Do I need self-employed insurance?
Insurance can be relevant for any self-employed professional in the UK.
You might be a self-employed hair and beauty practitioner who hires a chair in a salon or visits clients’ houses. Taking out public liability insurance could back you up financially if someone slips on a wet surface and makes a claim.
A self-employed management consultant might find professional indemnity insurance is a lifeline if a client claims your advice damaged their profits and takes you to court. In such a case, self-employed insurance could help pay fees and meet a settlement.
For a personal trainer, equipment cover might be reassuring if you rely on tablets, scales and other kit you’d struggle to replace.
If you’re self-employed and deal with digital data – perhaps as an accountant or digital marketing professional – then cyber and data cover could be a relevant form of self-employed insurance to purchase. This helps offset the impact of several digital risks by helping to restore data and reimburse losses after attacks and breaches.
Self-employed insurance can take many forms, so your business might need a single cover or several.
While you focus on the day-to-day, self-employed insurance works to shield what you do and the things you need to operate.
If you’re not sure what you need, tell us a little more about your business. We’ll help you to build your quote and explore any other insurance needs.Build my cover
When should I get self-employed insurance?
Typically, you may wish to start thinking about business insurance when you begin working for yourself, since risks can surface as soon as you get started.
Getting insurance before you start trading might be sensible – an unexpected claim could arise if a courier trips on a loose patio stone while collecting your first jewellery design shipment, or a cyber-attack could knock you off your stride on website launch day.
Self-employed people in the UK may take out insurance when they notify HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about their work as a sole trader.
Self-employed people working under other arrangements might purchase insurance when they register their limited company or launch a business partnership.
How much self-employed insurance will I need?
The amount of insurance cover a self-employed person might need depends on what you do, the insurance types you select and cover limits you set for each.
At Hiscox, we know self-employed people are diverse, so risk profiles vary too. In the financial and legal sector, getting things wrong can come at a high cost, so self-employed accountants might need to think about a higher level of professional indemnity insurance than those in other lines of work.
Other sectors carry different risks. If you’re a self-employed event or wedding organiser, proximity to people could mean public liability insurance cover is especially helpful.
Thinking about how much a worst-case scenario might cost could help you set self-employed insurance cover limits.
What insurance is available for self-employed people?
Self-employed insurance can be built from a selection of key covers, such as public liability, professional indemnity, equipment and cyber insurance. You can combine these based on what’s most relevant to you and your work.
The key types of insurance for people who work for themselves include:
- Public liability insurance – a key consideration for self-employed professionals who encounter people in their work, since this supports with legal fees and compensation pay-outs if you’re accused of causing injury or property damage. If you sell items, product liability insurance is included as standard with a public liability policy
- Professional indemnity insurance – this can help pay legal fees and meet compensation demands if a client says a self-employed businessperson has made a mistake. It’s especially beneficial to those who provide services or give advice
- Employers’ liability insurance – if you trade under your own name but have help from staff, then it’s worth knowing employers’ liability insurance could be legally required (external link) for you
- Personal accident insurance – a safety net for those who are self-employed and don’t get access to sick pay. If an accident leaves you unable to work, this cover can step in
- Portable equipment insurance – this can assist with repairing or replacing your laptop, smartphone or specialist gear in the event of theft, loss or damage
- Cyber and data insurance – helpful for online businesses, plus anyone who uses the internet. This may lend a helping hand to self-employed people who find themselves facing data breach complaints or instances of hacking
- Legal protection insurance – if you work with contracts, invoice customers, own business premises or have ever employed staff, this cover can help to negotiate your rights if disputes crop up
These are just some of the types of business insurance for self-employed people that we can offer. We can provide other specific types of cover and build them into a policy that’s tailored to the exact needs of your business.Get your quote
Do I need public liability insurance if I am self-employed?
Public liability insurance may help self-employed people to manage the risks that can come with doing business. Although there are no legal rules about the need for public liability insurance in the UK, in practice many solo professionals find it to be reassuring. This cover can help you to shield against the costs you can incur if your activities lead to injury or property damage.
These risks can spring from unexpected places for self-employed people. You might visit clients regularly for meetings as a self-employed IT consultant. If someone trips on a stray cable while you’re delivering a presentation, they might take you to court if they’re injured as a result. A self-employed energy assessor could also face a claim if accused of damaging a customer’s freshly painted wall.
When you work for yourself, you’ll be responsible for covering the cost of court fees and resulting compensation pay-outs. During this time, you’ll also have to take time off work to attend court. Public liability insurance can help, paying up to £10,000 to assist with the cost of taking time off for court attendance.
Learn more about this type of insurance with our public liability FAQs.
Self-employed insurance: FAQs
How much does self-employed insurance cost?
Self-employed insurance varies in terms of cost – the policies and cover limits you select shape quotes. Your line of work also matters, so we ask questions about what you do as part of the process.
For the newly self-employed, budgeting can help you to stay on track. It’s good to know Hiscox business insurance quotes start at just £8.40, then, Figures based on an average of all business insurance policies sold to at least 10% of our customer base between October 2022 and September 2023.
Learn more about business insurance cost with our wider FAQ.
Do you need insurance to work self-employed?
In the UK, self-employed insurance is not a legal requirement, but it can still be an important consideration. Without insurance, there’s a chance slip-ups or out-of-the-blue problems could leave you with a big bill for things like legal fees, compensation pay-outs, repairs or data recovery.
Business insurance can also help self-employed people with practicalities. If you add legal protection cover to your policy, for instance, then you’ll receive support if a customer fails to pay an invoice worth £250 or more.
Do self-employed people need insurance for working from home?
Self-employed people may need insurance if they work from home, since many risks are still present and could be greater – for instance, those working on home networks might face additional cyber risk.
It can be easy to assume working from home is low-risk, but if you meet customers or accept deliveries for online shop stock, there’s public liability risk. Providing services and advice as a self-employed tutor carries indemnity risk wherever you work.
Learn more about home-based business insurance options.
Do I need business insurance if I take on staff as a self-employed professional?
When this happens, you could be legally required to add employers’ liability insurance to your self-employed policy. This may apply whether they’re full-time, part-time or casually step in with assistance during weekends.
If business does pick up and you think of looking for staff, it could be important to check your insurance responsibilities to avoid a fine.
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