A guide to drain cleaners’ insurance

A drain cleaner using a plunger to remove a blockage from a sink.

Draining cleaning can be a technically and physically demanding job. From dealing with harmful chemicals, to handling high pressure water jets, to operating electrical equipment near water, you might face many dangers.

Then there’s the risk that you’ll cause injury or property damage to customers or members of the public. For these reasons and more, you’ll want to have suitable drain cleaning insurance in place.

In this guide, we outline the various types of cover available to people in your trade and look at what financial protection you might need.

What is drain cleaners’ insurance?

As its name suggests, drain cleaners’ insurance is a type of financial protection designed to cover the specific risks that drain cleaners face. In your role, you might encounter various hazards that many people, such as office workers, simply aren’t exposed to. From using dangerous chemicals and high-velocity water jetting equipment, to handling rotating cables under torque, your job could involve a range of challenging and potentially dangerous tasks. So, rather than opting for standard business insurance, it’s important to find specialist drain cleaners’ cover that can better protect your finances.

Types of drain cleaners’ insurance

These policies are typically made up of various different types of protection, meaning you can tailor your cover to suit your needs.

Here are some of the most important forms of insurance to be aware of as a drain cleaner:  

Employers’ liability insurance

If you employ anyone in your drain cleaning business, you’ll need employers’ liability insurance. This is the only type of financial protection that’s required by law. As soon as you become an employer, you must have cover for at least £5 million from an authorised insurer. It’s worth noting that for every day that you’re not insured, you can be fined up to £2,500.

This type of financial protection is designed to cover the legal fees and compensation costs you may face if an employee is injured while working for you or becomes ill because of their job. For example, if one of your workers suffers chemical burns after coming into contact with a drain cleaning product, employers’ liability insurance will cover the costs if they decide to sue you.

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but it can play an important role in protecting your finances. This type of insurance covers you if you cause injury or property damage to a customer or another member of the public. For example, if you damage a customer’s walls while moving your equipment through their house, public liability insurance will cover any compensation payments.

This type of protection is popular among tradespeople of all kinds because the nature of this work brings you into contact with members of the public on a regular basis. And no matter how careful you are, when you’re dealing with people’s property and working in close proximity to others, many things can go wrong.

Tools/Equipment insurance

You might rely on a range of tools to do your job, from simple items such as plungers and flexible drain rods to more complex and expensive equipment including high pressure drain jetters and CCTV equipment designed to carry out drain surveys. Tools insurance is there to make sure that if your equipment is lost, damaged or stolen, you can recoup the cost.

Highlighting the importance of having suitable tool insurance in place, analysis carried out by LBC News has revealed that there were more than 40,000 cases of tool theft across England and Wales in 2022, meaning around 110 tools were stolen every day on average.

Other types of cover

There are various other types of cover that you might want to consider taking out too. For example, occupational personal accident insurance is designed to protect your income if you can’t do your job because of a work-related injury. As a drain cleaner, you could suffer injuries caused by slips and trips, electrocutions, contact with harmful chemicals and much more. It’s important to think about what would happen to your finances if such an injury prevented you from working.

Another type of protection that you might be interested in is professional indemnity cover. This protects you if a client sues you over a mistake you make when offering professional advice.

Is drain cleaners’ insurance needed?

As we’ve highlighted above, the only type of insurance that is legally required is employers’ liability cover - and of course this only applies if you have people working for you. All other types of protection are optional. However, given the risks associated with drain cleaning, it is important to make sure you have appropriate cover in place. If you lack insurance, you could put your finances at risk and potentially jeopardise the future of your business.

Additionally, some customers, particularly commercial clients, may require you to have public liability insurance in place before they will agree to use your services.

How much is drain cleaners’ insurance?

The cost of drain cleaners’ insurance will depend on factors such as the size of your business, the types of cover you want to include and the overall level of cover you’re looking for. At Markel Direct, we offer specialist insurance for drain cleaners starting from £11 a month. This quote is based on a drain cleaner requiring £1 million of public liability insurance.

Business insurance from £5 a month