What cover do you need?
You are a Design Engineer. You are a professional and well rewarded for your work. Working for yourself though carries certain obligations and responsibilities - legal ones. Some important factors to consider:
- Mistakes can be costly. You carry a responsibility to your clients and they have a recourse at law against you for financial loss. The chance of a claim is small, but the chance of claim being large is high!
- An agency contract will not protect the computer contractor in most circumstances.
- Clients are increasingly asking to see proof of professional indemnity insurance before awarding you their contract.
- Having Professional Indemnity Insurance supports your Independent status. It may help you argue against an IR35 ruling. Premiums are fully allowable against tax.
A complex and once expensive area of contractor finance, many contractors are now looking at the various insurance policies which are available to protect you in the event of an accident at work, or claims against you for errors, ommissions or negligence.
Design Engineers provide professional advice which is relied upon by others (clients). This means if you make a mistake in your work you have a direct financial responsibility to your client for the errors. Whilst you may consider the possibility remote, it does happen. Increasingly, with the increase in IR35 friendly contracts, many agent's clients are insisting on evidence of professional indemnity insurance. Having this protection will prove to your clients that you are professional in your approach and will help in obtaining future work. Although mistakes are rare, these policies are now reasonably priced and will also provide peace of mind.
Provides financial protection for your company and is designed to meet the cost of defending claims made against you, including damages that may become payable. Claims can occur where a client suffers a financial loss as a result of alleged mistakes or omissions on your part. You may even be sued by a client who is merely dissatisfied, but has no valid claim, leading to substantial legal costs and time away from contracts. Of course, such claims are rare.
This type of policy will protect you against your legal liability where you accidentally cause damage or loss to someone else's property (Examples: Coffee down the back of the computer or over the keyboard, knocking a laptop or other piece of IT equipmnet off a desk etc). Also, if you accidentally cause injury to someone whilst working at a clients premises (Examples: You have cables running from various machines to a PC you are working on and someone does not notice and trips over and injures themselves).
This insurance is arranged to protect employers against claims for injury or illness brought by employees.
You should be looking to cover the replacement costs (and subsequent disruption compensation) of the loss of your business assets such as computers, faxes, printers, books, desks, telephones, etc. Many liability policies allow for this to be added cheaply and can be all arranged as 'all risks' (loss, accidental damage and theft). Our insurer adds only £37 per annum to the Liability Cover for £5000 equipment cover.
It is also useful in demonstrating to the authorities e.g. IR, that you are professionally protecting your business viability going forward.
Design Engineers are exposed to new regulations and legislation e.g. your 'status' ref IR35 and also a changing landscape in demand for contractors, that means many fringe Design Engineer Agencies may in future go 'bump', owing contractors many thousands of pounds! Up to now the fear of taking legal action to defend or pursue your rights and the heavy costs involved are a deterrent. Failure to do so can be equally, if not more costly and disastrous.
Our new Legal Expenses Policy is the answer. The Design Engineers Legal Expenses policy gives you the power, through its level of cover up to £50,000 of legal costs per claim, access to a 24-hour helpline and to professional advice through a nationwide panel of specialist solicitors.
Provides legal costs and expenses for defence and appeals in respect of civil and criminal proceedings for both you and your employees.
Provides legal costs and expenses for representation and defence proceedings brought under the Data Protection Act.
TAX, PAYE & VAT Protection
Provides legal costs, expenses and accountants fees to represent you in an in-depth investigation by the Inland Revenue or Her Majesty's Custom and Excise.
Provides legal costs and expenses in defending civil or criminal proceedings and appeals for companies with more than 1 employee.
Property, Licence Protection, Bodily Injury & Attendance Expenses
Also covered under the Policy. At only £75.00 per year can you afford not to have it? Please see the PI online application form, where Legal Expenses cover can be arranged on-line in minutes.
How much do these policies cost?
Policies of this type are far less expensive than you may think, although the final cost will depend on your indevidual circumstances. The cost of individual policies tend to depend on the folowing factors:
- The level of PI cover your company requires
- The annual turnover of a contractor's company
- The number of employees in the company