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As the owner of a plumbing business there are a number of different insurance types you may need.

Which ones you need depends on a variety of factors, and one of the main factors is how you operate your business.

In this guide we’ll look at the insurance needs of plumbers and plumbing businesses, based on the setup of your business.

If you’re simply after some quotes please click here, or if you’d prefer a chat call us on 1800 808 800.

We’ve helped hundreds of plumbing business owners with their insurance needs over the last decade, and would love to help you out too.

10 Years in Business

Select one of the options below to jump straight to the relevant section:

Many of the sections refer back to others, but the above links will be a great starting point.

Sole Trader / Subcontractor

Many plumbers will start their business as a sole trader, either operating on their own maintenance business or subcontracting to builders.

There are three main types of insurance you’ll want to consider when starting out.  These are public liability, personal accident and tool insurance.

Public liability insurance

In most Australian states you will require public liability insurance in order to obtain your plumbing licence.

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

Even if you are subcontracting to another plumber (or plumbing company) you could still be responsible in the event of a claim, which makes public liability a must.

For residential plumbers the cost of public liability insurance is quite reasonable.  If you are undertaking commercial work (especially on multi-storey buildings) it can become more expensive.

Personal accident insurance

As a sole trader or subcontractor you won’t be entitled to sick leave, and in many cases, workers compensation insurance.

This makes protecting your income vital.  Many people refer to this type of cover as income protection insurance, and there are a few different names and variants.

As insurance brokers we deal with personal accident insurance, which can also cover you for sickness.

If you are specifically after income protection insurance we can refer you to a financial adviser that we work closely with.

Tool insurance

As a plumber, or any tradie for that matter, your tools are absolutely vital to your ability to earn a living.

Sadly, tool theft is rampant across Australia and has been for years.  Whilst there is plenty you can do to protect your tools, it can be difficult to stop the most determined of thieves.

Tool insurance can cover your tools and equipment from a range of risks including theft.  Other risks covered include loss or damage due to fire, as well as damage caused in a vehicle collision or rollover.

There is the option to add accidental damage cover to you tool insurance, however we find that this is less common amongst plumbers and other trades due to the increased cost.

Company – Without staff

Our data shows that plenty of plumbers, even when they are the only worker in their business, still operate as a Pty Ltd company rather than as a sole trader.

Whilst this means different things on the accounting side, when it comes to insurance there is very little difference regardless of whether you’re operating as a sole trader or a one-person company.

Obviously your insurance will now need to be in your company name rather than your own name, but otherwise the cover is essentially the same.

The only major difference relates to workers compensation insurance, and only when you’re operating in certain states of Australia.

In New South Wales for example, as a one-person company you are required to hold workers compensation insurance to cover yourself.

In Queensland on the other hand, working directors (which will be the case for virtually all one-person companies) are not required, or even able, to take out workers comp.

If you haven’t already, we recommend jumping back to our sole trader section to check out the insurance requirements for plumbing companies with no staff.

Company – With staff

If you’ve made the jump to employing staff in your plumbing business, congratulations!

Employing staff is really the first step to creating a genuine business that can scale up.

The insurance requirements don’t differ hugely to what we’ve already covered for sole traders and companies without staff, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Firstly, you need to note your employee numbers on your public liability policy.  This doesn’t mean listing each individual employee, but simply telling your broker or insurer about the number of workers you have.

The cost of public liability insurance can be affected by the number of staff, but it’s generally not a huge increase.  For example, doubling from one employee to two employees will not double the cost.

As an employer you will also need workers compensation insurance, which provides cover for your staff if they suffer an injury or illness related to their work.

At this point there could be a range of other insurances to consider.  Management liability is one worth considering as your business grows.

Your insurance broker should be your first point of contact as your business grows and you’re unsure of your insurance needs.

It’s amazing how many plumbing business owners we speak to who are grossly underinsured.  They typically take out a cheap public liability policy when starting up, but they haven’t kept up as their business has grown.

As you grow your plumbing business you are creating a valuable asset, and it’s so important to ensure it is properly protected and insured against all risks.

Other structures

There are other ways to structure your plumbing business, such a partnership or trust, but the insurance requirements don’t differ greatly from what we’ve outlined above.

For partnerships the requirements are very similar to sole traders, and for trusts the requirements are virtually identical to that of a company.

If you are in doubt, our insurance brokers at Trade Risk can run through all of it with you to ensure you have the right setup for your business.

Other insurance types

Whilst we’ve detailed the major forms of plumbing insurance in this guide, there are plenty more covers available.

What you need really depends on your business.

An obvious one is motor insurance.  Any plumbing business is going to have a ute or van (or a fleet of them) and we can help with cover designed specifically for commercial vehicles.

If you have excavators or other machinery you’ll need mobile plant and equipment insurance to cover them.  There can be some confusion in what’s covered under your tool insurance and what needs its own separate cover, but your broker can run through this with you.

Depending on the type of work you are taking on, contract works insurance and/or contractual liability insurance could be important to you.

If your plumbing business has grown and you now operate from your own premises, you’ll need to have property insurance (if you own the premises) or at least glass and contents cover if you’re leasing.

Plumbing insurance experts

At Trade Risk we’ve been insuring plumbing business for over a decade.

We help hundreds of small one and two person plumbing businesses that are just starting out, and we help larger plumbing businesses with millions in annual revenue.

Our team know this risks that you face and how to insure against them in the most cost effective way.

To speak with one of our experts about when insurance your plumbing business needs, please click here to contact us online or call us on 1800 808 800.

If you have a spare couple of minutes you can complete our online quote request which will give our team all the information they need to get started.

No matter how large or small you plumbing business is, we’re here to help get your business insurance sorted.

What insurance does a plumber need

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