In Victoria, theft from motor vehicles is the most commonly reported crime, with 70,000 cases in 2017, up almost 26% from 2015. Unfortunately, the target of these thefts is often tradies, who commonly report tools stolen from their vehicles overnight.
These thefts can be devastating for tradies, whose livelihoods, and often the livelihoods of the workers they employ, rely on these tools. A good set of tools can take decades, and thousands of dollars, to accumulate, and without a kit, you simply can’t do your job.
Yet, all too often, businesses are left crippled as a result of not having the right protection. While motor vehicle insurance might cover you if your ute is stolen, most policies won’t allow you to claim for tools that were stolen from your car.
And have you thought about damage to goods in transit?
Valuable furniture, materials and equipment are often not covered in the event of an accident. Or the opposite - perhaps you’re paying for expensive items that you simply don’t transport as a part of your everyday business.
There are risks associated with running any business, but the very nature of working in a trade means trades businesses face hazardous and risky situations every day. So it’s important to have the right insurance policy that’s tailored to the specific needs of your business.
When it comes to insurance for tradies, one size does not fit all.
What insurance does my trades business need?
The type of cover you’ll need in your trades business depends on many factors, including the size of your business. The cover you’ll need if you’re a sole trader is different from what you’ll need if you employ staff.
But regardless of the structure of your business, what remains the same is that all tradies, whether you’re a sparky, a plumber or a builder, should have insurance.
Public and Product Liability Insurance
Accidents happen. When you’re working long hours in hazardous sites with heavy tools, accidents can happen more often.
Public and Product Liability Insurance will protect you and your business if you’re sued for personal injury or property damage to a third party – that includes the general public, your customers and their property, and suppliers and contractors.
If someone on your team accidentally knocks a customer’s priceless painting off a wall, or a visitor to your site trips and fractures their ankle, Public and Product Liability Insurance could save your business tens of thousands of dollars.
Most tradies already know that Public and Product Liability Insurance is a must have, but it’s important to get the cover that’s tailored to the kind of work you do and the clients you work with. For smaller businesses, a $5M policy might be the best option. On the other hand, for businesses working with large industrial sites, shopping centres and government clients, a $20M minimum level of cover could be required before you can even set foot on site.
Tools of Trade Insurance
If your tools are damaged, lost or stolen, there’ll be little point in showing up to your next job. Without your tools, you simply can’t work. That’s why Tools of Trade Insurance is so important. It allows you to replace your lost or stolen gear so you can get back on the tools, and back to work, with minimal downtime.
Commercial Motor Insurance
Perhaps you own a single ute that you use to haul your gear from job to job, or maybe your business owns and operates a fleet of 30 vehicles. Regardless of what you’re driving, Commercial Vehicle Insurance will protect your business vehicle if it’s damaged or stolen. In fact, as long as the vehicle is primarily used for business, any vehicle, whether it’s a fleet of semi-trailers, a single ute or a BMW, can be classified as a commercial vehicle.
On the other hand, if you don’t notify your insurer that you use your vehicle for work, they may deny a claim that relates to its use in your business. Tradies often opt to insure their vehicles with basic car insurance, only to be stung when their insurance companies won’t cover a claim.
Workers Compensation Insurance
According to Safe Work Australia, tradies make up 58% of serious claims for workers’ compensation. From 2014 to 2015 there were 190 serious claims every single day.
There’s no doubt that working in a trade can be dangerous, so having Workers Compensation Insurance is critical. In fact, in Australia, it’s compulsory for most employers.
If one of your workers is injured while doing their job, Workers Compensation will cover their wages and medical costs, ensuring that your employee isn’t left in the lurch while they’re unable to work and that they feel supported to get back to work as soon as possible.
Income Protection Insurance
While many tradies think they don’t need income protection if they’re already covered by Workers Compensation, this isn’t always the case. Firstly, Workers Compensation isn’t available to everyone. Because sole traders aren’t considered employees, they won't be covered.
If you’re a sole trader, Income Protection Insurance could be a good alternative for protecting you and your family if you’re unable to work for an extended period of time due to injury or illness. In fact, a lot of site managers won’t let you start work without it.
Having extra protection can be beneficial for any tradie who is injured outside of work or falls seriously ill – these events won’t be covered by Workers Compensation, so Income Protection is a good backup if you’re unable to earn an income.
How to protect your trades business
The world of insurance can be complex, and insurance companies don’t make it any easier. A lot of tradies give up, or opt for the first policy they’re offered, just to avoid mountains of paperwork or hours spent on the phone with a faceless call centre employee. Who could blame them?
But the result is that you might end up with an insurance policy that isn’t appropriate for your business’s needs. It might only cover the basics, leaving your businesses open to less obvious, but no less serious, risks, or you might be paying for items you don’t even need. There’s no point in having Goods In Transit Insurance if your business doesn’t transport any property.
Working with an insurance broker like BlueRock Insurance means you don’t have to deal directly with insurers, and because insurance brokers work for you, not the insurance companies, they will always put your interests first.
When you’re working with a broker, the person you talk to over the phone is the same person working with you to get the best possible policy for your business. It’s this close relationship that allows them to truly understand your business and provide a policy that is specifically tailored to you and your insurance needs, without the paperwork.
If you’d like to sign up for a free audit of your current insurance policy or want to chat to a member of the BlueRock Insurance team about how to protect your business, get in touch today.