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Do I need public liability insurance?

If your business involves interaction with members of the public who aren't your employees, 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:

  • personal injury

  • loss of or damage to property

  • death

It covers you for any visitor or person who isn't an employee, including clients and contractors.


Remember...

Public liability insurance can protect your business against damage claims by third parties, which could run into tens of thousands of pounds and could even bankrupt your business.

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Although it’s not a legal requirement for businesses in the UK, public liability is a popular cover for other valid reasons. 

Three key reasons

  • If you’re a member of a trade association or professional body, they may require you to have it

  • A client may require that you’re covered as a condition of work

  • The cost of a potential claim may well bankrupt your business – for many business owners, this reason alone is not worth the risk of going without cover

  • Employers’ liability insurance: this covers legal and compensation costs if an employee becomes sick or injured while working for you

  • Professional indemnity insurance: in case you are accused of professional negligence.

  • Business contents insurance: protects your business equipment and stock.

  • Directors’ and officers’ insurance: this covers claims made against company directors or officers.

  • Cyber insurance: which pays out in the event of data breaches involving sensitive customer information.

Other types of business insurance to also consider

When you're running a business you will have a lot of different risks and responsibilities. You may have a number of employees, stock or equipment and machinery to buy and maintain, a business premises or office and computer software to check and upgrade.

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.

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What does public liability insurance cover?

Public liability insurance covers legal and compensation costs - due to your business causing injury or property damage to a third party.

Although you don't legally have to buy public indemnity insurance if you run a business, 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 indemnity insurance if you're a member of a trade association or professional body, which requires you to have it.

Remember...

Not having public liability insurance also makes your business vulnerable to a claim, which could be so costly that the business is forced to close down.

Insurance costs

How much does public liability insurance cost?

The cost of public liability insurance depends on the size and scale of your business and the type of industry.

Your insurance premium will be affected by the number of employees and your business location.

Different businesses will have different risks. For example, a construction company will have different inherent risks from a broadcaster or a small family firm.

Small business public insurance costs

If you have a small business, then public liability insurance could cost you from £50 a year. If you run an SME your annual premium could be around £120 and larger companies will pay upwards of £450 a year or more.

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. 

What type of incidents would public liability cover?

Many businesses face claims from members of the public who sustained an injury while they were at the premises. This might be a claim due to an accident, such as slipping on a wet floor or a loose cable, or it could be a large and serious claim involving a number of people.

Whatever the accident, 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 also be adversely affected.

Public liability only concerns your liabilities for damage to property or injury to people who are not your employees.

If you want cover for injury, sickness or damage to your employees and their property, or damage to your own property, then you will need an additional insurance policy. 

Also consider, employers’ liability insurance (EI). It's important to assess fully the different risks that your business faces.

Making sure you're covered

One of the simplest ways to think about what public liability covers is to think about accidents. 

Seemingly small mishaps – from a slip on a freshly cleaned floor, to a trip over a poorly placed cable – have the potential to cause severe bodily injury and property damage and could lead to a lawsuit against your business. 

Public liability - FAQs

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.

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.

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.

Public liability insurance

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