Forklift operator in warehouse

Forklift Insurance

Forklift drivers really need good insurance cover. Discover your insurance options and get the cover you need.

If you drive a forklift for a living, you’ll need good insurance cover. As a forklift driver you need to consider life and business insurance policies, depending on your workplace and the type of work you do. Insurance can cover you for:

  • Accidents, injuries or death in the workplace
  • Loss of income due to injury or accident
  • Legal liability resulting from your work

This page will guide you through insurance options for forklift drivers.

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What are the categories of forklift drivers?

There isn’t a lot of variety in how forklift drivers are categorised, but forklifts are used in many different work settings including:

  • Warehouses and factories
  • Department stores
  • Docks

More specialised forklift jobs exist in:

  • Sawmills
  • Shipyards
  • Airports

Most forklift jobs in Australia require a forklift license and forklifts which operate on roads, including warehouse car parks, are subject to motor vehicle laws as well.


What risks are forklift drivers exposed to?

Forklifts can be extremely dangerous machines. Between 2012 and 2014, there were 1,360 accidents involving forklifts in NSW alone, resulting in five deaths. This prompted the government to issue a forklift safety warning.

Forklift-related occupation categories feature heavily in workplace fatality statistics in Australia. Machinery operators rank first for fatalities. Nationally, 2% of all workplace deaths in 2015 involved forklift trucks.

Source: Safework Australia

What type of insurance should forklift drivers consider?

There are several types of insurance, including life and business policies:

                  • Public liability insurance. Protects you against claims made by a third party for damage caused by your forklift as a piece of equipment or road vehicle. Ensure the forklift is operating in compliance with workplace regulations and the rules of the vehicle itself.
                • Income protection insurance. Pays you the equivalent of your income for a fixed period, typically 2 or 5 years, if you’re injured in the course of your job and unable to work.
                • Trauma insurance. Pays a lump sum benefit when you’re diagnosed with a specific illness covered under the policy.
                • Life insurance. You should consider taking out a life insurance policy if you have a family, as your partner or children could be covered too. There’s also the option to include trauma or TPD cover.

How do insurers classify forklift operators?

Forklift operators are usually classified as heavy blue collar/manual workers. This means that insurers typically charge premium loading (extra premium costs) as they consider forklift drivers to be a relatively higher risk category.

What is the average cost of insurance for forklift drivers?

No two forklift drivers are the same. Your actual insurance costs will vary depending on such factors as:

                • Your age
                • Your income
                • Your health
                • Your family circumstances

Here are some examples of income protection insurance quotes for forklift drivers.

*These are example quotes only, based on a 35-year-old male forklift driver in NSW who is a non-smoker. Quotes are accurate as of June 2017. Your actual quotes may vary.

What are the registration and insurance requirements for forklifts?

Forklifts must meet vehicle and workplace regulations and the failure to do so could result in any insurance claims being rejected.

Each Australian state and territory has its own regulations and licensing requirements for forklifts and forklift operators. Common requirements include:

  • Flashing lights or beacon fitted to the vehicle
  • Compulsory third party insurance
  • A forklift license for the forklift operator
  • Registration for forklifts driven on public roads (including car parks)

How can I make sure I'm getting the right insurance?

When comparing insurance policies always consider your needs as a forklift driver and your personal circumstances. Take into account:

  • Your financial situation. Calculate how much you can afford to pay for an insurance policy and how long your family could last without your income?
  • Your professional needs. An income protection insurance policy is an important consideration if you’re self employed, as is public liability insurance.
  • Your personal circumstances. If you have dependent family members, try to plan realistically for the worst while taking into account what you can afford to pay (and the extent you can afford to leave yourself exposed if the worst does happen).

What insurance options and features should I investigate?

When shopping for an insurance policy there are several common features to consider:

  • Agreed value or indemnity value cover. Usually found in income protection insurance policies, indemnity value cover provides payment matched to your most recent salary level. Agreed value cover is better for workers without a stable income as you can agree to a specific payment level upon signing the contract.
  • Benefit period. This is the length of time you’ll receive payments if your claim is approved. Most income protection policies have a 2 or 5 year benefit period.
  • Waiting period. The time between an accident or injury and the beginning of benefit payments. Shorter waiting times equal higher premiums; longer waiting times, cheaper premiums.
  • Stepped or level premiums. Stepped premiums are lower in the short-term but rise over time and level premiums don’t change unless they’re adjusted for inflation. Read more about stepped and level premiums.
  • Guaranteed future insurability. Life insurance policies with this option guarantee your ability to renew a policy or increase your cover even when you’re diagnosed with a serious condition. Read more about getting a policy with guaranteed future insurability.

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Picture: Shutterstock

Richard Whitten

Richard is a writer at finder.com.au. He loves to read deep into the fine print and find a way to simplify the complex and clarify the confusing.

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