Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

07th June 2017

What kind of insurance do I need?

Hello Sheila. What type of insurance do i need for a domiciliary agency? Kindly let me know what and what it needs to cover. Thank you.

Dear Rosemary,


Thank you for your question.


Insurance is, of course, a specialist area and I, therefore,  asked Adam Burr,  Divisional Director, Care & Medical at the Howden Group for his advice. (


This is his answer:


"There are many areas of cover that are essential to a domiciliary care agency, to ensure that you are fully protected and compliant with local authority requirements. These mostly centre around liability, but it is also wise to consider business contents in and away from the office, including buildings if it is your duty to arrange the insurance.


Public Liability insurance is essential, and you will find that most local authorities will require that you carry a £10m limit of indemnity. Even if this has not been stipulated, it is recommended that your cover is no lower than £10m, as liability claims can often become protracted and costs can escalate. Within this cover, you will also find Malpractice and Abuse cover, and it’s important that your policy includes Abuse on a “defined words” basis – this means that the insurance policy actually outlines what they are covering. In the current climate, with increases in Abuse claims, many insurers are responding by including Abuse on a “silent” basis. This means that there is no definition of Abuse within the policy wording, and you, therefore, cannot be sure whether a certain claim will be covered until such a claim arises. With the cost of defending these claims, and the pay-out awarded if your company is found to be at fault, there can be no room for uncertainty.


Employers Liability is also vital and most insurers will give you a £10m limit. It is not recommended that the limit of indemnity is any lower than this.


Most insurance policies will carry some kind of Legal Expenses cover, which will often also include legal support and advice. This is most commonly required for employment disputes, but there are many circumstances where your legal cover can be useful, even if only to provide expert advice now and then.


It is worth considering Directors & Officers (D&O) cover, although this is not mandatory and few authorities will insist on this. D&O insurance protects the personal assets of any directors or senior persons within your company. Each director is personally liable for any acts of negligence and without D&O cover they are left exposed. You can be pursued by any number of parties, including shareholders, the Inland Revenue, and your own customers.


Liability, Legal Expenses and material damage cover for your buildings and contents will usually be sold as a commercial combined “package policy”, sometimes including D&O but many brokers will be able to offer stand-alone D&O cover which may provide higher limits of indemnity. This will include a number of other covers within these areas, including but not limited to Loss of Registration, Business Interruption and Professional Indemnity. You may also wish to take out optional ancillary insurance for motor, engineering, or terrorism cover, among others, where relevant.


The most important thing to bear in mind is to take out an insurance policy that is specific to care providers. The care sector is a very niche area when it comes to insurance so we would highly recommend approaching a Care specific broker when arranging insurance."


I am extremely grateful to Adam for this very helpful and clear response.


Best wishes.



*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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