Do Self Employed Cleaners Need Insurance? Guide on Cover & Policies

Demand for domestic and commercial cleaning services is on the increase in the UK. With many new businesses flourishing, it’s important to understand your legal obligations. Whilst self employed cleaners don’t need insurance as a legal requirement, it is important to consider if a policy would be a wise investment to protect your business.

In this guide we’ll look at the most common types of insurance policies that a self employed cleaner might wish to consider, and give an overview of what risks they are designed to mitigate.

This will give you the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about whether investing in an insurance policy for your business is the right choice for you.

Do Self Employed Cleaners Need Insurance?

Insurance is not a legal requirement for self employed cleaners but it is good business practice. There are many risks that can arise through providing domestic or commercial cleaning services.

However, there is a legal obligation to hold an employer’s liability insurance policy if your business employs a member of staff, even if it is on on a temporary basis.

The right insurance policy can offer financial protection to you and your business from risks such as:-

Legal Claims

As a self employed cleaner, you might face legal claims from clients relating to your work on their premises. These can include accidental damage, injuries suffered by third parties, or unsatisfactory work.

Legal claims can be expensive to defend, and as the business owner you’re responsible for legal costs and any compensation payments.

You can protect yourself against the financial consequences of legal action by obtaining public liability insurance. Professional indemnity insurance protects against claims relating to unsatisfactory work.


Accidents can happen in the workplace. As a cleaner you are at an increased risk from trips, slips, and falls. You might also suffer exposure to harmful cleaning chemicals, or be injured whilst using some types of cleaning equipment.

There’s no entitlement to sick pay for the self employed. That means you can suffer lost income if you have an accident at work and need to take time off to recover.

You can protect yourself against having an accident at work by obtaining Income Protection Insurance.

Loss or Theft of Equipmenmt

As a self employed cleaner you rely on specialist tools and equipment to perform your job. Loss or theft can cause interruption to your business. Having to replace your cleaning equipment will also incur additional costs.

You can protect yourself against the costs of having to replace some or all of your cleaning gear by obtaining Tools and Equipment Insurance.

What Type of Policies Do Cleaners Need?

Cleaners can purchase a range of insurance policies to suit their needs. Insurance can help keep a cleaning business afloat during a legal dispute or other claims.

Being aware of the different insurance types and what they cover can ensure you take out the appropriate one. Some policies may not be relevant to a small cleaning business while others are a very good idea. We explore cleaning insurance policies below, along with what they cover.

Public Liability Insurance

One that should be purchased by all self employed cleaning businesses, large or small, is public liability insurance. This protects your business in the event someone from the general public makes a legal claim.

It gives you a professional edge that companies may look for when hiring cleaners for their place of work. It covers situations such as accidents suffered by the public, legal disputes, accidental damage and injury.

PLI means that if you are taken to court by a client, you will receive financial help with the legal costs and any compensation payments arising.

Portable Tools &  Equipment Insurance

Cleaners need a fair amount of equipment to effectively run their business. They rely on the tools of their trade to keep the business running.

Tools and equipment insurance will also cover the use of business phones and laptops. Most businesses rely on such devices to communicate with their clients.

If any equipment is stolen or damaged, insurance will cover their replacement. This may not be covered by normal domestic insurance policies. Many self employed cleaners store their equipment in their homes.

Employer’s Liability Insurance

Self employed cleaning businesses often hire staff to help fulfil the daily workload. To take on staff, employer liability insurance should be purchased.

Employers liability insurance is the only type of policy a self employed cleaner is legally obligated to hold.

Employer’s liability insurance covers businesses when staff members have accidents while at work. This might include slipping on wet floors, coming into contact with hazardous chemicals or falling down the stairs.

This type of insurance cover also helps protect the self employed from any legal allegations made by employees.

Business Vehicle Cover

Cleaners need transport for getting their equipment to their jobs. This means using a car or van for business purposes.

This protects cleaners in the event of a crash while travelling to their clients. Not only this but it covers other incidents such as breakdowns.

Some equipment used by cleaners can be quite bulky so knowing the vehicle is covered offers a great deal of reassurance.

Personal Injury & Income Protection Cover

Being unable to work as a self employed person can be a huge problem with stressfuly financial implications.

Sole traders are not entitled to benefits such as sick pay so having time off can be a strain for everyone involved.

Insurance that protects you in the event of personal injury can make a huge difference to those not entitled to SSP. Injuries in the cleaning industry are common due to the physicality of the tasks involved. Some accidents may mean you need a few weeks, or longer, to recover. Knowing you have insurance in place for this scenario can make life sustainable.

Why is Insurance a Good Idea?

Although most policies are not a legal requirement, insurance can help keep a business afloat during financial hardships. Self employment comes with many risks, a significant one being able to keep a steady flow of income.

You should consider proper cleaning business insurance as it can help with many of the risks businesses face.

These include:-

  • Covering the costs of legal disputes which are very high and challenging to pay.
  • Protecting the business and yourself from defamation, libel and slander.
  • Maintaining a professional reputation that comes from being insured.
  • Gives you financial peace of mind across a plethora of eventualities.
  • It may mean the difference between being hired by a company or not.

Self employed businesses do not have employers to lean on when the business is under financial strain. This also means there is no SSP, holiday pay, or compassionate leave.

Therefore, taking out insurance which can help during stressful times can help keep things ticking over. Being a sole trader can be a very lucrative move as long as you are legally protected from common hardships.

See Also: Cleaning Risk Assessments – our guide on how to conduct a risk assessment for your business may help you determine your insurance needs.


Why does a business need cleaning liability insurance?

Cleaning liability insurance protects yourself and your business in the event a claim is made against you. It protects you from any legal disputes made by the public which can include covering the cost of court and legal help.

What insurance do you need to start a cleaning business?

To start up a cleaning business you need to take out public liability insurance. This covers you against any legal disputes. If you have any staff then you will also need employer’s liability insurance.

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