Frequently Asked Questions – Construction Liability Insurance 


Need to buy Public Liability Insurance but don’t quite understand what cover is provided or how much you should have? Read our frequently asked questions guide for the construction industry.


What is public liability insurance for contractors and builders?
The construction trade can be a hazardous industry, you want to protect your business and the general public in the event that something goes wrong.

Public and Products Liability Insurance covers accidents for bodily injury to third parties or property damage which arise in the course of your daily activities, for example damage to a client’s premises or neighbouring property whilst you are undertaking work.

Unlike Employers Liability Insurance, Public liability Insurance is not a legal requirement for businesses in the UK. But if you don’t have it and third party makes a claim against you, the impact on you and your business could be catastrophic.   Accidents on worksite can happen at anytime, even when risks assessments have been carried out and safety briefings haven place.

How much does Public Liability Insurance Cost?
This can vary dramatically depending on a number of factors such as the type of work undertaken, as well as the turnover, the number of years a business has been trading, what limit they require and if there have any claims. Typically Public Liability Insurance arranged on per capita (person) basis can range from £80 for a trade considered low risk, such as general builder, to £800 for trades such as a scaffolder, roofer or plumber.
When might someone make a liability claim against a business or contractor?
There are lots of situations when contractors might find themselves facing a liability insurance claim. For example:

If a member of the public is killed or injured as a result of your work.  This could happen if plant, materials or hoardings are obstructing a path and someone trips over it or if materials fall from above!


If your work damages someone else’s property. You might put a scaffold pole through someone’s window or damage a neighbouring property by going through pipework.

What will public liability insurance cover a contractor for?
Depending on your policy, it could cover any legal defence costs, third party medical expenses and any compensation that is awarded to a third party.
How much Public Liability cover should a contractor hold?
Nowadays, it is becoming more prevalent for Contractors to be asked to have enhanced limits for their Contractors Liability Insurance and at Clarke Williams can provide Public Liability limits from £1,000,000 to £10,000,000.

This limit is set by you based upon your requirements. When choosing this limit, you will need to decide how much cover you think you will require. This may depend of various factors such as type of clients, works undertaken or the size of contracts being work on. It is worth noting that many local authorities or large commercial clients would expect a limit of £5,000,000 as a minimum.

Do builders and contractors need Employers’ Liability Insurance?
If you employ anyone other than yourself or a direct family members, then the short answer is yes. It’s also a legal requirement if you employ anyone even temps or labour only subcontractors.

Employers Liability Insurance covers you for liability arising from employees who sustain an injury or illness during the course of their employment with you. It is a legal requirement for all employers within the UK to hold this cover and the minimum statutory limit is £5,000,000 however most insurers provide £10,000,000 as standard

You may need Employers Liability Insurance for someone who works for you if:

  • You have the right to control where and when they work and how they do it
  • You deduct national insurance and income tax from the money you pay them
  • You supply their work materials, a van or equipment
  • Your contract states that you are responsible for their actions and supervision
What is Contract Works Insurance?
If you’re working on a large building project, you might want to consider Contract Works Insurance.

It covers work in the course of construction before it is handed over to the principal or employer on practical completion. It can pay to repair or to redo the work that is in progress if it is damaged by an insured event e.g. fire, flood, storm, vandalism or theft and includes both the permanent and temporary works.

It can cover the cost of materials, labour and tools to put the site back to the position it was before the loss occurred.

How can I compare builders and contractors insurance quotes?
Speak to one of our advisors over the phone and let them do all the hard work. We compare the market on your behalf so that you don’t have to. We will provide a breakdown of the cover with our recommendation of insurance and advise you of which insurers we have approached.
Do all contractors need Professional Indemnity Insurance?

If they carry out any form of design work or give advice, we would recommend it. Construction Professional Indemnity Insurance, which also known as Design and Construct Professional Indemnity, is designed to protect contractors and sub contracted specialists, such as electrical engineers, or façade contractors for allegations relating to errors in their work or incorrect design.

On larger builds the principle contractor may provide the design or contract the services of an architect or engineer. But that doesn’t mean that a builder or air conditioning engineer is off the hook and shouldn’t hold Professional Indemnity to cover themselves for their involvement in a design and build contract.

What about tools insurance?
Most contractors will own a large number of tools and equipment, which they have purchased over a number of years. In the event that they are damaged or stolen they will be expensive to replace.

We can provide cover for tools, plant and hired equipment as well as solutions for items that are left overnight in a van.

Want to speak to one of our specialists?

Call or email us today for a comprehensive insurance policy at a competitive price.

Telephone: 01732 252898

Or email us using the form below.

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    Clarke Williams Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under reference 758683. The Financial Conduct Authority’s Register can be accessed through . We are registered in England and Wales with Companies House under number 10317065. Our registered office address is Blue Bell Court, Sovereign Way, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1FU.
    Clarke Williams Ltd
    Blue Bell Court
    Sovereign Way
    TN9 1FU
    Tel: 01732 252 898
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