Business Insurance For Builders And Carpenters

Compare business insurance quotes with Savvy to find the best policy for builders and carpenters. 

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, updated on July 27th, 2023       

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We’ve partnered with BizCover to bring you a range of business insurance policies to help you compare them side by side.

As a builder or carpenter, there’s plenty of responsibility placed on your shoulders to make sure the structural integrity of a building is sound. Therefore, it’s vital to make sure you have great business insurance to protect you from a wide range of covered incidents just in case things go wrong.  

You can compare quotes for many types of business insurance here with Savvy. Just answer a few simple questions about the work you do and the insurance you need and you’ll have multiple quotes from a range of respected insurers to consider instantly. Use our quick and easy service to help you compare the best value policies today. 

What types of insurance should I have as a builder or carpenter?

There are several types of business insurance you should consider if you are a builder or carpenter. These include:  

Public liability insurance 

Public liability insurance is a very important type of insurance for all carpenters and builders and is compulsory for all tradies and handymen on most building sites in Australia. It also offers protection if you undertake work directly for the public, or work as a contractor for a larger building firm.  

It can cover you against claims you or your work caused injury to a member of the public or damaged their property. This insurance is available for amounts between $5 million and $20 million, depending on your personal requirements or the level of cover required by the site you are working on. 

What it covers:  

  • Third-party personal injury claims 
  • Damage to a third party’s property due to your negligent business activity 
  • Legal fees to defend yourself 

General business insurance 

General business insurance may also be worthwhile to protect your tools and portable equipment (such as generators, for example). Business equipment insurance, which includes protection for your portable assets, is typically offered as part of a business insurance package, offering a variety of types of cover bundled into one policy. For example, you can get public liability and business theft insurance in one insurance bundle.  

Commercial vehicles aren’t included in a business insurance package, however, so you may need separate commercial vehicle protection for your work ute. 

What it covers: 

  • Fire, storms, water damage, explosions, impacts 
  • Vandalism and malicious damage 
  • Accidental damage 
  • Theft following forcible entry to locked buildings or vehicles 
  • Theft of equipment which is securely attached to a vehicle with a lock or padlock 
  • A collision which causes damage to your business equipment 
  • Cover for your tools including electronic equipment and other portable equipment such as generators, battery chargers and laptops 

Professional indemnity insurance  

Professional indemnity insurance is another form of cover you may wish to consider as a builder or carpenter, depending on the type of work you undertake and your business structure. It can cover you against claims that the advice, recommendations or service you provided were either wrong or negligent. This type of insurance can offer you protection against many types of claims, including: 

  • giving incorrect advice 
  • a miscalculation or incorrect diagnosis of a problem 
  • an omission or breach of duty 
  • loss of documentation 
  • engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct 
  • not meeting your client’s expectations (such as failing to meet a deadline) 

Cover starts at $250,000 and can go up to $10 million or more. 

What it covers 

  • Cover for your legal defence costs 
  • Payment of compensation if there’s a successful claim against you 
  • Payment of court-awarded damages to the litigant 
  • Cover for the cost of investigations or disciplinary proceedings 

Personal accident and illness insurance  

Since you rely on your physical fitness to be able to do your job, taking care of your health should be a high priority for all people who earn a living working with their hands. Accident and sickness insurance can provide cover for you if you become sick and are unable to work, with a weekly replacement income available if you can’t work as a result of an accident or injury. 

What it covers: 

  • Loss of income as a result of sickness, injury or accident 

 Optional extras can include: 

  • Death benefits 
  • Disablement benefits 

Payment of business expenses during your recovery period 

What isn’t covered under business insurance for carpenters and builders?  

The most common general exclusions include: 

  • Injury to yourself or your employees 
  • Damage to your own property 
  • The cost of rectifying faulty workmanship 
  • Professional negligence 
  • Contractual liability 
  • Unlawful activity or criminal negligence 
  • Reckless behaviour or intentional damage 
  • Anything to do with asbestos 
  • The effects of pollution caused by your business activity 

How much does insurance cost for a carpenter or builder?

There is no set cost for an insurance policy, as each applicant is different and faces unique risks. Many factors can influence the cost of business insurance, including the following: 

  • The state you’re in  
  • Whether you live in a rural or urban area 
  • Whether you’re a sole trader, are in a partnership or run a larger business 
  • Your business size and turnover  
  • If you have any employees 
  • Your credit history  
  • Your insurance history 
  • Whether you’ve made an insurance claim in the past five years 

The main factor which will affect the cost of your insurance is the industry you’re in. All businesses in Australia are classified according to the risk their industry poses and are allocated a risk ratio. These ratios are used by insurers to calculate the comparative risk of any one business compared to another.  

Therefore, the cost of business insurance for one carpenter whose business is based in NSW may be similar to the costs faced by another in Victoria.  

You can find out how much business insurance will cost by comparing quotes right here with Savvy. Whether you need insurance for yourself as a carpenter or for your building or construction business, you’ll be able to consider a wide range of policy options right here. 

Why do I need insurance as a carpenter or builder?

You likely worked hard as an apprentice and, in the years following, built up your skills as a qualified carpenter or builder. You may have started your own business and spent years building up a good reputation and a loyal customer base, so you’ll want to protect your business and your reputation if things go wrong. Public liability insurance is there to offer you protection and the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re insured if a covered event does happen. 

Most small to medium-sized businesses have some contingency funds to fall back on, but they’re rarely sufficient to cover the cost of a major catastrophe. For example, if your work ute was stolen with all your tools in it, you could find yourself unable to earn an income until you had the money to replace them. If this happens and you qualify for insurance protection, you’ll have a much better chance of recovering and getting back on your feet quickly. 

Types of business insurance

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Frequently asked questions about business insurance for carpenters and builders

What is a Certificate of Currency and where do I get one?

A Certificate of Currency is a formal document issued by an insurance company confirming that insurance cover is in place starting and ending on a specified date. It will automatically be sent to you once you pay your first premium for your insurance and is legal proof that you are insured. You should take care of this document, as you may be asked to produce it many times throughout the year to prove that you are legally insured. 

Do I need additional public liability insurance if I’m already covered by my union?

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ rule for the amount of public liability insurance an individual carpenter or builder needs. It’ll depend on several factors, such as the scale of work you’re undertaking and the potential risks involved. If you’re just working on smaller domestic jobs for members of the public, rather than larger construction jobs, the cover provided by your union as part of your membership fees may be sufficient. However, some projects on a larger scale may require more than just your union-based insurance. 

Can I take out additional insurance for my most valuable tools?

Yes – some general insurance policies have a maximum cover limit for an individual tool, ranging from $500 to $1,500. If you have tools that would be particularly expensive to replace, some companies offer additional insurance for individual named items, which can help you protect your most valuable tools and equipment. 

What information will I need to make a claim?

The information you should have to hand when you contact your insurance company to make a claim will include: 

  • The name of the policyholder 
  • Your policy number and start date (which can be found on your Certificate of Currency) 
  • A detailed description of the incident (what happened to cause the damage or loss) 
  • Specific dates and times when the incident happened 
  • Contact details of any other parties involved (or witnesses to the event) 
  • Details of your police report number (if a crime took place) 
  • Details of the property lost or damaged (including its age and value) 
  • Your bank details for settling the claim 


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Savvy is partnered with BizCover Pty Ltd (ABN 68 127 707 975, AFSL 501769) to provide readers with a variety of business insurance policies to compare. Savvy earns a commission from BizCover each time a customer buys a business insurance policy via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased from these brands directly, as all purchases are conducted via BizCover.

Savvy does not compare all business insurance policies or providers currently operating in the market. Any advice presented above or on other pages is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an insurance policy.

For any further information on the variety of insurers compared by BizCover or how their business works, you can read their Financial Services Guide.

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