Insurance for freelancers: Professional indemnity and public liability

(Stuart Langridge) #1

So! Freelance people. One ought to have professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance. Which I’m now looking at sorting out for myself (yes, yes, I know I should have done so before now). Would any of you who are more forward looking than me care to share the prices you’re paying, and any recommendations you might have? I have one quotation for about £350 a year, and I have no idea whether this is fantastic value or daylight robbery…

(Steve Jalim) #2

I get mine from qdos - office protect package (which includes PL) + PI + others for about 500 a year all in.
Hiscox and insurancebyjack both came out higher for my needs.

(Daniel Newns) #3

I grabbed some a few months back, i guess it might be slightly different for me? but i paid £264 for the year which covers me for up to 10 million employers liability and 2million professional as i needed that limit for a project i was asked to work on. hope that helps.

(Andy Wootton) #4

The BCS offered a good deal for members. I also remember that it was a very bad idea to write software for the nuclear industry (I was at Nuclear Electric at the time.)

(Marc Cooper) #5

I used A-Plan in Hereford @ ~£300. I like them as a business, because they’re salaried and don’t remunerate on commission, so conversations feel like talking to real humans, which they are, I believe.

(Jon) #6

I have this question, and it looks from the above responses that folks were paying for their PI and PL insurance on an annual basis. I’d like to get mine monthly, since I don’t currently work all year around, and it does not seem sensible to maintain cover when it is not needed.

I’ll have a look around, but presently I may just go with the offering from my accountant, Clever Accounts, who charge £30 per month extra to include the above insurances, plus Employers’ Liability insurance as well. So that’s £360 if I were to use it for a whole year, which is much what @sil quotes above. (I am ambivalent about Clever Accounts generally, as they don’t seem to innovate as a tech firm, and their web app isn’t amazing, but it does do the job).

I quite like the calculator here, run by the same firm that @stevejalim mentioned, and if I put in the insurances above in, I get £22-£25 per month, depending on whether you want the PI to cover past liability or just current work.

(Dee Vious) #7

You should go with the obvious!

I had minutes to arrange two policies, so I called Direct Line - £200 for one with interest-free monthly installments, and £79 for the other.

It was too easy, I can cancel at any time, without penalty, and I get 10% (or is it 20%?) off my car insurance.

‘Job done’ - that’s the phrase I’m looking for!

(Greg Robson) #8

As I imagine many people are looking for solo/startup insurance I’m going to promote a product/bootstrapper I have been following for a while (although I’ve had no cause to use the service… yet).

The founder, Ashley Baxter (twitter) has built up to a couple of hundred clients and specialises in startups/freelancers/solo entrepreneurs.

Looking at the website there are monthly plans and the prices appear to be on a par (or cheaper) that what others have quoted. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Jon) #9

Marvellous, @GregRobson - at first glance that looks very good. I am not a fan of business administration, so anything that is simple, quick and no-frills gets my vote. I will take a proper look later this week when I get a moment.

@ArgyBargy: ooh, I wouldn’t have thought of DirectLine for business insurance. I take it that insurance cannot be taken per month, then? (They sound like annual costs, though not too bad in value terms).

(Dee Vious) #10

As I say, the more expensive policy was available in interest-free instalments.

And as a bonus to IT types, indemnity cover prohibits you from working inside a computer - no more ‘Jack of all trades’!

(Andy Wootton) #11

What about inside a virtual computer? :slight_smile:

I’ve remembered why I never took out indemnity insurance. Someone pointed out to me that one of the advantages of operating a limited company is that you can fold, with the loss of only your share capital, which might be £2. My accountant suggested ‘boosting’ that to £100 so I didn’t look cheap :slight_smile:

I was providing a system management service, not writing software so if I’d made an expensive mistake, I think I’d have been thrown out rather than sued, like an employee and I always had an agent between my company and the client. They (probably) had liability insurance.

(Dee Vious) #12

You make two good points:

  1. If I want to get into semantic analysis, I need to be the one to say, ‘hardware’ and not, ‘computer’. Basically, if I need a screwdriver to access it, I’m not covered!

  2. WRT indemnity insurance, it is true that many sole traders see limited liability status as a symbol of stability, in the eyes of prospective customers. Truth be told, it does indemnify the company directors and, in that, is a threat to prospective customers! Indemnity insurance provides a win for both parties, for about £2/week.

Final acronym - VFM!

(Andy Wootton) #13

It shows how little insurers know about computation. If you can’t do more damage with software than you can with a screwdriver in a PC then you aren’t doing it right.

Things must have got worse because at least the company I talked to knew that if I worked at Nuclear Electric, they didn’t want me to be writing any safety-critical software. Probably just as well they didn’t know I could have destroyed the data for reactor component QA. (Not QUITE true. I only worked on the dev systems.)

(Greg Robson) #14

Folding is one thing, it might protect you from financial loss. However (as I understand it) if you were to face legal action and had done allegedly done something “very bad” – financial malpractice, Health and Safety violoation – and you had to defend yourself, you would have very virtually no way to defend yourself and that could result with a black mark against your name as a company director or a criminal conviction.

As one of the stories on With Jack highlights… you only need one customer to say that you haven’t done enough to justify paying the final instalment on a website and things will get very time consuming very fast. For £2/week you can just say “fine, my insurer will deal with it” and you can let them argue it for you.

I highly recommend the excellent industry talk by Mike Monteiro (Author of You’re My Favourite Client - also recommended). The talk is titled F**k You, Pay Me (profanity should be of no surprise if you know his work!)

(Stuart Langridge) #15

That’s a pretty compelling argument…!

(Jon) #16

OK, I’m liking With Jack. I applied via a wizard, and it sent me a PDF quote via email. For me, with PI and PL insurance, it came out to around £200, which would be a fair saving on what my accountant would offer me.

I still have to fill in a risk form, but I don’t think this will affect the price. The insurance is annual, not monthly as I’d hoped - just settled monthly. But, still pretty good, and I’ll probably grab this when my next contract kicks off.

(Greg Robson) #17

Excellent, glad to hear it was a good experience :+1: