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Cleaners Insurance

Do cleaners need any insurance for services?

If you work for a cleaning company, you probably don’t need cleaners insurance, as the onus is on your employer to carry suitable insurance to protect their business. This would include paying an ACC work levy to provide accident compensation for you as an employee in case you ever fall ill or are injured at work.

But if you’re a cleaning contractor working for yourself OR a cleaning business, then as well as paying ACC, cleaners insurance is a must-have purchase. That’s because there are a myriad of risks you face every day that, without protection, could prevent you from earning a living or even worse, could lead to your financial ruin.

Cleaners insurance quick tips

Insurance requirements

injured person

Public liability insurance

Accidents happen and when you’re in and out of people’s homes, you’re responsible for any damage you cause. For example, public liability insurance can protect you if you break a mirror, knock over a vase or ruin a rug.

  • Required


Portable equipment

Professional vacuums, carpet cleaners and and floor polishers aren’t cheap. For example, portable equipment cover can pay for a replacement if someone steals equipment from your van or or if your tools break on the job.

  • Required

What risks do sole trader cleaners face?

If you are a cleaner operating as a sole trader, you are personally responsible for your business. Every aspect of your business, both legal and financial, is your responsibility and if something goes wrong, the buck stops with you. That means if monies are owed for outstanding debts or to cover fines or legal costs, personal assets such as your home and car could be in the firing line.

What types of business insurance should cleaners consider?

If you are a cleaner working for yourself, there are various types of insurance covers you might want to consider to protect your interests including;

  • Public Liability Insurance – this pays your defence, legal and court costs plus any compensation awarded against you arising from a claim of accidental injury or property damage caused by your business.
  • Business Insurance – this covers your general property such as essential cleaning equipment against theft or damage anywhere in New Zealand, whether on or off the job.
  • Personal Accident & Illness Insurance – ACC may pay some of the costs towards medical treatment and rehabilitation for an accident, but it won’t cover illness, infections, disease or age-related conditions. You may want a more comprehensive cover that covers you if you are temporarily unable to work because of an illness or injury.

If you still aren’t sure whether you need cleaners insurance, the following examples may illustrate why it can be very useful to have:

Real life examples

Example 1: A cleaner contracted by a mall failed to post a Wet Floor sign after mopping up a spill and an elderly female shopper slipped and broke her ankle, requiring surgery and a lengthy recovery in hospital. The woman was unable to sue the owners of the mall, so she lodged a claim against the cleaner for negligence and was awarded $50,000 in damages. Without cleaners insurance, the cleaner was forced to wind up his business and take out a second mortgage on his house to cover the compensation bill.

Example 2: A sole-trader cleaner contracted by an accountancy firm accidentally spilled a cleaning agent on their antique boardroom table, causing permanent damage to the mahogany surface. The firm of accountants lodged a claim against the cleaner for the cost of a new table, which because of the rare nature of the timber involved, was around $115,000. Fortunately, the cleaner had Public Liability Insurance, which covered the entire cost, otherwise she would have been personally liable for replacing the table.

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