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Protect Your Business With a Comprehensive Demolition Insurance Policy

Demolition projects are complex and can pose significant risks to contractors, employees, clients and the general public. As a demolition contractor, you are responsible for any damage caused during the demolition process, making it essential to have a demolition insurance policy. However, many contractors are unsure about what this type of insurance covers, what it costs, and whether it’s required by law. In this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about demolition insurance.

What is a demolition insurance policy and is it required by law in Australia?

Demolition liability insurance is protection that demolition contractors buy to cover the costs of damage or injury resulting from demolition work. This insurance provides coverage for bodily injury, property damage, and other legal expenses. Although it isn’t a legal requirement in Australia, most clients will insist that demolition contractors have public liability insurance before awarding contracts.

What types of damages are covered?

A comprehensive Demolition insurance policy covers different types of damages, including:

Property Damage: During demolition, there is a high risk of causing damage to surrounding properties, including buildings, infrastructure, and underground utilities. Property damage can occur due to falling debris, fire, or accidental collisions. Demolition liability insurance can provide coverage for damages that occur due to such events.

Bodily Injury: Accidents can happen without warning and can result in severe bodily injuries. These include injuries from falling, exposure to hazardous material, electrocution, and more. Public liability insurance policy can provide coverage for such injuries, including medical expenses, loss of income, and even death benefits.

Professional Liability: As a demolition contractor, you have a professional duty to ensure that your work meets industry standards and safety guidelines. Failure to comply with such standards can lead to professional liability claims, resulting in fines and legal expenses. 

Legal Defense: An insurance policy can also help with legal defense if you or your business is sued due to negligence or wrongdoing. The insurance can cover legal expenses, including attorneys’ fees, court fees, settlement amounts, and other expenses related to a lawsuit.

How much does it cost?

The cost of demolition liability insurance varies depending on several factors such as the size and scope of the business, the type of demolition work, the policy limits, and the claim history. There are also other factors such as the claims experience of the business, the number of employees, and the location that can affect the cost. 

What factors affect the cost?

Several factors can affect the cost of demolition insurance in Australia. These include

Voluntary Workers Insurance. Get protection in minutes. Protection for when the unexpected happens

Management Liability insurance is designed to provide protection to both the business and its directors or officers for claims of wrongful acts in the management of the business.

Public Liability insurance is there to provide protection if someone makes a claim against the insured, the business or its employees.

Several factors can affect the cost of demolition insurance in Australia. These include

Type of Demolition:
One of the primary factors that can influence the cost of demolition contractors insurance in Australia is the type of demolition you are undertaking. Whether it’s commercial, residential or industrial demolition, each carries different risks, and the insurance premium will reflect it. For example, industrial demolition projects typically carry more significant risks and are subject to higher insurance premiums than residential demolition projects.

Location:
Another factor that can affect the cost of demolition insurance is the location of the demolition site. Sites in high-risk locations, such as busy urban areas or near infrastructure such as rail lines or waterways, can attract higher premiums to reflect the higher risk associated with the location. Other factors such as the accessibility of the site and proximity to neighboring properties can also impact the insurance cost.

Demolition Method:
The method used for demolition is another critical consideration. Some methods are safer and less likely to cause damage, while others may pose a more significant risk of accidents or damage. Insurance providers consider the method used for demolition when determining the premium. For instance, demolishing a building with explosives can be more dangerous, and insurance costs would be higher than the cost for a manual demolition method, which is less risky.

Experience:
Insurance providers also consider the level of experience of the demolition contractor when setting insurance premiums. Experienced contractors are more likely to comply with safety regulations and have low rates of accidents, which lowers the risk of having to file a claim. In contrast, inexperienced contractors might pose more risks; thus, insurance premiums may be higher to offset the risk.

Duration:

The length of the demolition project and the time it takes to complete it can also impact the cost of demolition insurance. Some insurance providers may require higher premiums for longer projects, as the risk of accidents or damage is higher with prolonged demolition work.

Can a demolition contractor operate legally without liability insurance in Australia?

Technically, yes, but it is strongly recommended for all demolition contractors to have liability insurance. Without demolition insurance, contractors are liable for any damage, injury, or loss that may occur during demolition work, which can lead to expensive legal costs and reputational damage. Moreover, many clients will only work with contractors that have insurance, so being uninsured will inevitably limit job opportunities.

What should I look for when choosing a demolition insurance provider?


When selecting a demolition insurance provider in Australia, you should look for the following: 

Strong Reputation
When choosing a demolition insurance provider, you want to make sure that the company has a reputation for meeting its obligations to policyholders. You should look for a company that has a good track record of settling insurance claims promptly and fairly. To learn about the company’s reputation, you can check with industry associations, regulatory bodies, online reviews, and ratings.

High-Level Expertise
Selecting an insurance provider that specialises in demolition insurance is essential. You want to choose a company that understands intimately the risks involved in a demolition project and can provide customised coverage to meet your specific needs. Look for an insurance provider that has extensive experience providing demolition insurance coverage and that is staffed with professionals who have technical expertise and industry knowledge.

Comprehensive Coverage
Demolition work carries severe risks, and it is crucial to have comprehensive insurance coverage to protect your business. Adequate coverage should include general liability, property, among others, to minimise the financial impact of accidents, injuries, and property damage. Be sure to choose an insurance provider that offers a broad range of coverage options.

Competitive Pricing
The cost of insurance coverage is a significant consideration for any business operating in the demolition industry. As such, it is essential to shop around to find a demolition insurance provider that offers competitive pricing while providing comprehensive coverage. Be sure to request quotes from several insurance providers and compare the coverage options and pricing before making a final decision.

Excellent Customer Service
Demolition work can be challenging, and you need a demolition insurance provider that is responsive and assists you when you need them most. Choose a provider that offers responsive customer service and support and making it easy to file and manage claims. Moreover, pick a provider that has an extensive support network to ensure that they can manage claims and offer assistance regardless of your location.

Are there any exclusions or limitations to coverage?

Yes, there may be some exclusions and limitations to coverage under demolition liability insurance in Australia. Typical exclusions include damage caused by intentional acts, employee injuries and illnesses, or pollution liability. It’s essential to read the policy wording carefully and ask questions to ensure that you know precisely what the policy covers and any exclusions in your coverage.

Can I purchase insurance on a project-by-project basis?

Yes, some insurance providers offer project-specific insurance coverage in Australia. This coverage allows demolition contractors to purchase insurance coverage for only specific projects, ensuring that they save costs on premiums for projects they don’t have. However, it’s essential to remember that project-specific insurance may not be available for all types of demolition work.

Conclusion

Demolition liability insurance is a cost-effective way to protect your business and reduce the expenses of legal disputes, property damage, or personal injury claims. Although it isn’t a legal requirement in Australia, most clients will require demolition contractors to have public liability insurance before taking on any contracts. When choosing a demolition insurance provider, ensure that you read the policy wording carefully and understand any limitations and exclusions in your coverage. 

General Advice Warning: This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is appropriate for you and your personal circumstances. Before you make any decision about whether to acquire a certain product, you should obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement.

All information above has been provided by the author.


Priority Insurance Brokers, ABN 95 655 563 616, AFSL 233750

This article originally appeared on Priority Insurance Brokers Blog and has been published here with permission.

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