|Roofers face more
insurance worries than many other businesses. As well as the possibility of
damaging the building you are working on (public liability) and insuring
your van or lorry, you need to check that your sub-contractors also carry
public liability insurance. You also need to ensure that if you ever use any
heat source (such as a hot-air gun or a bitumen boiler) that this is
declared to your insurance company. Some insurers even consider that a
soldering iron as a heat source!
and all of the other businesses and workers that help you with your
contract, such as labourers and scaffolders, and your insurer will expect
you to keep written evidence that you have seen it (such as providing a copy
of their public liability insurance certificate).
may have a copy of their public liability insurance certificate, only to
find that their policy was not valid. Unfortunately, we do find that a lot
of businesses cancel their insurance not long after taking out the policy
and we suspect that in many cases it was only purchased to obtain their
certificate. Additionally, an increasing number of people are buying their
insurance via internet comparison websites and entering false information in
order to obtain cheaper premiums. The end result of this is that their
policy will not pay out any claims because they have made a false
|It is a fact that
this makes the sub-contractors personally liable, however unless they can
pay thousands (or tens of thousands) of pounds, it is unlikely they will be
able to compensate the claimant and the claim will be bouncing back to you.
Your insurance policy will need a “contingency liability” clause if
your insurers are going to entertain the idea of paying the claim
can include a sub-contractor under your insurance policy – we call these
workers “labour-only sub-contractors” and the ones that carry their
own insurance, supply their own tools and materials and work under their own
direction “bona-fide sub-contractors.”
sub-contract to another contractor, you must make certain that you have an
“indemnity to principal” extension.
|A quick check list
of things to insure
- Do you own your workshop? If so, you
need buildings insurance of course!
- Add up the new cost of your equipment
plus stock and arrange workshop (or commercial combined) contents cover.
- If you are a tenant, do you have a
responsibility for anything your landlord has provided such as a shop
front (including the glass)? This can usually be added to a workshop
- If you are a tenant, did you do anything
to your workshop when you moved in – such as decorating, build a
counter, sign writing on the glass or install more cables? If so, add
tenants improvements extension to the salon policy because if this was
damaged in, for example, a fire, your landlord will probably not be
- Make sure you have public liability
cover for visitors to your workshop (sometimes this is referred to as
“property owners” liability
- You will need to have public liability
in case you damage your customer’s property or hurt them.
- Do you use your car or motorcycle for
work? If so, tell your insurers because social domestic and pleasure
cover won’t be satisfactory and commuting only insures you for driving
between your home and workplace.
- If you employ any staff, or you are not
the sole worker in a limited company, you will require employer’s
liability by law.
- Your van or lorry
Don’t forget yourself! If you have an accident or fall ill, you may be
earning no (or less) money. A personal accident and sickness policy is a
simple solution, although your financial adviser can advise upon a wider
range of solutions.
|When you buy
public liability insurance, check these points
- Have you declared all of your work?
- Have you advised all of your work
places? There will always be excluded work places (such as nuclear power
plants or even factories) and usually height limits (an exclusion of
buildings above 15 meters height is very common)
- Does it cover the use of any heat? If
you ever use heat and the use is excluded, the insurers can decline a
claim even if heat wasn’t used, because you have made a false
declaration to obtain the insurance.
- Does it cover the use of
- Does it include “contingency liability”
- Does it include “indemnity to principal”
- What is the excess? We have seen
excesses as high as £10,000. Unless you can put your hands on this sort
of money within a few weeks (and can afford it), we think you should
find a policy with a lower excess! Bear in mind that heat-related claims
often have a higher excess.
businessman makes sure they have all of the relevant insurance policies in
place as soon as their business starts – and makes sure they are all renewed
when they are due!
|The only insurance
policies you require by law will be motor insurance for your vehicles and
employer’s liability insurance if you have any staff. You may be surprised
to learn that if you are the owner of a limited company but are not the sole
worker (your partner may help you with paperwork for example), then you will
require employer’s liability for yourself.
|It is at this
point that I should really recommend that you pick up the phone and speak to
a professional advisor about insurance rather than trawl through the
internet and hope to stumble upon a website that might be relevant to you –
unless you try mine of course!
And if you use heat and have been looking around
for insurance already, you may have found that virtually nobody wants to
|Well, the good
news is that there are specialist providers around, and at Versatile
www.versatileinsurance.co.uk .We welcome enquiries from roofers that use
heat. We already insure many, many businesses like yours all around the
country and are keen to build upon our success.