Business Insurance For Social Workers

Compare business insurance quotes with Savvy to find the best policy for your social work business 

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, updated on July 26th, 2023       

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Social workers often deal with members of the public in times of crisis or when they are facing stressful issues in their lives. For this reason, those working in the industry must have adequate insurance to protect them just in case something goes wrong and they face legal action. 

You can compare quotes for many different types of business insurance here with Savvy. Just answer a few simple questions about your business 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 comparison service to help you get the best value insurance as a social worker. 

What types of insurance should I buy as a self-employed social worker?  

There are several types of business insurance you should consider if you’re a self-employed social worker. These include: 

Professional indemnity insurance 

Professional indemnity insurance covers you against claims that the service you provided was either incorrect or negligent. This type of insurance (sometimes also called malpractice insurance) can offer you protection against many types of claims, including: 

  • Allegations the care you provided was incorrect, ineffective or unsuitable  
  • Claims the care you provided led to personal injury 
  • Claims the advice you offered was incorrect, negligent, misleading or contrary to professional standards  
  • Allegations of misconduct (either clinical or administrative) 

Professional indemnity insurance is compulsory in order to be employed as a social worker in many situations, but this form of insurance is often provided by the Australian Services Union. It provides free indemnity insurance for all its members, including self-employed people and sole traders earning $200,000 p.a. or less.  Non-union members will need to arrange their own cover, which you can do right here with Savvy. 

Cover starts at $250,000 and can go up to $10 million or more. The amount of cover you require may depend on the setting in which you are employed.  

What it covers 

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

Public liability insurance 

Public liability insurance is essential for anyone who has regular contact with members of the public. It’ll cover you against claims that your actions caused injury to a member of the public or damaged their property. This insurance can offer between $5 million and $20 million worth of coverage. 

What it covers: 

  • Third-party personal injury claims 
  • Damage to a third party’s property 
  • Legal fees to defend yourself 

General business insurance 

General business insurance may also be worthwhile, particularly if you choose statutory liability insurance as an add-on to your general business insurance policy. Statutory liability insurance provides cover in the event of an allegation that a social worker breached relevant legislation in the course of their work. It will cover the cost of any fines or penalties imposed if a successful case is brought against the social worker.   

What it covers: 

  • Fire, storms, theft, vandalism and collision which cause damage to your business assets 
  • Cover for portable equipment such as laptops 
  • The costs of complying with official investigations 
  • Any fine and penalties imposed as the result of an investigation or enquiry 

Cyber liability insurance 

Unfortunately, cybercrime is just as frequent in Australia as it is around the world. If you’re a social worker (or work in another field such as occupational therapy), you may be required to store confidential patient information on your laptop. Cyber liability insurance can protect you from damaging costs in case there’s an attempt to gain illegal access to your confidential client information. This could result from having your laptop stolen or hacked, for example. 

What it covers 

  • Data breaches including theft of client information stored on a computer or laptop 
  • The cost of a forensic investigation into the cause of the breach 
  • Data recovery costs 
  • Cyber extortion and denial of service threats 
  • Crisis management costs 
  • Advertising and communicating with customers 
  • Legal costs including any fines and penalties imposed 

You can opt to buy an insurance package that offers professional indemnity, public liability, cyber liability and statutory liability insurance in one bundle, so you only have to deal with one insurer for all your business insurance requirements

What isn’t covered under my business insurance for social workers? 

The most common general exclusions include:  

  • Injury to yourself or your employees 
  • Flood damage 
  • Glass breakage 
  • Unlawful activity or gross criminal negligence 
  • Failure to comply with lawful notice, direction or enforcement under any Act 
  • Prior claims or known incidents 
  • Wilful, reckless or intentional damage or behaviour  
  • Anything to do with asbestos 
  • The effects of pollution caused by your business activity 
  • The upgrading of a computer system not related to cybercrime  
  • Power outages or failure of satellite or telecommunication services 
  • Prior known circumstances or risks 
  • Commercial vehicles (which must be covered by a separate policy) 

How much does business insurance cost for a social worker? 

There is no set cost for an insurance policy, as each applicant is different and faces unique risks. Many factors 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.  

However, the cost of insurance also varies depending on where you live. For example, a social worker buying public liability insurance in the Australian Capital Territory may not receive the same quote as a social worker in Victoria. 

There are many more variables which will affect the cost of your public liability insurance and other policies, so the best way to find out how much your insurance will cost is to get a free, no-obligation quote through Savvy so you can have exact numbers to compare. Whether you’re employed in a hospital, private practice or run your own business, you’ll be able to consider a range of policies from top insurers with us. 

Why do I need business insurance as a social worker?

You worked hard at university to get qualified, and you may have spent a great deal of time setting up your own business so you can work for yourself. It makes sense to want financial protection just in case things do go wrong. Mistakes can happen and claims can come out of the left field, so you’ll want to know you’re protected from a range of eventualities just in case you are the subject of a legal claim. 

Business liability insurance offers protection in case unforeseen events catch you by surprise. It can offer you peace of mind knowing you’re protected in a wide range of circumstances. As long as you have adequate insurance, you’ll stand a much better chance of defending yourself and getting back on your feet quickly if an issue does arise which you’re covered for. 

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Frequently asked questions about business insurance for social workers

Do I need to buy additional insurance if professional indemnity coverage is provided through my union?

This will depend on your role and the risks you face. The professional indemnity (PI) insurance provided by some unions may just be basic insurance, so if you’re working in a particularly high-risk environment, you may wish to supplement this basic insurance with additional cover. It’s always important to check with your union and read the policy’s terms and conditions to determine how much additional cover (if any) you may need. 

What is run-off cover and do social workers need it?

Run-off cover is a type of professional indemnity insurance that protects social workers and other professionals against claims made after they have ended their careers. It offers insurance cover for several years following retirement (often up to six) just in case a claim is made years after the original professional service was provided.  

Do social workers who run their own business need other forms of management cover on top of statutory liability insurance?

Yes – many social workers (and other allied health professionals) who operate as sole traders or run a small business opt to take out management liability insurance as an additional precaution. This is particularly important if your business employs several other people. This type of insurance can help protect you from claims of corporate mismanagement, such as unfair dismissal. 

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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