Does Home Insurance Cover My Gardener If They Hurt Themselves On My Property?
Caeva O'Callaghan | November 11th, 2022
Even if you can’t afford a regular gardener, you might have someone over to mow the lawn every so often. But if they hurt themselves, will your home insurance help out?
Yes. All standard home insurance policies include employers’ liability cover, which is what will protect domestic workers at your property if they have an accident.
If your gardener hurts themselves while working for you, they might already have insurance to protect themselves. But if they do not, don’t worry, as your home insurance will take care of it.
In this article, we’ll cover the following questions:
- What is a domestic employee?
- Am I liable if a gardener injures themselves?
- Are visitors protected by my home insurance?
Your insurance company will cover all amounts you are legally responsible to pay as damages for injury to any person under a contract of service for private domestic duties such as gardening, childminding, or cleaning.
What is a domestic employee?
In legal parlance, a domestic employee is someone who works in your home. Don’t think you’re fancy enough to have domestic employees? Think again! Most people have employed a domestic worker at some point in their lives, or have strongly considered it.
Most people fail to consider these types of workers when buying home insurance. The fact is, if you own or rent a home, and at any point some work needed doing that you’ve outsourced to someone else, you’ve hired a domestic employee.
Private domestic employees include, but are not limited to:
Anyone carrying out repair or maintenance work on your property is considered a domestic employee, even if they aren’t part of a professional business.
Am I liable if a gardener injures themselves?
If it was proven that your negligence or maliciousness caused your gardeners’ injury, then yes you would be liable.
In a standard home insurance policy, you’ll find liability cover within both buildings and contents cover. Which applies to you will depend if your domestic employee (e.g. gardener) injured themselves within your house, or on your outside property.
For example, buildings cover will apply if a tile falls off a roof and hits your gardener or their property. This is most likely the policy you’d need to claim on, as your gardener works outside. If, however, they injure themselves in your home, that would likely be covered by your contents policy if the accident was caused by one of your belongings, e.g. if they tripped over a rug. Of course, you would not be liable if the gardener was not supposed to be in your home, and was in fact trespassing.
A standard home insurance policy should cover you for two kinds of liability:
- Owner’s Liability – provides cover if a visitor or their belongings come to harm and you are liable. E.g. this would cover you if a tile were to fall off your roof.
- Third-Party Liability – provides personal cover should you cause injury to another person through your negligence outside the home. E.g. if you hit someone with a golf ball.
Luckily, relatively few cases of suing are successful. This is because the claimant has to prove negligence or maliciousness, not just the fact that an accident has happened. It’s difficult to prove that if you had been more responsible, their accident would never have happened.
Are visitors protected by my home insurance?
Not only that, but your gardener has to prove that, for their claim to be successful, the injury they suffered was as a result of their employment by you.
This means if they were on your property outside of their job – for example, if they entered your house without permission – cover would not apply. If you invited them to a party, or if they popped over for a cup of tea in the evening after a hard day’s work, they would have just as much cover as any other visitor.
That is to say that, as far as insurance is concerned, you do have a duty of care to your visitors and guests. When you invite people into your home, they accept on the assumption the property is reasonably safe. If not, and you intentionally omit or lie about the risks associated with entering your property, you will be liable. Any injuries your visitors sustain on your property are your fault, and if they make a claim it’s likely to be successful.
For example, if you hold a barbecue, you have an obligation to ensure the food is cooked properly. And if your gardener is working outside, you need to inform both parties that others are present to make accidents less likely.
Has your gardener injured themselves on your property and is threatening to sue? Call our insurance experts, as you may be covered.