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Insurance for Queensland Business
Taking out public liability insurance is one of the most effective ways for businesses in Queensland to protect themselves from a range of risks.
If you operate a business in Queensland, you may be required to have public liability insurance by your industry association – for example, if you operate a plumbing or electrical business, you will not be given a license to operate in Queensland without first having and showing proof of public liability insurance.
If you are based in a commercial property, your landlord may require your business to have this type of insurance.
Regardless of whether there is a legal requirement for you to take out public liability insurance, it certainly makes good business sense. If your business doesn’t have adequate coverage, you run the risk of other businesses refusing to deal with you. You are also putting your business assets at risk if a claim is made against you that your premium does not fully cover.
The ins and outs of public liability insurance Queensland are generally no different to that of other Australian states, however there are a few minor differences to be aware of.
What is Public Liability Insurance?
It’s important to understand what public liability insurance is. For a business based in Queensland, the insurance will cover the business for financial losses relating to property damage or personal injury suffered by others as a result of the business activities.
If you cause property damage or personal injury to another person and are found to be responsible, you may then be liable to cover costs such as repair, replacement, medical expenses and compensation.
Your public liability insurance provider can cover these costs – provided the incident is covered by your policy. This is a far better outcome than having to pay the costs out of your profits or savings.
Requirements for Queensland business owners
The requirements for public liability insurance in Queensland are very similar to those for elsewhere in Australia, however there are a few slight differences for some types of business.
Electrical contractors in Queensland must hold a licence issued by the State Government. As part of the licensing process, all applicants must hold public liability insurance covering them for at least $5 million in damages.
This requirement is fairly standard, but where it differs to other states is that in Queensland, electrical contractors must also have consumer protection insurance to cover them for any domestic work they perform. Essentially, this added layer of protection will cover your clients against some additional risks that a standard public liability policy might not cover. Only a limited number of insurers offer consumer protection cover. Without it you will not be able to apply for or renew an electrical contractor’s licence in Queensland.
There can be other differences for businesses based in or operating in Queensland, so it’s worthwhile working with a local insurance broker, or at least one who knows the local rules, to ensure your business is properly protected.
Queensland Public Liability Quotes
Quotes for public liability cover are available from a variety of sources in Queensland. This is the only way to determine the public liability insurance cost for your business.
Most providers of public liability will be able to issue policies to Queensland businesses, and in most cases you can get a quote directly from the insurer via their website or call centre.
Many business owners prefer to use the services of an insurance broker or adviser for their insurance needs.
The benefit of using a broker is that they can obtain quotes from a variety of insurers at once, which saves you time sourcing quotes. You can also benefit from their knowledge and experience when choosing a policy.
If you’d like to obtain a quote on public liability insurance Queensland for your business, please speak with your broker or complete our online quote request.
How much is public liability insurance Queensland
There are a number of factors which will influence the cost of public liability insurance for Queensland businesses – these are outlined below.
Additionally, State Governments set the amount of stamp duty paid on insurance premiums, so the overall cost of your insurance will vary, depending on which State you are based in.
There are four main factors that affect the cost of your public liability insurance in Queensland:
- The type of trade or occupation you operate – ie electrician, plumber, or a professional services consultant.
- The size of your business (by staff numbers or revenue) and your reliance on subcontractors.
- How much cover you need (typically the cover is for $5M, $10M or $20M, etc).
- Any high risk activities or work locations your business is exposed to.
Understanding the factors that affect insurance costs in Queensland
The type of work your business performs has a level of risk attached to it. Some activities are more likely to cause injury or damage. The higher the risk, the higher the insurance premium.
The size of your business is another factor. Larger businesses attract larger premiums, as the risk of injury or damage is greater.
If your Queensland business uses subcontractors, this will also affect the cost. If a significant portion of your revenue goes towards paying subcontractors, your insurance will cost more. This is because a business owner tends to have less oversight of subcontractors (compared with company employees), so the risk of a claim being made is higher. The use of subcontractors also creates greater legal complexity in the event of a public liability claim, so the premium cost takes this into account.
Finally, the locations you work in will have a big impact on the cost of your premium. Some locations such as mine sites, airports, large infrastructure projects and construction sites, are considered to be high risk.
Insurance companies will compile the information you provide about each of these factors into a description of your business. Your public liability policy will cover you for the activities outlined in your business description, so it’s critical that you fully disclose everything about your business and the places you work in.
When comparing policies, don’t just focus on the limits, excess and premiums. Make sure you understand exactly what activities your public liability policy insures you for. For example, the policy may say “electrician” or “electrical contractor” but what if your business also provides serves related to HVAC, data and telecommunications, solar design and installation or home automation? Each activity needs to be listed separately in the business description.
Although you may be tempted to downplay the level of risk your business is exposed to, in the long run this could mean an insurance claim is rejected due to a lack of full disclosure at the time the policy is taken out. Far better to be up front and provide an accurate description of your business activities, and know that you are covered for any eventuality.
Do I need public liability insurance Queensland?
Public liability insurance is compulsory for some industries in Queensland. For other businesses operating in Queensland, it just makes good business sense.
Queensland electricians and electrical contractors
Electrical contractors in Queensland must have public liability insurance in order to gain their license to operate, which is issued by the State Government. As part of the licensing process, all applicants must hold public liability insurance covering them for at least $5 million in damages.
If you’re a Queensland-based electrician, our brokers can source a public liability insurance policy that meets the State Government requirement, which is:
“Under section 51 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013, Queensland electrical contractors are required to hold current broadform public and products liability insurance of at least $5,000,000 and Consumer Protection Liability of at least $50,000 under a contract of insurance issued in the name of the applicant.”
Your public liability insurance policy has to cover you for:
- liability arising from testing and certification of work in accordance with the Electrical Safety Regulation
- injury or damage arising from faulty design work performed by you including where you did not charge a specific fee for such design work
- injury or damage arising from incorrect advice including where you did not charge a specific fee for such advice
- goods in your care, custody or control.
Other types of Queensland businesses
More than one quarter of business in Australia do not have general insurance, according to a recent survey by the Insurance Council of Australia. Sole traders are the most likely to be uninsured, with 40 per cent of them operating with no coverage.
Your professional association can provide advice about the type of insurances recommended for your business. A lot will depend on the type of industry you operate in and the risks your business is exposed to.
Having public liability insurance could ensure the continuation of your business if a claim is brought against you.
What does public liability insurance cover in Australia?
In Australia public liability Insurance is the core insurance for most business owners, contractors and sole traders.
It will cover you if your business causes property damage or personal injury to another person. Without this insurance you will be liable for financial damages, legal defence costs and other charges.
Public liability insurance can protect your business against some of the most serious risks faced by small business owners, including property damage and personal injury. It will help to cover your costs in the event you need to pay compensation or expenses related to:
- Injury – if a member of the public is injured at your premises, public liability insurance will cover the medical costs incurred by the injured person;
- Damage – this could be to someone else’s property or something they own.
- Other costs – such as legal fees if a third party is awarded against you. Legal costs can run into thousands, even millions. Public liability insurance covers the reasonable cost of your legal fees and expenses associated with defending a claim made against you, even if you are not at fault.
Our brokers will need to know your trade or occupation; the size of your business (by staff numbers or revenue); whether you use subcontractors and if so, to what extent; how much cover you need (typically the cover is for $5M, $10M or $20M, etc); and any high risk activities or work locations your business is exposed to, such as working at a mine site or an airport.
We can also discuss some strategies to minimise the cost of your public liability insurance. For example, you may wish to consider raising the level of your excess, reducing your benefit limit or looking at package deals to cover all your insurance needs, and reduce the overall cost of your insurance.
Our brokers have access to a wide range of insurance providers. They will help you find a policy that provides suitable coverage, for a competitive price.