your insurance needs are a little different to those of standard white collar workers.

With an increasing number of the Australian workforce earning a living as freelancers and contractors, both contractors themselves and businesses that employ them need access to the facts on business insurance.

Here’s a complete guide to business insurance for contractors and tradespeople.

  1. What is contractors’ business insurance?

Simply explained, contractors’ business insurance is a policy option for anyone who contracts their services to other companies or individuals.

It is a type of business insurance that covers you for liability for damage or injury that you cause while on a work site. Some of the most popular types of cover include:

  • General property
  • Public and products liability
  • Fire and defined events
  • Personal accident and illness
  1. Business insurance products explained

These insurance policies cover you for different aspects of your working obligations as a contractor. Here’s how they stack up:

  • General property – This product covers you for negligent acts associated with your business that result in personal injury or property damage.
  • Public and products liability – Similar to general property, public and products liability also protects you against negligent acts that result in personal injury or property damage.
  • Fire and defined events – This business insurance product protects your business in the event of a fire, explosion, lightning, earthquake, or damage from falling trees, storm damage and malicious damage. This product usually encompasses your business property, buildings, contents, tools, equipment and stock. This can be really beneficial for contractors who have registered their homes as their office.
  • Personal accident and illness – This product is a great option for contractors or the self-employed who may not have access to sick leave. Personal accident and illness protects your income in the event that you should become ill or injured and unable to perform your usual work duties.

There are numerous business insurance categories available – all tailored to different industries and professions.

Levels of cover and benefits can vary from one insurance company to another, so it’s best to shop around for the insurance that best suits your needs.

  1. What does contractors’ business insurance cover?

A contractor or tradesperson’s business insurance policy is usually threefold; it covers you, the business or individual you are contracted to, as well as any member of the public affected by your work.

Full protection should be available to cover such areas as accidental damage to property and equipment, as well as full liability protection for medical, legal and compensation costs.

  1. What doesn’t it cover?

Generally speaking, a contractors’ or tradespersons’ business insurance policy will not cover you for deliberate acts of malice. Likewise, you will likely find that your business insurance provider will not renew your policy if you demonstrate ongoing negligent behaviour.

  1. Is it compulsory?

If you are a tradesperson, freelancer, sole trader or contractor, you will generally find that your work prospects will improve if you have a comprehensive business insurance policy tailored to your needs.

In fact, you are required to have business insurance cover if you wish to contract to government organisation and some large corporations. This is the case even for freelancers in the digital industry where there are fewer safety risks.

Many companies prefer to hire contractors who have their own business insurance, so that their business is protected in the event of any unfortunate circumstances.

Having your own business insurance policy may seem like an afterthought, rather than a priority for many people. But for tradespeople, contractors and the self-employed, protecting yourself against potential lawsuits – even if you are wrongfully sued – or loss of income due to illness or injury is absolutely essential.