As every welder knows ‘hot work risk’ is expensive to insure and often sparks controversy in the welding community. Depending on the welder’s business, premiums can range from as little as £500 a year to £10,000 or more. So how do welders, mobile welders and blacksmiths go about finding the best value business insurance?
To help here are some pointers:
• The premium paid for hot work insurance is linked to the business turnover, that’s all the money charged to clients less VAT for work carried out and before business expenses are deducted. So you need a handle on an accurate figure.
If you are starting out in the welding business, don’t hit and hope at a figure that will make your insurance too expensive. Quote a reasonable figure and go back for additional cover if trade takes off.
• Speak to a broker about a ‘blacksmith liability policy’ – whether you are a mobile welder, have premises or work from a mixture of both, that’s the basic policy you need. A whole of the market broker can offer quotes from any insurer and is not tied to a narrow selection of providers, this way a policy can be tailored to your budget and business needs.
• Standard policies include hot risk cover for you, but you need extra cover for employees or sub-contractors
• Public liability cover levels depend on your clients – £5 million is adequate for private customers, but local authorities and public bodies will look for a minimum £10 million.
If you are starting out, go for the lowest and ask your customer the level of cover they require when they commission a job – that way you can increase the cover if you need to while keeping costs down.
• Make sure the liability cover specifies the type of work you do – one of the main exclusions is vehicles travelling on public roads and you may have to up your premium to include these under a policy.
One big risk you need to consider is repairs to vehicles with petrol tanks. If the tanks are removed before hot work, then the risk is greatly reduced. General blacksmith policies may exclude motor repairs, so if you do this work, make sure you are covered.
• Don’t forget to get cover for your welding equipment and supplies, so that if the worst happens you can continue to earn a living.
If you do hot work at your own blacksmith or welders workshop, talk to the insurer about fire risk cover: you can reduce this premium by investing in fire safety measures like extinguishers and blankets.