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Earth Moving Insurance Australia

Heavy machinery is expensive, and may cause serious damage or significant injury if things go wrong. Protect your equipment and protect your company, because if there is an accident, it is likely to be big.

Excavator, Plant & Truck Insurance

Earth moving and excavation cover is a must for any earthmover or excavator business; not matter how good a risk assessment is or risk mitigation is planned, earthmoving contractors and excavating contractors face a huge risk of injury to people or loss and damage to property, and given the heavy equipment used during such works including backhoes, front end loaders bobcats and bulldozers, the level of damage or injury is likely to be quite high.

Some examples of risks faced by sole traders, sub-contractors, operators and companies include:

  • Physical injuries to operators or third parties - e.g. being hit by machinery or falling objects, falling into excavated areas
  • Equipment damage - e.g. collision with a stationary object
  • Damage to underground services
  • Additional risks associated with high risk construction work that involved a trench or shaft greater than 1.5 metres or a tunnel

Furthermore, environmental conditions where earthmoving and excavation are taking place may increase the risk of damage or injury, including working on challenging ground conditions (e.g. loose rocks or  gravel), inclement weather (e.g. strong winds or heavy rain), poor visibility (e.g. night time work or in dusty or hazy conditions) and multiple contractors on site due to concurrent activity such as civil construction, resulting in an increased chance of disputed relating to liability if something goes wrong.

Earth moving and excavation companies must be aware of all their obligations when it comes to performing earthworks or excavation work; for example, if the business had not met an insurer's risk mitigation requirements, such as making a dial before you dig call, the insurance may not cover the damage caused. It is wise to document all risk mitigation activities performed, including listing dates, times, the names of people consulted, and the advice given.

Businesses must also be aware that not only do insurers require certain obligations to be met, but they have specific Work, Health and Safety obligations associated with excavation work and the conduct of activities including management of risk, otherwise, they may face legal action. Therefore, developing clear processes and policies, and training employees for understanding and compliance, is necessary to meet legal obligations in addition to risk mitigation at the work site.

The type of cover necessary and the clauses within policies can be complex, which is why it is important to seek the guidance of experienced insurance professionals in determining which insurance will best protect each contractor. A range of insurances might be relevant based on the work undertaken, including:

  •  Public Liability Insurance - e.g. property damage and injury, liability for subcontractors
  • General Property Cover - e.g. damage, loss or theft to equipment, tools, plant and machinery
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance - legal cost and damage protection if sued
  • Personal Accident and Illness Cover - income protection
  • Tax Audit Cover - hiring professionals to assist with accounts during audits

It is clear that the range of considerations for earth works and excavation works is broad and can be complex. Businesses, sole traders and subcontractors should consult qualified insurance professionals who can apply their experience in ensuring full and adequate cover for peace of mind.

Building or buying a newly-constructed home is one of the most expensive events most people will undertake. It is also one of the riskiest. The laws vary across Australia regarding builders insurance, owner builder insurance, and when risk passes to a homeowner. As a builder or owner, don’t leave yourself exposed, whether to breaching the law or being faced with a very expensive bill.

Finding The Right Insurance For Your Project

Planning to build a home, whether as the owner, owner builder or builder, is a busy time. However, it is vitally important to factor in time spent to navigate both legally-required insurance and insurance that reduces the risks to individuals, families, or companies if something goes wrong, even when they are not at fault. It is worth noting that starting a home construction project before taking out insurance may result in increased premiums.

Home owners who undertake renovations or extensions often believe that their current home and contents insurance will provide adequate cover during their building or construction activities, however, it is important to confirm that both the home and contents policy and public liability cover do not contain exclusions during renovations or extensions. Some cover is suspended based on the value of the work to be performed. Additionally existing cover or an extension of cover may be conditional on a range of security features and risk mitigation strategies being undertaken.

It is important that homeowners ensure that all builders, contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers are registered (where relevant) and carry their own insurance policies, to limit the risk of a claim against the homeowner. However, homeowners need to understand their responsibilities too, with the allocation of risk (such as who should hold certain insurances) usually contained in the contracts they hold with their builders, contractors, trades, subcontractors and suppliers.

This also extends to builders and owner builders who are engaging trades, sub-contractors or other workers and wish to mitigate their risks. Builders should also ensure that their tools are covered, any materials stored offsite that are under their care and custody.

There are many types of insurances that may be required by, or recommended for, residential builders or owner builders based on the level of new construction, renovation or extensions being undertaken, including:

  • Builders Warranty Insurance - may be required by licensed builders for residential work, and includes cover for events such as loss of deposit, or the builder not completing work (such as due to death or bankruptcy). The States and Territories govern the requirements, with schemes including Residential Building Warranty insurance, Home Building Compensation Fund, Home Warranty insurance, Building Indemnity insurance, Domestic Building insurance and Home Indemnity insurance. The insurance is normally triggered by the value of the residential building work.
  • Owner Builder Construction Insurance - there are a range of insurance covers available which can cover a range of construction activities such as new homes, kit homes, renovations and extensions, and generally provides protection for events such as significant weather events, vandalism and theft and demolition.
  • Owner Builder Warranty - some states may require this insurance for a home that has been recently built or renovated (depending on the amount spent on the work), to protect the new owner where defects are discovered in the work carried out by the owner builder as part of domestic construction, before sale. New owners can make a claim to recover costs where the new owner is unable to make a claim against the owner builder (for example where they have become bankrupt or cannot be located)
  • Public Liability Insurance - covers third party injury and property damage

The question of who is responsible for providing insurance can be complex, and sometimes builders, homeowners and owner builders may not know what they need to ask. It is important to speak with an experienced insurer who is able to explain cover required, the inclusions and exclusions of the policies, and what questions to ask to ensure all other parties involved in the building and construction have adequate insurance.