What insurance do I need for my cleaning business?

What insurance do you need for your cleaning business, what exclusions do you need to know about and how do you find the right policy?

Having insurance for your cleaning business is an absolute essential – and it goes way beyond the slips and trips that you might expect.

In this article, we’ll be looking at what insurance you need for your cleaning business, what restrictions you need to be careful of and how to find the right policy for you.

  1. What insurance will I need for my cleaning business?
  2. What other insurance could be useful for my small cleaning business?
  3. What restrictions might I come across?
  4. How do I find a policy that’s right for me?

What insurance will I need for my cleaning business?

Firstly, let’s talk about public liability insurance. This will cover you in the event that a member of the public gets injured because of your work. This could be the aforementioned slips ‘n’ trips, falling over a vacuum cleaner cable or damage to property from a cleaning agent. It’ll also protect you in the event that one of your employees causes damage.

Speaking of employees, if you have any staff – even if they’re volunteers or seasonal staff – you need employers’ liability insurance. Staff past and present could make a claim against you if they get injured or become unwell while they work(ed) for you. The minimum is £5m but packages are available for £10m too. One thing you should know is that if you need it and don’t have it, you’ll be fined £2,500 for every day you were required to have it.     

What other insurance could be useful for my small cleaning business?

Professional indemnity insurance is useful for all kinds of businesses. This will cover unpaid client bills, costs involved to correct mistakes, dishonest staff, defamation, infringement of intellectual property rights, negligent misrepresentation and lost documents or data.

Vans need van insurance. Some will only cover the vehicle(s) while others will protect the professional and personal possessions inside them, should they get stolen. Meanwhile, there are some insurers who will do standalone insurance for your tools but expect it to be part of the package.

Of course, you’ll need to establish whether you’re after domestic insurance, commercial insurance, or a blend of both. Commercial businesses will have extra insurance cover as there’ll likely be more cleaning involved and it’s higher risk. It’s still important nonetheless, so take care not to skimp.

“The insurance is there for a reason,” said Andy Duncan, business manager at Easy Cleaners. “What you might find is that the domestic can be at a lower level, so you’re insured for less – it might be £1m or £2m. But if you’re trying to go for the commercial stuff, then the actual cover is more,” he added.

After you’ve nailed the essentials, it’s time to think about specialist insurance, especially if you do something like washing windows for high-rise buildings or you clean valuable items. Specialist insurance can cover a wide variety of cleaning businesses – even a wheelie bin cleaner. Bear in mind that insurance is not a legal requirement for self-employed cleaners, but it’s still highly recommended as sole traders are still vulnerable to the same accidents.

“Given the breadth of cleaning services offered by independent companies, the coverage needed for each business varies significantly,” said Julian Hucks, founder and managing director at Starpeak.

For instance, when providing services such as specialised carpet cleaning or delicate surface treatments, insurance coverage must safeguard against accidental damage, theft of equipment, liability issues or injury to workers.

There are other elements to cover that may not be front of mind when you’re starting out. “Many independent cleaners carry keys to access properties out of hours or when the owner is out. Losing these keys may require lock replacements to uphold security standards,” said Hucks. “Coverage must also extend to instances of failing to secure a building post-visit and fidelity issues, which involve potential dishonesty from employees.”

The overall cost of your premiums will depend on the nature of your work, how many members of staff you have and what your turnover looks like. With this in mind, it’s worth considering whether an employee might be vulnerable, say they’re working on their own at an office late at night. Factor that into insurance too.  

Once you’ve figured out what insurance cover you need, the amount that you need cover for comes into question. With larger and higher-risk operations, the coverage will need to be higher.

“By having the right coverage, independent cleaning businesses can safeguard their operations while also improving customer satisfaction and fostering long-term loyalty,” said Hucks.

What restrictions might I come across?

You could face exclusions for work done at height, with heavy items or in particularly dangerous conditions which is why, again, you’d likely need a specialist policy.

How do I find a policy that’s right for me?

As ever, it’s important to shop around. Make sure you know what your business needs are and read the fine print before you commit to anything. If you’re unsure about limits, exclusions – or anything else – contact your insurer.  

Find insurance for your cleaning business now

Now that we’ve examined the key types of business insurance, you may have realised you want to look at your existing policies or sign up for new ones.

If you’re looking for business insurance and aren’t sure where to begin, why not use our free quote tool to find a tailored commercial combined policy that will cover all your needs.

Simply fill in our free quote-finding form and answer a few questions about your business (it takes less than a minute).

Read more

What to know before starting your own cleaning business – We give some pointers on starting your own business in the cleaning sector, including costs, insurance and building your customer base

Dealing with business insurance claims – SmallBusiness.co.uk provides some points to help you if you need to make an insurance claim

Employers’ liability insurance – what is it and do you need it? – Here, we answer all of your questions around employers’ liability insurance – how much will you pay and what happens if you don’t have it?

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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