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Article on Why you need owner builder public liability by adam

Why you need owner builder public liability

Adam Weaver

Why you need owner builder public liability

Recently someone asked us:

Why do I need owner builder insurance when I already have home insurance?

and occasionally people say:

I don't need public liability insurance because I already have it.

The answer to both of these is the same: Your existing insurance probably doesn't cover what you think it does.

Insurance 101

Just about every type of insurance you buy includes a public liability component. That's a good thing. 

But you have to remember that the public liability cover is restricted to the type of risk you're insuring! 

  • Home and contents public liability covers you as a home owner and occupier only, not as an owner builder.
  • Motor vehicle public liability covers you as a vehicle owner and driver, not as an owner builder
  • Landlord public liability covers you as a property owner, not as an owner builder
  • Trades insurance public liability covers you as a tradesman, not as the principal of your own construction site (i.e. an owner builder).

So even though these insurances (and more) include public liability, that's not at all the same thing as owner builder public liability insurance.

If you're a builder, you're responsible for the site

No professional builder would work without public liability insurance, and we strongly recommend the same for owner builders. Whatever happens (or goes wrong) on the site, you're going to be involved as the principal. Even if you had nothing to do with the injury or the damage, as the builder the aggrieved party is almost guaranteed to involve you in the complaint.

What about damage to the project?

My home insurer said I don't need separate public liability insurance, because my project is so small.

That might be correct (but please read your policy wording to be sure; direct market insurers don't generally give blanket assurances like that), but are your building materials insured? Raw construction materials aren't always considered "home contents", and they may not be considered "home buildings" either. 

Owner builder insurance covers the raw materials on the site against damage or theft; whereas home insurance may not.

For that reason, we encourage all owner builders to get an insurance quote from us. Our online form takes around 90 seconds to complete, and will instantly e-mail you the quote and policy wording for you to read. Why not see how easy it can be today?

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