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Many people enjoy the simple structure of being a sole trader, but it does mean that you have more than most to lose if things go pear shaped in your business.
Unlike a Pty Ltd company, you and your business are a single legal entity, which means if things go wrong in your business it can easily affect your personal finances.
This is why insurance is arguably more important for a sole trader that it is for any other business type.
Public Liability for a Sole Trader
If your business has even the slightest risk exposure to causing property damage or personal injury to another person, public liability insurance should be considered an absolute must.
When you cause damage or injury as a result of your business activities you are liable for all costs that the person suffers as a result.
In a minor event this could simply involve a few hundred dollars to replace or repair their damaged property, but if an incident results in major injury or even death, the figures can potentially climb into the millions.
As a sole trader you and your business are jointly liable for these costs, and if you cannot settle the claim using your own money you will most likely be forced into personal bankruptcy.
As scary as that sounds, you can easily avoid this situation by having adequate public liability insurance in place for your business.
With the right cover in place, a claim relating to property damage or personal injury caused by your business will be covered by your insurance rather than impacting on your own financial situation.
Despite the high level of cover which the insurance provides, taking out public liability is actually very straightforward for most sole trader businesses.
Your insurance broker will ask you a number of questions about your business, and in most cases they will be able to provide quotes and cover within a very short time-frame.
You can also obtain cover directly from a number of insurance companies via their websites and call centers, but when it comes to business insurance we strongly recommend using a licensed broker or adviser.
The cost of public liability cover for a sole trader will depend heavily on the type of work they undertake and the size of their business in terms of annual revenue.
As an example, the public liability cost for a sole trader carpenter working on residential projects only can be from as low as $450 per year.
If you undertake more complex or higher risk business activities, or if you work in locations which are considered to be hazardous, the cost of your insurance can rise considerably.
The best option for finding out the cost of your insurance is to request a quote from a qualified broker. Through our website you can do just this by clicking on our online quote button.
Other Types of Insurance
Although our website specialises in public liability insurance, there are other forms of cover which sole traders should consider.
One of the most important is income protection. As sole traders do not have access to sick leave or workers compensation, an income protection policy is one of the few ways of avoiding financial hardship whilst being unable to work.
You can find more information on income protection insurance by following this link to our dedicated page.
For more information on insurance for sole traders you should speak with your insurance broker or financial adviser.