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Updated 21 Jun 2018

3 Essential insurance cover types you need to protect your work site

Skipping a few monthly insurance premiums might seem like a good idea to save money in the short term. But, it could cost you a lot more if things don’t go as planned on site. 

Diana Albertyn, 05 April 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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Construction is financially intensive in terms of human capital and machinery requirements. But accidents happen, and you need to prepare in the event an error in judgement puts your employees, customers or business at stake. Insurance is something you can’t go without. 

“A comprehensive construction insurance policy covers all the expenses that may occur due to property damage or personal injuries at the construction site,” says industry expert Nate Rodnay. “This insurance not only includes the organisation owner, but also workers, employees, tenants, sub-contractors, sole proprietors and business partners.” 

There are many insurance options available to you, but choosing solutions that are specific to your business needs is important. You don’t want to face any nasty surprises when submitting a claim and discover too late that you aren’t actually covered.  

Related: Why cheap insurance is not always the best insurance


“The rise in building collapse incidents across South Africa has brought to the fore the very real health and safety issues facing those operating in the construction industry, particularly from the perspective of where the liability for such incidents resides,” says industry specialist Simon Colman. In this labour and machine-intense industry, insurance is not an option, it’s a necessity, as any accident can put an unwanted hole in your pocket.

Although not limited to the variables below, here are some of the most overlooked and under-insured covers you should consider taking out and why:

1. Personal accident cover to protect your employees

In March 2017, the expansion of Fourways Mall in Johannesburg was overwhelmed by accidents. The latest – a construction worker fell from scaffolding that was nearly seven metres high, leaving him seriously injured. 

“In case of such unexpected events, the employer or the owner can benefit from the construction liability insurance, as the insurance company pays the medical costs or the compensation associated with the claims,” says Rodnay. There’s no escaping responsibility because legally, as an employer, you are responsible for the health and safety of your employees. Not doing so gives them the right to take legal action and seek compensation. 

But it’s not only your workers that could get ‘hurt’. Damaged yellow-metal or equipment that can no longer carry out the task means there’s another type of cover to consider taking out for your business.

2. Engineering insurance to ensure production doesn’t stop

Engineering -insurance

As a ‘high-accident zone’, a construction site’s equipment is prone to damage. Standard Bank is able to provide competitive insurance for various construction assets. The bank is able to structure insurance policies to your specific needs. 

According to experts, evaluating your professional exposure, along with the insurability of such exposure and any potential contractual problems of risk transfer is key. Being uninsured or under-insured in this regard could result in a project delay.

Engineering insurance, for example, covers all types of building and civil engineering construction, including damage to machinery and plant and the deterioration of stock. But, what if someone outside of your project is affected by a negative occurrence on-site? You’ll need insurance for this too.

Related: Why your business needs theft & fidelity protection

3. Public liability cover for the unexpected

Accidents happen. And sometimes they happen to innocent bystanders in the vicinity of a building site. If people aren’t hurt, their property is sometimes damaged during a construction mistake. What happens when you are found legally responsible for third-party damage or bodily-harm caused in the course of business?

If you’re covered, public liability insurance will provide for death, illness or injury to other people, as well as accidental damage to their property. In addition, it also provides coverage for legal costs rising from criminal action brought against you or your employees. 

You can avoid tough disputes over who’s responsible for what when someone gets hurt or production is interrupted by equipment damage. Cover your bases with tailored construction insurance solutions that will protect your workers, their tools and your reputation.


Your employees, machinery and even the public are your responsibility when it comes to injury, damage or loss. Insurance gives you peace of mind to proceed with your project on schedule and with as little disruption as possible – should an accident occur under your watch.

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Diana Albertyn

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