Self-employed insurance

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What is self-employed insurance?

Self-employed insurance provides cover if you work independently. It's a mix of business insurance policies that protect you against potential risks such as liability claims, business interruptions and health issues.

You can often tailor cover to include the policies you might need for your line of work. That includes public liability, employers' liability, professional indemnity, income protection and cyber insurance.

Why do I need business insurance if I’m a sole trader?

The reasons for needing business insurance depends on the type of work you do. Different trades carry different risks.

The main reason to consider self-employed business insurance is to protect you from the risks you may encounter in your work. That could include liability claims, property damage and legal issues.

You might want to protect business assets such as equipment or machinery. You may also want to have cover in place in case you're unable to work due to illness or an accident.

Costs can quickly mount up in the case of unexpected events like these. With self-employed insurance you can minimise the impact on your day to day operations.

What does self-employed business insurance cover?

Self-employed insurance is a term used to cover a range of different policies. Different policies cover different events, but there are some common policies that can be included:

Public liability insurance

It isn’t a legal requirement, but it can protect your business against claims made by members of the public. This could be for injuries they suffer, illnesses they contract or damage done to their property by your business. It can help you cover the cost of compensation, legal fees and medical expenses you’re ordered to pay if your business is sued. These can soon add up, so it can be worthwhile to have in place.

Employers' liability insurance

This protects your business against claims from employees. It’s a legal requirement for most businesses with employees, and being found without it carries hefty fines. It's designed to help you cover compensation payouts, legal fees and medical expenses your business is found liable for. This could be for things like injuries your employees suffer or damage done to their property while at work.

Professional indemnity insurance

This protects your business against claims of negligence or misconduct made by clients. This could be for poor advice you give that causes financial harm, or work you do that they claim isn’t as promised. They could even claim for reputational harm your work has caused them. It’s not a legal requirement, but some regulators and trade bodies could insist you have it in place in order to trade.

What our business insurance expert says

Self-employed individuals face unique risks. Whether it's liability claims or unexpected business interruptions - self-employed insurance can be crucial. Protect your business, assets and livelihood and continue to operate when unforeseen challenges arise.

How can we help?

Time is precious when you're self-employed. From accounting and client management to troubleshooting and securing future work - there's rarely time to relax.

The idea of shopping around for business insurance might not seem very appealing. But our partner, Simply Business, can help make the process simple. Taking the stress and complications out of it, you can select the right policies to suit your line of work.

That way, you can focus on the important things - your business.

Which jobs does self-employed insurance cover?

Self-employed insurance can be tailored to suit almost any business.

Whether you work alone or with employees, in an office or from home, there are potential risks all around. And it's not just a hefty bill you could face if you aren't covered. You might be unable to carry out your work too. And if you work for yourself, that can cause significant issues.

That's why self-employed insurance can be tailored to suit any type of occupation.

Here are a few examples of occupations that might benefit from self-employed insurance:

Graphic designers and other creatives may need protection against claims of copyright infringement or work completed unsatisfactorily. Any equipment might need protecting from theft or damage too.

Consultants may need shielding from professional liability if their advice leads to a financial loss for the client.

Electricians might need cover for a range of events: accidental property damage, injury or claims of faulty workmanship.

Copywriters may need protection from plagiarism claims or contract disputes.

How much does self employed insurance cost?

A range of factors go into what you pay for self-employed insurance. The main thing is what type of policies you choose to make up your self-employed insurance.

Other factors include:

The size of your business, as the more people you employ, the higher the risk of an accident or something going wrong

The type of business you have, as some are more likely to cause harm or damage to the public or their property. Other businesses are more susceptible to cyber crime, or more likely to cause a reputational issue for a client.

How much cover you take out, as the higher your cover amount the more you pay.

How often you interact with the public, as dealing with customers day-in-day-out puts you at higher risk than a rarely public-facing business.

How much should I be covered for?

When you apply for a quote, tell the insurer as much as you can about what your business does.

Set out, in detail, your business' activities and where you think there are risks you need cover for.

Insurance applications aren't designed to catch you out, they're designed to ensure you get the cover you need. So be sure to accurately represent your business and its activities. That's the best way to make sure you get the right level of cover.

Our partner Simply Business

The quotes you'll get from us are provided by Simply Business, one of the UK’s best known business insurance providers.

They’ve helped more than 3 million businesses since 2005 find the right cover at the right price. This includes everyone from sole traders to large, multi-site operations. 

They’re regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, too. This means  that everything they do is out in the open. Just like every other partner we work with, you can rest assured you’re in safe hands with Simply Business.

Get a quote today and find the cover you need in minutes.


How insurance polices work

Self-employed insurance can include a range of different policies. Each policy can also provide cover for all kinds of unexpected events. Typically, the main policies to consider if you're self-employed are employers' liability, public liability and professional indemnity.

To help illustrate these three main types of business insurance, here are some examples of how the policies could work:

An electrician has hired an assistant. The assistant trips over a cable on the job and requires medical attention. The electrician is able to claim on their employers' liability insurance, meaning the medical bills and compensation for the assistant are covered.

An online seller ships a batch of handmade cakes to a customer. Unfortunately, an ingredient reacts badly with the customer, causing illness. The customer files a claim against the online seller. Using their public liability insurance, the cost of the claim, legal fees and compensation due is covered. This protects the online seller from substantial financial loss.

A copywriter creates a new blog piece for their client. However the blog contained some factual errors, damaging the client's reputation in the industry. The client makes a claim against the copywriter for financial losses and reputational damages caused by the inaccuracies. Using their public indemnity insurance, the copywriter is covered for the compensation owed and legal fees.

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What’s the difference between public liability and professional indemnity?

Public liability insurance covers your business if it causes accidental illness, injury or damage as a result of its activities.

Professional indemnity insurance covers your business against any financial loss a client may have suffered as a result of your work. That could be bad advice, inadequate services or anything that causes the client to suffer a financial loss.

Is being a sole trader and self employed the same thing?

While they are often referred to as the same thing, there are differences that can be highlighted.

A sole trader is a specific type of self-employment. As the title suggests, it means an individual owns and runs their business on their own. They take full responsibility for its finances and day to day activities. They may have registered their business with the government under their own name.

A self-employed individual might not operate as a sole trader. They may choose to work in a partnership or a limited company. But in any case, they aren't employed by anyone and are responsible for their own taxes.

Is self employed business insurance relevant for me if I work from home?

Self-employed insurance is just as relevant as working in an office or other premises. You may find you need to tailor certain policies to suit your business. But you can still be held liable for mistakes or negligence. And if clients visit your home and have an accident, public liability insurance is still important.

Page last reviewed: 28/06/2024

Reviewed by: Alex Ryde Landlord Insurance is provided by Simply Business. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7NG. Our service is free and compares a range of trusted household names. is an intermediary and receives commission from Xbridge Limited which is based on a percentage of the total annual premium if you decide to buy through our website. We pride ourselves on impartiality and independence – therefore we don't promote any one insurance provider over another.