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Why do I need insurance for my carpentry or joinery business?

If you are running a carpentry or joinery business, you’ll want to keep overheads low. One of the questions you may have then is whether you really need insurance, or if it’s an expense you can do without.

Am I legally required to have insurance?

Employers’ liability insurance protects you should a current or former employee suffer an illness or injury as a result of working for you.

If you employ anyone, including trainees and apprentices, you are legally required to have employers’ liability insurance. If you don’t have insurance, you can be fined £2,500 per day.

Am I contractually required to have insurance?

Public liability insurance is deigned to protect you and your business in the event something you do, or fail to do, causes harm to someone, or damages their property. 
This covers a range of possibilities, e.g. damage to a property due to work you’ve done there, or injury caused to a passer-by who trips over your tools or offcuts.

These types of claims are surprisingly common and can be very costly.

Be aware: some larger clients and public sector organisations may insist you have public liability insurance as part of the terms of your contract with them.

If it’s not a contractual requirement, do I still need public liability insurance?

If you come into contact with clients or the public, you may want to consider being insured. A large claim against you that you cannot pay may put you out of business.

You may also find that trades associations require you to have it in order to become a member. It also reinforces your credibility as a reputable business.

Is there any other kind of insurance I need?

If you are giving advice about design and specifications as part of your work, then you could need professional indemnity insurance. This protects you in the event your advice is wrong or negligent, resulting in a financial loss for the client.

You should also consider insuring your tools. If your tools are stolen you cannot work. This means you may lose income, will be unable to complete contracts on time, and risk damaging your reputation.

If you have insurance your tools will be replaced quickly, allowing you to get back to work.

How much is insurance going to cost for my carpentry or joinery business?

This will depend on several factors, including:

  • how your business is set up (i.e. a sole trader, limited company, or partnership)
  • how many employees you have
  • where you work
  • the sorts of projects that you take on.

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