If you work for yourself as a freelancer or independent contractor you need insurance. Your agent will ask the right questions to help you find the level of coverage that you'll need, but consider if you want mobile welder insurance, general welding insurance, and/or basic business liability. Insurance for welders, sometimes referred to as hot work liability insurance, may range from highly affordable to exorbitantly priced. Considerations include hot work risk, but also business revenue. If you're just starting out, you'll want to ask your agent how to reduce your rate. A higher premium or paying month by month may be easier to adjust to at first. Once your customer base widens and profits increase, you may be able to adjust your coverage.
The primary reason to obtain welder's insurance is to limit financial liability for any damage to persons or property. Welding insurance can also protect against financial responsibility for defective welds that cause damage. As long as insurance premiums are maintained, the welder can file a claim for problems that occur.
Standard liability for welders will include insurance coverage for you as a welder. Your policy won't necessarily cover any part-time employees or subcontractors that you use. Discuss with your agent if you need additional coverage. The level of public liability coverage required may vary depending on where you live. You'll also want to consider where you're working. If you're doing work for small businesses and residential customers the liability that you'll need to carry will be less than if you're working in large estates, hospitals, schools, or large commercial and industrial buildings.
Your clients may ask to see your insurance. If company policy is to only higher vendors with $10 million in coverage, and you only have $5, you may be losing business. Don't be hesitant to call and ask your prospects what coverage they require. You can always increase your coverage once it is in place. Be sure to pass along the cost of additional coverage to your customers. If you haven't already considered your costs and begun to manage them, take some time to understand where you breakeven and what hourly/daily rates must be charged.
To get the right coverage, consider what unexpected expenses might be encountered. What if your mobile welding unit breaks down? You may want to add motor vehicle repair risks to your policy. Who or what might be injured where you're welding? Your customer's property will need to be covered for fire risk. Will you do automotive welding? Car welding insurance is an additional risk. Because a welder can't do much without the proper equipment, it is wise to ensure your tools at the cost they would be replaced for.
Welder's insurance will protect you and your business as well as others from unexpected damages. Many locales require insurance to gain certification/license. The proper insurance may lead to work that you could not otherwise attain. When you are fully insured make sure to let everyone know. Educate customers and prospective customers to ask to see a welder's liability insurance policy from anyone they consider working with. Having the proper insurance will set you apart from fly-by-night welders trying to make a quick buck on the side.
To reduce your premium, take safety precautions. A clean track record, good housekeeping, and having fire extinguishers on site will go a long way.
How to Obtain Insurance
Yes, of course you can ask the same firm that covers your home and auto insurance. You can speak to a local agent or do an online search. Some choose to go with firms that specialize in business insurance. Members of the American Welding Society are offered discounts on health insurance. Access to a group rate is especially appealing for freelance welders. Annual dues to AWS are $80, but insurance discounts, welding equipment discounts, resources and information that are made available make membership pay for itself. Members receive Welding Journal and discounted conferences and educational program fees.