Property maintenance businesses are increasingly being required to take out handyman insurance by various groups such as real estate agents and property managers.

Whilst some may see this as a pain, it’s actually a very good way for you to protect yourself and your clients.

As a self-employed handyman or property maintenance business you are exposed to many of the same risks as any other tradie, and that makes insurance so important.

Here at Tradesman Insurance handymen are one of our specialities, and in this guide we’ll run through the main things you need to know about handyman insurance.

The three main types of insurance taken out by handymen are public liability, income protection and tool insurance.

There are of course many other forms of cover that may be suitable depeding on your business, but these are the main three we’ll be looking at.

Public Liability Insurance for Handymen

The most common form of handyman insurance is public liability.

If you’re undertaking work for real estate agencies and property managers, they will almost always ask that you provide a certificate of currency for your public liability insurance.

The policy will respond in the event that you negligence results in property damage or personal injury to a third party.

Claims at the low end of the scale typically involve property damage.  For example you might be carrying some equipment through a client’s garage and you accidentally leave a big scratch up the side of their car.

If you’re lucky you might know someone who can buff it out for a few hundred bucks.  But if it’s more serious and requires paint work, you could be up for a couple of grand.  This type of claim could be covered by your public liability.

Larger claims may involve personal injury.  For example you might leave an extension cord across a hallway without adequate warning, and a third party trips over and suffers an injury.  If you’re found to have been negligent in leaving the cord in that manner, then it could be a claim.

Despite the risks, handymen are still seen as a fairly low risk, meaning that premiums for public liability insurance are quite low.  The minimum $5 million cover can be had for around $400 if you shop around.

For an instant quote on public liability insurance for a handyman please click here.

Income Protection for Handymen

Handymen are typically self-employed, and it can be a great small business for some.

There are plenty of upsides, but one of the downsides is that you no longer have access to sick leave, and depending on your state and business structure, you might not have access to workers compensation either.

All this means that if you can’t work for a period of time, you’re left with zero income.  This can leave any handyman in a dire financial situation.

This is why income protection is absolutely vital for any self-employed handyman.  It will replace up to 75% of your income for a period of time if you are unable to work due to injury or illness.

If you have only recently started your handyman business you may find that some insurers are unable to offer cover.  This is the same for any unqualified trade.  If you do have a trade qualification (carpenter for example) or you’ve been running your business for more than twelve months you should have no problems.

Tool Insurance

As a handyman you can be undertaking a wide range of different jobs every day, which means you need to have a fairly decent set of tools and equipment.

This makes you a big target for thieves who target tradies utes looking for a quick score.

Tool insurance can’t save your gear from being nicked, but it can certainly save you a lot of money when it comes to replacing all of your gear following a theft.

Most tool insurance policies will cover your gear for damage caused by fire or in a vehicle collision, and for theft followed forced entry.  For a successful claim following theft, there would need to be evidence of forced entry such as broken locks or chains, or smashed windows depending on the vehicle type.

Insurance Requirements

There are no forms of handyman insurance which are considered mandatory from a licencing perspective.

But if you do work for real estate agencies or property managers, they will almost always have their own mandatory insurance requirements for public liability.

They will typically require that you hold $5 million or more in public liability insurance, and they’ll ask to see your certificate of currency as proof of your insurance.

We have found that some real estate agents are using standard forms for handymen which also ask for professional indemnity insurance, however generally this is not relevant or required.

If the generic forms provided by the real estate agent are asking for proof of professional indemnity insurance, check with the agent that the requirement applies to you as a handyman.

Whilst other forms of cover such as income protection and tool insurance are not mandatory, they are still popular forms of cover that can help greatly in a time of need.

Issues to Consider

A handyman insurance policy will only cover you for tasks which are considered to be typical for a handyman.

All policies will exclude electrical and plumbing work unless you are qualified and licensed to undertake such work and you have notified the insurer accordingly.

Generally speaking, handyman work is considered to be maintenance and repairs rather than structural work.

If you undertake any business activities which you think may be a little out of the ordinary for a handyman, it is best to let your insurance broker know about them to ensure you are property covered for the work.

Another issue that needs to be discussed with your insurance broker is whether your work is domestic, commercial or a mixture of both.

Some insurers only cover handymen for domestic work, so if you are doing any commercial work it is important to take out an appropriate policy that will cover commercial properties as well.

If you’re in any doubt about these issues, it’s best to check with your insurance broker.

Quotes and Information

Handymen are generally considered to be a fairly low risk for insurance purposes, which means that the premiums for public liability and income protection are very affordable and lower than for most other tradesmen.

Premiums for handyman public liability insurance start from around $400 depending on the turnover of your business and whether or not you undertake any high risk work as part of your business.

Most insurers will also allow you to pay your trade insurance monthly, which makes the cover even more affordable.

To obtain a quote on handyman insurance please complete our online quote request or simply give us a call and we will refer to a suitable insurance broker or adviser.


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