As a self-employed chippie you are exposed to plenty of risks, which makes carpenters insurance such an important thing to get right.

There are risks around causing property damage or personal injury to others, the risk of having your tools stolen, and the risk of being injured yourself.

Some of these risks mightn’t be too serious, but some of them could be financially devastating if things went wrong.

Thankfully carpenters insurance can manage most of these risks, and we’ve put together a guide on some of the most common covers.

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In this guide we’ll take a closer look at the most common and important forms of business insurance for carpenters.

Public Liability for Carpenters

The most commonly required form of business insurance for chippies is public liability.

Public liability insurance will respond in the event that a third party suffers property damage or personal injury as a result of your negligence.

Small claims typically involve property damage, where you may have broken something in the house worth a few hundred dollars, or maybe a couple of grand.

For claims of only a few hundred dollars you’re probably best off not claiming to protect your claims history, but anything of a thousand dollars or more is certainly worth claiming on.  That’s what you have insurance for!

Larger claims will often involve personal injury, or at the extreme end, death.  Claims where you have caused serious injury or death to another person can easily climb into the hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions.

Chippies are generally seen as a low risk trade when it comes to insurance, meaning cheap public liability insurance is available for carpenters from under $400 a year for $5 million cover.

That’s assuming a business with only one or two workers undertaking standard residential carpentry.

For an instant quote on public liability please click here.

Tool Insurance

Few trades carry as many power tools as carpenters, and sadly that makes chippies’ utes and trailers a major target for thieves.

Tool theft is rampant across Australia, and the crooks will do pretty much anything to get your gear.

There are plenty of things you can do to help prevent tool theft, but if all else fails and your gear does get knocked off, having tool insurance is the only thing that will protect you financially.

Tool insurance can cover your tools for a range of risks including fire damage, damage following a vehicle collision and theft following forced and violent entry.

If you are considering tool insurance, keep in mind that in the event of a claim you’ll need to provide evidence that you owned each item you are claiming on.  Invoices are generally the favoured option here.

Virtually all tool insurance policies will only cover theft provided there is a police report and evidence of forced entry.  This could be a broken window or lock to access your van, broken locks on your trailer or broken locks on toolboxes which are secured to your ute tray.

Most insurance companies and brokers will only provide tool insurance if you also have public liability insurance with them.

Income Protection for Carpenters

If you’re self-employed, income protection is a vital form of carpenters insurance.

As a carpenter it doesn’t take a serious injury to be off the tools for a while.  Something as simple as a broken wrist might not impact the average office worker too much, but it could easily put a chippie out of work for a month or two.

Without sick pay and workers compensation (depending on your state and business structure) you’ll be on your own if you’re unable to work and earn a living.

Income protection comes to the rescue by replacing a large portion of your income for a period of time whilst you’re unable to work due to either injury or illness.

There are many factors which affect the cost and quality of income protection, so it’s recommended that you deal with a qualified financial adviser who can run through the entire process for you.

To request a quote from a trade-specialist financial adviser please click here.

Contract Works Insurance

For carpenters taking on their own larger projects, contract works insurance is a must.

This form of insurance is similar to public liability in some ways, but protects you for events that weren’t due to your negligence.

An example could be a project you’re running which is properly secured overnight, but someone breaks in and causes a heap of damage.

Carpenters building materials

In this case you haven’t been negligent or at fault, so your public liability insurance wouldn’t cover the damage.  Contract works insurance would however.

Another example would be storm damage suffered by one of your projects.  If you did everything right in terms of securing the property you couldn’t claim on public liability, but could on contract works.

If you are subcontracting to others you typically won’t need contract works, but if you’re taking on your own renovation or building projects you certainly should.

Contract works is available as an annual policy that covers all of your projects for the year, or you can take out a cheaper single-project policy if you’re only doing one or two projects a year.

Commercial Motor Insurance

Where would a carpenter be without their ute?  They are the trusted workhorse to carry your tools and your materials.

Any old insurance company can give you a standard car insurance policy for your ute or van, but will it be up to the job at claim time?

Tradies Trailer

A proper commercial motor insurance policy can provide greater protection for your ute that is more suited to a business owner rather than a private owner.

These benefits can relate to coverage for your fit-out (toolboxes, ladder racks etc), vehicle signage and in some cases your trailer.  A standard policy won’t offer a lot of cover for these items, but a proper commercial policy can do.

Another benefit is that you may be able to bundle your ute insurance with your public liability and other business policies.

Carpenters Insurance

Of course these aren’t the only forms of insurance available to carpenters, and depending on your business and personal needs you may be able to benefit from other forms of cover.

Here at Tradesman Insurance we have access to a network of insurance professionals who can assist you with quotes and advice on all of your insurance needs.

Whether you just want some quick quotes online or would prefer to discuss your needs in-depth with an insurance broker or financial adviser, we can help you.

For more information please contact us or complete the online quote form by clicking on the big green button below.


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