Do you Need Public Liability Insurance as a Subcontractor?

July 4, 2023
Public Liability Insurance

Types of Subcontractors:

Generally speaking, there are two types of subcontractors, labour-only subcontractors and bona-fide subcontractors. But what’s the difference and how does it affect you and your mates insurance? 

Labour-only Subbies

Labour-only subbies are generally considered employees who are hired as additional labour and work under the direction of their employer. They don’t necessarily provide their own tools and are solely there to do the job. Labour-only subcontractors are usually paid by the hour or have a daily or weekly rate. 

Bona-fide Subbies

If you’re a bona-fide subcontractor on the other hand you will work more independently, working under your own direction and supervision, providing your own tools and quoting for a job prior to beginning work. 

Do You Need Public Liability Insurance as a Subcontractor?

If your actions at work result in damage to a third party’s property damage or personal injury, you may be liable to pay compensation. Public liability insurance can be used to reduce your financial risk in the event of an accident. You may find that certain worksites will actually require that you have public liability insurance. 

As a labour-only subcontractor, the contracting company is generally responsible for your workers compensation, however, unfortunately hiring companies may still require you to have your own public liability insurance. It is important that you thoroughly read any contracts offered as it will state any insurance obligations you may have. 

On the other hand, working as a bona-fide subcontractor means you are responsible for your own insurance needs. Public liability insurance covers you for property damage and personal injury to others. Be careful however, as it does not extend to damage or injury to yourself.

How Much Cover Do You Need?

Let’s be honest, you don’t want to spend more money than you have to, but it’s important to get the cover you require for the job at hand.

Currently the minimum amount of public liability cover available is $5 million, however depending on the work, you may need upward of $20 million. The majority of subcontractors go with the minimum cover of $5 million, which is usually sufficient for those working on residential or light commercial projects. Larger commercial projects will sometimes require larger public liability cover. 

As always, your insurance is up to you. For great insurance and peace of mind, give us a call.

Let’s talk! There are 3 easy ways to get a quote for public liability insurance: 

  1. Call 1300 540 156 to speak to our dedicated tradie broker team
  2. Fill out our online Contact Our Experts form 

Go online and fill out the Quote form



You should consider if the insurance is suitable for you and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Financial Services Guide (FSG) and policy wording before making a decision to acquire insurance. Please ask us for more details before we provide you with our services. Our FSG is available on our website.

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