Carpenter insurance

Find out what type of carpenter insurance you need and what's included in the cover.

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What is carpenter insurance?

Carpenter insurance is business insurance designed for carpenters.

The specifications will depend on your requirements, but the policy will usually include things like public liability, professional indemnity and cover for tools.

Why do carpenters need insurance?

Carpenters do highly skilled work, but it can pose dangers both to themselves and to members of the public. Additionally, it leaves them open to legal action by dissatisfied customers, even through no fault of their own.

Other than the liability risk, carpenters usually own and carry a lot of expensive tools and rely on these to work. Insurance can protect these against damage, loss and theft, and help you get back to work as soon as possible.

What does carpenter insurance cover?

Cover will vary by insurer and will depend on your requirements, but carpenter and joiner insurance usually includes the following elements:

  • Professional indemnity insurance. Indemnity insurance is important for carpenters, especially if you work on high profile or large scale projects for clients. Even the most skilled and experienced carpenter can make mistakes and indemnity insurance protects you in case action is taken against you by someone who was harmed. This also works in case a misunderstanding leads to a client being dissatisfied with your work.
  • Personal accident insurance. A carpenter often works with dangerous tools, so it’s not just others who can be harmed, you can be injured too. Personal accident insurance covers you in case you suffer an injury that means you cannot work.
  • Public liability insurance. Public liability cover protects you in case a member of the public is injured or their property is damaged and your business is responsible. For example, if someone trips on a piece of your equipment while you’re working in a public space.
  • Cover for tools and equipment. Carpenters often carry expensive tools they rely on to do their work. This type of cover protects these items against damage, loss and theft. If you travel to see customers, you should look at tools insurance that includes cover while the equipment is in transit and away from your office or home.
  • Employers’ liability insurance. If you employ staff (including apprentices), you are legally required to take out employers’ liability insurance, to protect both your employees and yourself against legal action.
  • Van cover. Many carpenters use a van to get around while working. Commercial van insurance usually includes cover for equipment, as well as other benefits found in regular car insurance. It’s important to note that most car insurance policies don’t include business use, so it’s worth checking the details of your policy if you use your car for work purposes.

Other types of cover you might wish to take out include:

  • Contract work cover. This type of insurance is specific to the construction industry and covers the cost of repairing or redoing work due to instances such as flood or fire damage, as well as damage to a third party.
  • Own/hired-in plant. If your work involves the use or lease of a piece of plant, this covers you against the risk of the plant being stolen or damaged.
  • Business contents insurance. If you have dedicated premises for your business, contents insurance can cover things like furniture and equipment against a list of insured incidents (like flood and fire damage), as well as help to replace other contents and your employees’ personal belongings if they’re damaged, lost or stolen. You can also take out buildings insurance to cover the fabric of the building, including fixtures and fittings, but consider whether you’d be better off simply fixing any issues yourself, as claiming might mean higher premiums on renewal. If you rent your premises, buildings insurance might be covered by the landlord.

Common claims examples

  • Repairs gone wrong. Even highly skilled and experienced carpenters can sometimes make mistakes, it’s only human. Unfortunately, when it comes to carpentry, this can have severe consequences. For example, you build some shelving for a customer, but something goes wrong and the shelving unit later collapses, causing items on it to break. Having professional indemnity insurance in place can help with any compensation claims the customer might make, as well as your legal costs.
  • Accidents on site. If you are fixing something on a work site and another person working there trips on a piece of your equipment, this might lead to action against you. Public liability cover can help you with legal expenses and any compensation payments you might have to pay.
  • Stolen tools. As a carpenter, you rely on your tools for your livelihood. If someone breaks into your house or car and steals your tools, having carpenter insurance that includes cover for tools can help you get back to work as soon as possible.

How can I get a good deal on carpenter insurance?

The definition of a good deal will be personal to you, as each carpenter will have a different set of requirements for business insurance.

The best way to find the best deal for you is to compare carpenter insurance policies. When you shop around, remember that cheapest doesn’t mean best. Make sure you get the sufficient level of cover to suit your carpentry business to avoid being left out of pocket.

What cover limit do I legally need as a carpenter?

The only insurance that is a legal requirement is employers’ liability cover if you employ staff.

While other elements of carpenter and joiner insurance are not legally required, they are highly recommended. This is particularly true of public liability and professional indemnity cover, as those claims can go up to millions of pounds, depending on the circumstances.

How much does carpenter insurance cost?

The cost of business insurance is always an individual thing and is affected by a number of personal factors relating to both you and your business.

Cover from our partner Superscript starts from £5.13 per month for the Essential policy, and £7.58 per month for the Professional policy.

What if I’m self-employed?

If you are self-employed, setting up your own business insurance policy is extremely important.

For carpenters who are employed as permanent members of staff by a company, the responsibility to cover you against public liability and professional indemnity claims lies with your employer.

Other types of cover, like insurance for tools and your van or car, may not be provided by your employer, so it’s best to check.

Self-employed carpenters have to take care of all of these bits of cover themselves. If you are self-employed, you might want to take out personal accident or business interruption cover for protection in case something happens that means you can’t work.

What other types of business insurance does a carpenter need?

The kind of cover you need will depend on the nature of your business.

We’ve covered all the essentials above, but you might want to consider other things, like legal expenses cover. Some insurers also offer life insurance elements, like accidental death cover and short term income protection, that you can add to your policy.

Frequently asked questions

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