We assist thousands of sole traders with their insurance needs.

Whilst we also look after plenty of larger businesses, sole traders really are our bread and butter.

In this guide we’ll take an in-depth look at each of the different sole trader insurance types and what they mean for you.

If you’re just after a quote on your public liability, click on the quote button or call us on 1800 808 800.

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Sole Traders Insurance Guide

Insurance Types

  • Public liability insurance
  • Tool insurance
  • Commercial motor
  • Professional indemnity
  • Business pack

Trade Risk Press

Being a Sole Trader

Operating as a sole trader is certainly the easiest way for a tradie to start doing business on their own.

Whether you’re subcontracting to others or running your own jobs, being a sole trader is a cheap and easy business structure for a tradie to go with.

There are some downsides however, and one of those is that you and your business are treated as one and the same.


If your business suffers a loss, perhaps as a result of being sued, you are personally liable for that loss.

This differs to a Pty Ltd company structure, where the loss is generally contained within the company.

If something goes wrong in your business as a sole trader, there is nothing to protect your assets such as your family home.

This means it is arguably even more important for a sole trader to have the right insurance in place, and especially public liability insurance.

Insurance Types

There are many different types of cover which can fall under the sole trader insurance category.

Public liability insurance is a big one, and for tradies there are your tools and your ute or van that need to be protected.

Depending on how complex your business is there may be other needs, but for now we’ll stick with the main cover types.

Public Liability Insurance

For any sole trader, public liability insurance is the most important form of cover, and the one you’ll most likely be asked about.

This is the insurance that could well save your family home and other assets in the event that you are sued over property or personal damage.

Insurance Claim

Your public liability policy will respond in the event that you cause property damage or personal injury to a third party.

At the low end, this could be basic property damage caused to a client’s home or contents.

At the high end we have claims involving personal injury.  If your negligence was to result in the death or serious injury of another person, you could be liable for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

Even the lowest amount of cover for public liability is $5 million, which can give you the peace of mind knowing that you are protected if things go wrong.

If you feel you need greater protection, cover amounts of $10 million and $20 million are also available.

Tool Insurance

Any tradesman operating on their own is going to need a solid collection of tools and equipment.

It is this gear that you rely upon in order to make a living, so if anything was to happen to it, you need to get it sorted quickly.

Sadly, tool theft in Australia is rampant.  At Trade Risk we deal with multiple tool insurance claims every week from tradies who’ve had their gear taken.


Just like you insure your house or your car, you can also insure your tools and equipment.

Tool insurance can cover you gear for a range of risks including fire damage, damage caused in a vehicle collision and theft following forced or violent entry.

When purchasing tool insurance it’s vital to check for any item limits on the policy.

Some policies will only cover items over a certain value if they have been specified on the policy.  This amount is typically $3,000 or $5,000 depending on the insurer.

One of our more popular tool policies won’t cover any single item with a replacement value over $5,000.  For some people this is no problem, whilst for others it means the policy is not the right fit for them.

Commercial Motor

The majority of tradies operating as sole traders run their business from home with a ute, van or truck.

In the case of utes especially, often these double as the tradies main form of transport rather than being a pure business vehicle.

For this reason we often find that sole traders have their ute or van insured through a typical car insurance provider such as NRMA or AAMI etc.

Tradies Ute

Whilst these are fine insurance companies, you need to check if you are properly covering your vehicle for business use.

Furthermore, you need to check what you’re actually covered for.

Policies through the big retail insurance companies are great for the typical commuter, but can fall well short when it comes to business use.

For example if your ute or van has a few grand worth of fit out, such as boxes, racks and shelving etc, these might not be covered under a standard policy.

It’s a similar story with signage.  Some of these policies might cover a few hundred dollars of signage if you tell them it’s for business use, but they generally won’t cover your $4,000 wrap.

This is where a proper commercial motor insurance policy can help.

Your broker can work with you to ensure the true cost of your vehicle is covered.  Not just the vehicle itself, but the thousands of dollars’ worth of modifications you shelled out for.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

The majority of sole traders working in the trades will not require professional indemnity insurance, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know about it.

Professional indemnity is in some ways similar to public liability, but instead of covering your physical activities it is more about advice based activities.

So who needs it then?  Essentially anyone who provides advice for a fee.

If for example you’re a carpenter and you provide advice to a homeowner as part of some building work you’re doing, this is most likely not going to need professional indemnity cover.

But if you’re a carpenter and you’re going out providing written reports to homeowners, and they’re paying you for that service, then you should definitely be considering professional indemnity.

We strongly recommend speaking with one of our insurance brokers to determine if this type of cover might be right for you.

Business Pack

Although sole traders are typically home and vehicle based, there are some who’ve taken the next step and have their own premises.

It may be a small warehouse, office or even retail space.  Either way you need to ensure the premises and everything in there is properly insured.

Stolen Tools

If you’re renting the premises, your lease will most likely require that you hold public liability of $20 million and glass cover.

These are both quick and easy (and relatively inexpensive) to setup, and we can issue the certificate of currency that the property manager or owner will require.

If you’re lucky enough to be purchasing your own premises, we can also assist with insuring the building itself.

Then you’ll need to insure whatever is in the premises.  This could be stock, machinery, furniture, computer equipment or whatever else your business needs to run.

All of these different risks (and many more) can be insured under a single business pack policy via Trade Risk.

Why choose Trade Risk?

Sole traders really are our bread and butter here at Trade Risk.

We insure over 3,000 tradies, and the majority are either sole traders or single-person Pty Ltd companies.

Of course we also insure some much larger trade businesses, and that’s what allows us to grow with you as your business becomes larger and more complex.

We understand the needs of sole traders and small businesses working in the building and construction industry.

It doesn’t matter if you just need a cheap public liability policy or a more comprehensive business package and advice.  Trade Risk have the right team in place to look after you.

For more information please call us on 1800 808 800 or contact us online.

For an instant quote on public liability please click here, or to complete our comprehensive quote request click here.

Sole Traders Insurance