Contractor Guides

Do I still need public liability if I`m working from home?

With the work-from-home rule still being in effect, that’s exactly where most contractors are working from right now. It’s still…

Author Photo by Kingsbridge

With the work-from-home rule still being in effect, that’s exactly where most contractors are working from right now. It’s still unclear exactly when this rule will be lifted as the government have it under review as lockdown restrictions ease, but it’s likely to be one of the last things to go.

With this in mind, you could well be wondering if it’s worth having professional indemnity cover and public liability insurance in place. After all, can people really make claims against you when you’re stuck at home? Are you just forking out money for nothing each month? The answer is that it’s definitely worth having both public liability and professional indemnity cover in place regardless. And before you can say “well, of course, you would say that,” let us give you our reasons…

Why you still need public liability when working from home

One important thing to remember here is that the guidance to work from home only applies if or when your job can be done from home. Indeed, many contractors have continued working on-site for clients throughout the pandemic where their role has required it.

So, imagine this scenario, you’re an IT contractor working from home on a client project when there’s a problem, a real emergency, and the only way to resolve it is to go to your client’s office campus to access their servers. You arrange this with your client and go in as planned, making all of the necessary COVID-secure precautions.

While you’re there, an employee who has been working on-site trips over your laptop bag strap which you’ve left lying across the floor. They fall, injure themselves and choose to claim against you.

Without your public liability insurance in place, you could be liable for a hefty pay-out which you may not be able to afford. Public liability insurance, however, would cover the costs and protect your finances.

Why you still need professional indemnity when working from home

The pandemic has had huge implications for our lives with many, many knock-on effects. Sadly, mistakes not happening hasn’t been one of them, and mistakes are what professional indemnity is all about.

Again, let’s imagine you’re our hypothetical IT contractor. You’re working on a new piece of software for your client, working remotely because there’s no need for you to be in the office.

Unfortunately, an oversight on your part means you make a mistake with the coding and this mistake goes unnoticed until the software is live. This mistake results in incorrect information going out to your client’s customers and have very real financial implications for your client.

Your client would be well within their rights to make a claim against you and, again, without professional indemnity cover, this could result in you having to pay out huge sums of money that you just don’t have.

If you have retained your professional indemnity insurance, however, you would be covered and your finances protected.

You could be in breach of contract without them

Check your contract with your end client or recruiter. There’s a very good chance that there’s a clause in there about you having a certain amount of professional indemnity and public liability cover (and probably employers’ liability too).

If that’s the case, and you’ve let your insurance expire, then you’re in breach of your contract and need to rectify this immediately, or your client would be within their rights to end your contract and hire somebody else, and your recruiter could easily choose not to work with you again.

These are usually basic requirements of any contract and it’s rare to see a PSC contract without it, so it’s really not wise to work without at least the bare minimum of cover.

Insurance makes you more attractive… (to clients)

With public liability insurance and professional indemnity cover being pretty basic components of any given contract, it stands to reason that clients and recruiters will look favourably upon contractors who already have them in place.

Look at it this way, you’re hiring someone to paint the outside of your house and you have two options. Option A has all of their equipment and paint in their van already and so can start tomorrow. Option B has to go order all of the paint and equipment first and so can’t start for another week or so. Option A immediately has the edge.

It’s the same principle. If you already fulfil the client’s contractual requirements then you’re instantly more desirable than someone else who still needs to get their insurance. And with the market for contractors more competitive than ever, anything that gives you an advantage without you having to reduce your rates is a good thing.

Kingsbridge has you covered

If your contractor insurance has lapsed or is coming up for renewal, you want to make sure that you have it in place and that it does everything you need it to. Kingsbridge’s insurance for contractors is a comprehensive package that includes everything a contractor could need as standard.

As well as professional indemnity and public liability cover, it also includes employers’ liability, occupational personal accident cover, and directors’ and officers’ liability. This really is everything you could need in terms of business insurance and we’re so confident you won’t find the same (or better) for a better price that, if you do, we’ll match it.

Payment is convenient too, with the option to pay upfront or in monthly instalments – whatever works for you. You can get a quote online or call 01242 808 740 to speak to one of our friendly experts who can guide you through everything.

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