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What is business insurance?

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Business insurance is an umbrella term that comprises a number of different types of cover you can choose from to provide protection for different business risks.

When you run a business, you may need insurance cover to protect your company, and its directors, customers and employees. 

It pays out if your business incurs unexpected costs, including due to:

  • Theft or damage

  • Personal injury claims from members of the public

  • Employees being injured at work

  • A claim against your business for negligence or a fault

The cover you get depends on the types of insurance you take out. Not all businesses need every category of business insurance cover. 

Without insurance cover you might have to foot the bill for both legal fees and compensation costs, which could severely affect or even bankrupt your business.

Having business insurance gives you the peace of mind that you are covered should the worst happen.

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What business insurance do you need?

Depending on the type of work you do, your business insurance requirements will vary. There are three key things to think about when considering what cover you need for your business. 

If your business hires employees you’ll need employers’ liability insurance as this is a legal requirement. Not being covered may result in a fine of up to £2,500 for each day you don’t have it. 

You also need commercial motor insurance if you have vehicles you use for your business.

2. What risks you face as a business
  • If your business involves in-person interaction with clients or even spending time working in areas where members of the public are present, you’ll want to think about public liability insurance

  • If you work on contracts or offer advice, you may need professional indemnity insurance

  • If you have lots of expensive or difficult to replace items for your work, business contents insurance is something to consider

  • And if you handle customer data, run a website, and/or use computer systems (as most businesses do), you’ll want to think about cyber insurance

3. Professional requirements

Some professional bodies require you to have professional indemnity insurance, which covers you for any client losses if you provide negligent advice or services, to be able to operate. This includes if you’re a solicitor or accountant.

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Types of business insurance

Not all businesses require the same range of cover. Some insurance is a legal requirement, such as if you have people working for you. Your business insurance requirements also depend on the type of work you do and the size and turnover of your business.

They could include: 

Employers’ liability insurance

If your business hires employees you’ll need employers’ liability insurance as this is a legal requirement. 

Not being covered may result in a fine of up to £2,500 for each day you don’t have it.

Read more about employers' liability insurance

Public liability insurance

This is worth considering if people come to your premises or if your business involves in-person interaction with clients.

It covers you if a member of the public is injured or even killed as a result of your business activities or their property is damaged. 

Read more about public liability insurance

Professional indemnity insurance

If you provide professional advice, knowledge or skills as part of your work you should consider this type of insurance. If you’re sued for giving negligent advice or services, it could be costly and damage your reputation. 

Some professions, such as solicitors and accountants, are required to have it.

Read more about professional indemnity insurance

Business contents insurance

In the event that your business contents are damaged or lost due to fire, flooding, malicious damage, storm damage or theft, this covers you for the cost of repairs or replacement. 

Make sure you include all your equipment – such as computers, laptops, phones, technical machinery, documents and even cash – when working out how much contents cover you need.

Cyber insurance

This covers you for losses to your business or others if information on your computer systems or networks is lost or damaged. It also usually provides specialist technical, financial and communications support in the event of a cyber incident.

From ransomware attacks to accidental privacy breaches, the cost to your business can be devastating if you’re not insured.

D&O insurance

Directors’ and officers’ insurance, also known as management liability insurance, covers claims made personally against company directors and officers for wrongful acts, such as a breach of trust or misleading statements.

Without it, any directors and officers in your business may not be able to defend themselves against claims that could result in disqualification from their position, compensation and legal costs or criminal prosecution.

Key things to remember about business insurance

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  • If you have directors and officers, claims made against them are not covered by general business cover, so consider D&O insurance

  • If your business hires employees you’ll need employers’ liability insurance as this is a legal requirement

  • If your business involves interaction with the public, think about public liability insurance

  • If you work on contracts or offer advice, you should consider professional indemnity insurance

  • If you are based in a premises or have stock, you’ll need business contents insurance

  • If you handle customer data, run a website, and/or work from computer systems, think about cyber insurance

Getting the insurance that's right for your business

You can buy cover immediately, or save your business insurance policy quote for 30 days using our search tool.

How do I get a business insurance quote?

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Firstly, you need to be clear about the type of business you're running. There are different formats for businesses – these can be sole trader, partnership or limited company.

When applying for a business insurance quote you'll need to provide:

  • Your registered company or partnership name

  • The industry and type of work you do

  • Your company’s estimated turnover for the next 12 months

  • The number of people who work for you

You may need some or all of the different categories of insurance. You can customise your cover, adding on policy elements that reflect your current business, and there’s the flexibility to add more cover in the future.

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Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance, provides cover for legal and compensation costs in relation to a claim made against a business due to injury or property damage inflicted on a non-employee

Employers' liability insurance

Employers’ liability (EL) cover is a legal requirement for any UK business that hires employees, including full-time, part-time, contractors or temporary staff.

Professional indemnity insurance

Professional indemnity insurance, or PI insurance, is designed to protect your businesses if a client loses money because of a mistake you made in your professional services.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is a form of cover to protect you while you are away on holiday or travelling abroad. it can also provide monetary compensation for other loss or inconveniences you may suffer when your travels don't go to plan.

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