If your business involves interaction with members of the public, there's a good chance you'll need public liability insurance.
Public liability insurance would cover you if someone made a claim against your business for:
Loss of or damage to property
It covers you for any visitor to your business who isn't an employee, including clients or customers, and anyone taking part in or watching activities you have organised.
Public liability insurance can protect your business against damage claims by third parties, which could run into tens of thousands or even millions of pounds and even bankrupt your business.
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Public liability insurance covers legal and compensation costs due to your business causing injury to a third party or damage to their property.
Although you don't legally have to buy public liability insurance if you run a business, unless it’s a horse-riding establishment, it can be a good insurance policy to have. Some clients may ask for proof of insurance before they work with you.
In addition, you may need public liability insurance if you're a member of a trade association or professional body that requires you to have it.
Not having public liability insurance also makes your business vulnerable to the effects of a claim, which could be so costly that the business is forced to close down.
Although it’s not a legal requirement for most businesses in the UK, public liability insurance is a popular type of cover for a number of reasons.
Three key reasons:
If you’re a member of a trade association or professional body, it may require you to have it
A client may require that you’re covered as a condition of working for them
The cost of a potential claim may seriously harm or bankrupt your business – for many business owners, this alone means it’s not worth risking going without cover
Public liability only concerns damage to property or injury to people who are not your employees.
If you want cover for your employees if they are injured or become ill through work, or for damage to your own property, you’ll need additional insurance.
When you're running a business, you’ll have a lot of different risks and responsibilities to deal with. You may have employees, stock or equipment and machinery to buy and maintain, a business premises or office and valuable computers and other technology.
You will need to keep customers and clients safe while visiting your premises, and keep their personal information and data secure on your IT systems. For this reason, most businesses need a range of cover.
Employers’ liability insurance: covers legal and compensation costs if an employee becomes sick or injured while working for you
Professional indemnity insurance: covers you in case you are accused of professional negligence
Business contents insurance: protects your business equipment and stock
Directors’ and officers’ liability insurance: this covers claims made against company directors or officers
Cyber insurance: pays out in the event of data breaches that result in loss or damage of information from your computer systems.
The cost of public liability insurance depends on the size and scale of your business, the type of industry you’re in and whether you’ve made insurance claims before. The number of employees you have is also usually a factor.
Different businesses will have different risks. For example, a construction company will have different inherent risks from a broadcaster or a small family accountancy firm.
If you have a small business, public liability insurance could cost you from £60 a year. Your annual premium could be in the hundreds if you run a larger company.
Getting an online quote is the best way to gauge how much your public liability insurance is likely to cost – and using our online tool means that getting a quote takes less than 10 minutes.
One of the simplest ways to think about what public liability covers is to think about accidents.
Many businesses face claims from members of the public who have sustained an injury while visiting their premises, such as slipping on a wet floor or tripping over a loose cable. Or it could be a larger, more serious claim involving a number of people.
Whatever the incident, you could be sued for causing severe or life-changing injuries. The cost of defending the claim could be high, and your business reputation could be adversely affected.
You must take out employers’ liability insurance (EL) as well if you have employees. It's also important to fully assess all the different risks your business faces.
No, public liability insurance is not a legal requirement for most businesses in the UK. The exception is if your business is a horse-riding establishment.
While public liability is one of the most popular types of insurance for businesses, it’s important to remember that it’s just one of many types of cover available and is best combined with other policies to provide your business with full protection.
The main point to remember is that public liability only concerns your liabilities in relation to injuring third parties or damaging their property and does not cover things such as injury to your employees or damage to your own property.
These can be covered by other types of business insurance.
Getting the right combination of liability insurance starts with assessing the risks your business faces.
Other popular types of business insurance include, but are not limited to:
Employers’ liability insurance, to cover legal and compensation costs associated with a claim made against you by an employee, due to injury or property damage
Professional indemnity insurance, to cover legal and compensation costs if your business provides negligent services or advice
Business contents insurance, to cover items such as computers, stock and even cash in the event of theft or damage
Directors’ and officers’ insurance, to cover claims made against company directors or officers
Cyber insurance, to cover your business’s liabilities for data breaches involving theft or damage to information such as credit card numbers, passwords and personally identifiable information (PII).
Yes, your public liability insurance should cover you at a clients’ premises or elsewhere – as long as you’re carrying out business activities.
This depends on your business and the size of the claims you think could be made against you.
You can pick from a range of limits – usually £1 million, £2 million, £5 million or £10 million – for public liability cover.
If your needs change, you may be able to increase or decrease your level of cover without paying admin fees.
Some good ways to figure out how much cover you need is by looking at:
Whether any professional or trade bodies you belong to require a minimum level of cover
What other businesses in your industry typically take out
This depends on the type of claim you’re making and your policy. You’ll usually be required to pay an excess – this is the amount of the claim you need to pay yourself.
It could be £250, for example, but the higher the excess you agree to pay the cheaper your policy is likely to be.
No, public liability insurance covers injuries to anyone who isn’t an employee. To cover employees, you’ll need employers’ liability cover.
Yes, whether you’re a sole trader, partnership or limited company, all types of business can get public liability cover.
Employers’ liability (EL) cover is a legal requirement for any UK business that hires employees, including full-time, part-time, contractors or temporary staff.
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.
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.