Do Subcontractors Need Public Liability Too? - Contractors Insurance Australia

November 13, 2015

Working for yourself means you often work on contract for your clients. However in many cases you might be contracted by someone who is a contractor themselves. In this case you become a sub-contractor. You may be asking yourself if this means that you are automatically covered by their Public Liability Insurance or if you need your own. Well, we are here to clear things up for you!

But first, what’s Public Liability Insurance?

Public Liability Insurance will protect you from the costs associated with damages caused to a third party. This damage might be to third party property, or to third parties themselves in the form of injury or illness. The insurance steps in to help pay for items such as repair, replacement, medical bills, lawyer fees, or rehabilitation costs.

Am I a subcontractor?

If you’re a subcontractor then you have your own ABN number and you’re being hired out on an agreement by another contractor. This is usually to help out with a particular job. You’ll know if you’ve been hired by the contractor as an employee as you’ll likely be presented with an employee contractor rather than a subcontractor agreement. Subcontractors operate independently. You won’t have a direct agreement with the client if you are a subcontractor.

Do I need to get Public Liability Insurance?

As an independent operator you should consider Public Liability Insurance for your business in the first place. Depending on which type of industry you are in, it may also be mandatory to obtain it. A broad-form Public Liability policy will ensure that you are covered for the major third party liability risks such as if someone injures themselves on your premises or if you were to damage someone’s property.
Sometimes the contractor which engages you will have an extension on their own Public Liability Insurance policy to cover subcontractors. In this case for job specific cases you may not need to obtain the insurance yourself. But it is always best to check with the contractor hiring and also to check with your industry body and insurance broker that you are fully covered to industry standards before commencing work.

How much will it cost me?

The cost of your Public Liability Insurance will be determined by:

  • The risks involved in your contractor work
  • The size of your business
  • If you have employees
  • Your turn over
  • The amount of maximum liability you’d like to purchase

What’s not covered?

Your Public Liability insurance will only cover you in cases of third party involvement. Therefore it will not cover yourself, employees, your property, or your vehicles. You’ll need to engage Personal Accident and Illness Insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance, and General Property Insurance to cover these areas.
Protect yourself as a subcontractor
Insurance for subcontractors should include Public Liability Insurance and is in many cases mandatory, check with your broker to make sure you are fully covered to industry standards. Call us on 1300 GET COVER today, email at or fill in our easy online quoter. All information provided above is of a general nature, if you need specific advice we recommend speaking to a broker.

General Advice Warning – retail clients *

General advice on this website has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the advice, please consider its appropriateness. You should also consider our disclosure documents, which include our Financial Services Guide (FSG) and Product Disclosure Statements (PDS) for some products.
*Retail clients are individuals or those purchasing an insurance product for use in connection with a small business where the product is a designated retail product (eg motor vehicle, home buildings, home contents, personal and domestic property, sickness and accidental and travel insurance). All other clients are wholesale clients.

We are a member of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). If you have a complaint and it is not resolved to your satisfaction by us, you have the right to refer the matter to the AFCA. The AFCA can be contacted at:

Mailing address
Australian Financial Complaints Authority, GPO Box 3, Melbourne, VIC 3001

Ph – 1800 931 678
Email –
Website –

Website By Cohesion Co.

Contractor Cover is a registered trading name of
Elliott Australia Group Pty Ltd
AFSL 418512
ABN: 81 153 685 922
© Contractor Cover – Insurance for Contractors in Australia