Electricians Insurance

Electricians insurance is one of our major specialities.

In fact, around one third of all Trade Risk clients are electrical contractors!

We’re the experts when it comes to electricians insurance, and we’ve put together the ultimate guide on insurance for electrical businesses of all sizes.

If you’d like to speak with one of our experts please call us on 1800 808 800. You can also request an instant quote on public liability insurance by following the link.

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The ultimate electricians insurance guide

Having insured thousands of electricians from all over Australia, we know a thing or two about what you need and what’s important to you.

Jump to any of the following sections

Types of electrician insurance:

Specific business activities:

State specific information:

More information:

  • What is electrical contractors insurance?
  • What does public liability insurance cover?
  • Electrician insurance costs

Electricians Love Trade Risk!

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of electricians insurance, we want you to know what other sparkies think about Trade Risk.

Turns out they love us!  We use an independent ratings company, Feefo, to survey all of our clients after purchasing a new policy or renewing an existing policy.

The results are quite amazing, with a massive 98% of all clients rating us five stars!

Feefo Trusted Service Award

As a result of our ratings and reviews, Feefo awarded Trade Risk the coveted Gold Trusted Service Award in 2017 and again in 2018!

Not only that, but in 2018 we won the Best Customer Service category at the Insurance Business Awards.

It’s fantastic recognition for the great work our team does, and with a third of our clients being electricians, they played a big part in this result.

You can read over 500 Trade Risk reviews by following the link, but here’s a couple of recent favourites:

“Always easy to contact by phone. Always prompt with getting back with answers, amendments, information, etc. Always informed and polite employees available. And of course… great prices! So, what more could I ask for? Nothing at all because there’s nothing more that I can think of to make it better than what it is. I wish my own biz (electrical contracting) was equal in it’s area of service as Trade Risk is in insurance, hence the 5 star rating.” James | Electrician | QLD | June 2018

“Just the excellent communication and friendliness when you have an enquiry, and never-ending patience which is a rarity in this day and age.” Iain | Electrician | NSW | March 2018

“They sorted the cover I needed in a timely manner without any problems at a reasonable cost.  There is no reason for me not to continue with them in 12 months time when my cover needs renewing.” John | Electrician | QLD | February 2018

Types of Electrician Insurance

There are many different types of cover which can come under the electrician insurance banner.

The most common is public liability, primarily because it is mandatory on many work sites, as well as for your electrical licence in most states.

Too insurance is also very popular, and of course you can’t drive your ute or van around with being properly insured for business use.

Let’s take a look at the covers in more detail…

Public Liability Insurance

For any electrical contractor, public liability is going to be first type of insurance you need to look at.

Most Australian states require that you hold public liability in order to obtain your electrical contractors licence.

You can find more information about each state’s requirements here.

Public liability will cover you in the event that your negligence results in property damage or personal injury to a third party.

A third party may be one of your clients or any other member of the general public.

If the person suffering the property damage or personal injury is another worker on site, either one of your staff, a subcontractor or otherwise, the coverage can differ depending on the policy.

Often you’ll find that a ‘worker to worker’ excess applies to any claim, which can be considerably higher than the standard excess.

We recommend speaking to Trade Risk about how your policy covers worker to worker claims.

Claims for property damage are generally quite straightforward, but they can range in size from very small to quite large.

Insurance Claim

A small claim may involve the classic foot through the ceiling incident.  Although considered small, you’d still be looking at a few grand for repairing and repainting.

A large claim for property damage could extend to the total loss of a home due to fire, which was the result of your faulty wiring.

This is obviously a very rare occurrence, but you’ll be glad to have your insurer paying out a few hundred grand rather than coming up with the money yourself.

Consumer Protection Insurance

In Queensland anyone applying for an electrical contractors licence must also hold $50,000 in consumer protection insurance.

Consumer protection insurance is not a separate policy, but is instead included with your public liability policy.

It’s important to note that not all public liability policies include consumer protection.  Only certain insurers have this option, and you must let your broker know that you need it.

Because Trade Risk assists hundreds of Qld electricians we are all over the requirements and will ensure you have the right cover for your licence application or renewal.

As long as you select your occupation as “Electrician (Qld)” you can be assured that your public liability includes the consumer protection option.

Tool Insurance

Any electrician is going to have a ute or van full of gear, including plenty of power tools which are the target of tool thieves.

There’s plenty you can do to protect your tools, but they’ll never be 100% safe from theft.

Tool insurance can protect your gear not only from theft, but also from damage caused by fire or a vehicle collision.

When it comes to theft, it’s important to remember that most policies will only cover your tools for theft when forced or violent entry is required to access the gear.

This can involve anything such as breaking windows or door locks, or cutting chains or other securing devices in your ute.

Basically, as long the thieves had to break something to access your tools, they should be covered.

Tool insurance is super cheap for electricians, with $5,000 worth of cover costing less than $400 a year in most cases.  We can also bundle it with your public liability premium in most cases.

Considering how prevalent tool theft is in Australia, it’s a very important form of insurance to have.

Contract Works Insurance

Not all electricians are going to need contract works insurance, but if you do the team at Trade Risk can assist.

Generally speaking, contract works will be required if you are taking on larger contracts, but even smaller ones may need protecting against.

What the insurance covers is certain responsibilities you may have under the contract.

Recently we were told about a case that was very relevant to electricians.  This was not one of our clients thankfully.

This electrical contractor signed a $50,000 contract to install a number of generators within a building.

What they didn’t pick up on was that the contract made them responsible for the generators during the period of works.

Power Generator

What were the generators valued at?  A whopping four million dollars!

The electrician thought the exposure to his business was simply the $50,000 contract value, but his exposure also included $4 million worth of generators.

What’s really important here is that the electrician was made responsible via the contract he signed, rather than common law.  So if something happened to those generators, even if it was through no fault of the electrician, he is still responsible.

Public liability insurance would cover the cost of the generators if the loss was due to the electricians negligence, but if they were damaged or lost for any other reason which was not the electricians fault at all, he would still be liable and his public liability insurance would not pay out.

Thankfully nothing happened to the generators, but if something did, the contractor could have been responsible for a huge sum of money.

The lesson here is to be aware of what you’re responsible for when signing a contract, and to take out contract works insurance if appropriate.

Income Protection Insurance

As a contractor you will most likely have no access to sick leave or workers compensation, so insuring your income is a must.

Via Trade Risk Life we can assist electricians with income protection insurance, along with life, TPD and trauma insurance.

Each of these insurance types can help to ensure that you and your family are looked after if you suffer an injury or illness yourself.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance

Most sparkies operate as a mobile business, which means your ute, van or truck is a vital part of your business.

We all know how important it is to insure our vehicles, but fewer tradies understand how to properly insure them for business use.

Sure you can insure your vehicle with one of the big names, but the coverage might not be suitable for vehicles being used primarily for business.

If you are going to take out a basic car insurance policy, make sure the insurance company knows you are using the vehicle primarily for business.

If you don’t tell them about the business use, they may knock back a claim.

It’s also important to check how the policy covers modifications.  This could include custom trays and toolboxes in utes, as well as shelving in vans.

You might spend $10k on a sweet box setup for your new ute, only to find in the event of a claim that the insurer will only cover a standard replacement tray.

Tradies Ute

Wraps are another important thing to look at if using a cheaper policy.  You might spend $4k on a great looking wrap, but in the event of a claim the insurer might not cover a replacement wrap.

All these reasons are why it’s important for an electrician to look at a dedicated commercial vehicle insurance policy for their ute or van.

A commercial vehicle policy might be a little more expensive than the cheap policies you can buy elsewhere over the phone or internet, but you might find it’s well worth it.

If you do contact Trade Risk for a quote on your vehicle, make sure you let us know about anything such as custom fitouts and wraps so we can ensure you’re properly covered.

Business Pack

Most Trade Risk electrician clients are the classic one-man operations running from home.

But if you’ve made the jump to having your own premises, multiple employees, vehicles and stock etc, it’s time to look at a business package.

As fully qualified insurance brokers, this is certainly something we can assist with.

A business package can include your public liability and tools, as well as the following:

  • Property
  • Contents & stock
  • Commercial motor (including fleet)
  • Business interruption
  • Contract works
  • Professional indemnity
  • Transit
  • Machinery breakdown

Note that some of the covers listed above won’t necessarily by in the one “pack” as such, but we can certainly look after them all as your broker.

Other Insurance Types

Outside of what a broker would typically look after there are a number of other insurance types for electricians to consider.

The most important of these is income protection, especially if you’re a self-employed electrical contractor.

Whilst we don’t look after income protection directly, we can refer you to one of our partners who specialises in income protection for workers and business owners in the building industry.

Electrician Business Activities

Some people not in the trade might think that an electrician is an electrician, and that one size fits all.

And some insurers also have a very simple idea of what an electrician does, and therefore what activities they’ll cover under their policy.

At Trade Risk we know that electrical contractors can undertake all sorts of activities, and it’s certainly not limited to wiring up new houses and installing power points.

We know that plenty of sparkies are now doing solar installations for example, or installing and maintaining split system air conditioning units.

You’ll find that some insurance providers do not include these activities in their standard policies, and not only that, but they won’t specifically ask you about such activities.

So if you haven’t told them about the solar and air conditioning work you’re doing, and their standard policy doesn’t provide cover, you could find yourself not properly covered.

Before we get into some of these activities, it’s important to understand that the information below is general, and may not be specific to your policy.

If you are undertaking any of the activities below, it is always best to check with your Trade Risk broker to ensure your policy is right for you.

Solar Installation

Solar keeps on pushing ahead, and for more and more electricians it is becoming a standard part of the job.

Solar Electrical Work

Many insurers are a little behind on this however, and they’re not treating solar as a standard activity.

This means that your solar work may not be covered at all by your public liability policy.

As a broker we use policies from many different insurers, some who include cover for solar and some who don’t.

Because of this we recommend that any existing client wondering about their cover should contact their Trade Risk broker to confirm if they are properly covered.

If you are taking out a new policy via our instant quote system on our website, you can be assured that solar installations are covered, provided that your solar work is part of your wider electrical contracting business.

If solar is your main business, then you should be insuring as a solar business rather than an electrical business.

We can help you out either way, but you do need to let us know.

Something that will need to be considered shortly is installations involving battery storage.

If you are doing any battery installation we strongly recommend contacting us first to ensure you are properly covered.

Air Conditioning

If your primary business activities relate to air conditioning installation or maintenance, then you should be insuring as an air conditioning business rather than an electrician.

But if you are an electrician who also does air conditioning work as part of their electrical business, then you should be covered depending on the type of work and who your policy is with.

Some insurers will cover split system installs, but it is typically restricted to the electrical component of the installation.

So if you’re connecting the pipes, even if you have a Refrigerant Handling Licence, your policy won’t cover any claim for this work.

Because here at Trade Risk we know how electricians work in the real world, we’ve been able to secure better coverage in this area.

Again we recommend that existing clients speak to their Trade Risk broker first, but if you’re taking out a new policy online, it will cover electricians for the gas work related to split systems, provided that you have the appropriate refrigeration licence.

If you’re doing more involved air conditioning work, such as ducted systems, you speak to us about a more tailored policy to suit your needs.

Security Systems

Things can get a little trickier when it comes to security systems and fire or smoke detectors.

If your primary business activities relate to security, then you shouldn’t be taking out an electrician policy even if that’s your trade.

If you’re doing some security or smoke detector work as part of your wider electrical business, it may be covered, but we strongly recommend speaking with us first.

Other Activities

If you undertake any other business activities that might not be considered typical for an electrical contracting business, you should definitely let us know.

Keeping quiet might get you a cheaper premium, but if a claim is compromised as a result, you could end up a whole lot worse off.

State Requirements

Each state and territory has different insurance requirements for licensed electricians.

All of our policies offer Australia-wide coverage, meaning that no matter where you work, your policy will cover you.

There is one exception though, with licensed electrical contractors in Queensland requiring a special including in their policies.

A policy that covers Qld will cover all other states, and a policy from any other state will cover all states other than Qld.

Let’s take a look at each individual state.

Queensland

We’ll start with the state that has the most unique insurance requirements for electricians.

In Qld, licensed electricians must hold a public and products liability policy of at least $5 million.

Additionally, the policy must include consumer protection cover of $50,000.  This isn’t a separate policy, but instead is included as an option on your public liability.

Your insurer or broker must be able to issue a certificate in accordance with the Electrical Safety Office requirements.

Of course here at Trade Risk our policies meet all of the requirements, and we are able to issue the certificate required by the Electrical Safety Office.

We issue a new certificate each year, so you’ll have the certificate ready for each licence renewal.

If you’re not using Trade Risk as your broker, make sure you double check that your current broker or insurer is including the special option for you.

If they don’t, the Electrical Safety Office will decline your licence application!

More information: Qld Electrical Contractor Insurance RequirementsElectrical Safety Office

New South Wales

There are no specific requirements listed by Fair Trading NSW, who are responsible for the licensing of electricians in NSW.

Many worksites in NSW will have their own requirement that subcontractors hold their own public liability insurance however.

More information: NSW Fair Trading

Victoria

Registered Electrical Contractors in Victoria must hold a public liability insurance policy of at least $5 million.

There are no special requirements for the public liability, other than the minimum amount required.

Your policy must be in place before any electrical contracting work is undertaken.

More information: Energy Safe Victoria

ACT

Licensed electricians in the ACT are not required to provide evidence of insurance of part of their licence application.

On the application however, electricians must tick a box to acknowledge that they will provide a copy of any applicable insurance policies to a client before undertaking electrical work.

Presumably the applicable insurance would be public liability, or any other type of insurance required for the work they are undertaking.

More information: ACT Environment and Planning

South Australia

There are no specific insurance requirements for licensed electricians in South Australia.

More information: State Government

Western Australia

Electrical contractors in WA must provide a certificate of currency for their insurance when applying for or renewing their licence.

The regulation does not specify the type of cover or amount, but states there must be “a current policy of insurance against civil liability, in respect of the work of an electrical contractor”.

A standard electricians public liability insurance policy will meet this requirement.

More information: EnergySafety

Tasmania

To apply for an electrical licence in Tasmania you’ll need to hold a public liability insurance policy of at least $5 million.

A certificate of currency must be provided at the time of applying.

More information: Department of Justice

Northern Territory

There are no insurance requirements for electrical licences in the Northern Territory.

There are however many worksites which have their own public liability requirements for subcontractors on site.

More information: Electrical Workers and Contractors Licensing Board

What is electrical contractors insurance?

Electrical contractor’s insurance generally refers to the public liability insurance required for your electrical contractor licence.

In most states of Australia public liability is mandatory for electricians, and either way, it’s a very important form of cover for sparkies.

Given the risks involved in working with something that can electrocute you and others, being properly insured is a must!

Other recommended forms of insurance for self-employed electricians include tool insurance and income protection, but for the purposes of this guide we’ll stick with public liability.

What does public liability insurance cover?

Public liability insurance will protect an electrical contractor in the event that their negligence results in property damage or personal injury to another person.

If you are found to be responsible for damage or injury as a result of negligence, you will generally be responsible for any costs involved.

This could be as simple as the cost of repairing a ceiling that you accidentally put your foot through whilst working in the ceiling cavity.

At the other end of the spectrum we have serious injury or death suffered by a third party.

In this case you could be up for many thousands, and potentially millions if you work results in the death of one or more people.

It’s not nice to think about, but it can happen, and it’s vital that such an event doesn’t result in you losing the family home or going bankrupt.

By having the right public liability insurance in place, you can be protected again such claims with cover amounts available from $5 million up to $20 million.

Working with electricity leaves you, your clients and the general public at a relatively high risk, but insurance can help manage this risk.

Electrician insurance costs

Despite the high level of protection provided by electrical contractor’s insurance, the costs of the cover is relatively low.

For a typical residential electrician working as a sole trader or single-worker Pty Ltd company, the cost for $5 million cover stars from as low as $400.

Saving Money

Even if you bump up your cover to the maximum $20 million available, we’re still talking about premiums not much higher than $500 per year.

The price will increase as you increase your level of cover, and also as the size of your business increases in terms of staff numbers and revenue.

Also affecting the cost of your insurance can be any high risk activities or hazardous locations you work at.

For example if you undertake electrical contracting work at areas such as airports or mines, the cost of the cover will increase in line with the increased risk.

The costs are slightly higher for licensed electrical contractors in Queensland due to a special type of insurance required.  $5 million cover in Qld starts from around $500 and goes up towards $700 for the maximum cover of $20 million.

If cashflow is a concern (which it is for most contractors in the building industry) you can also pay for your insurance monthly or even weekly.

It will cost a little more overall to pay monthly or weekly, however the cashflow benefits can outweigh the extra cost for many sparkies.

Next Steps

We’ve covered a lot of information on electricians insurance in this guide, but there is always more to know.

If you have any questions about your insurance requirements, please call our team on 1800 808 800 or contact us online.

Because Trade Risk deals with so many electricians and other tradies, we have a special scheme in place which allows you to obtain an instant quote.

If you’re happy with the quote, you can purchase the policy online and have the certificate of currency emailed to you with seconds!  Click on the ‘start quote’ button to get started.

Start QuoteIf you’d prefer to deal with a real person we can help you there too.  By calling 1800 808 800 you can speak with one of our qualified insurance brokers who can answer all of your questions.

Regardless of whether you’re a sole trader getting licensed for the first time, or a national business with a team of electricians, our expert broker can help you with the right cover at the right price.

Get in touch to find out why thousands of electricians have chosen Trade Risk as their trusted insurance partner.

Hungry for More Info?

Recently Trade Risk was featured in Electrical Gems magazine for a regular piece titled “Ask the Expert”.

Of course we are the experts, and we were only too happy to provide a heap of great information on electrical contractors insurance.

You can view the articles here.

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