What is Public Liability Insurance?

Public liability insurance is a very common type of general business insurance that protects you against claims made by members of the public. If your business has any interaction with the public, this cover should be a necessary component of your business insurance package.

Do I Need Public Liability Insurance?

Public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement. However, many businesses see it as essential to protect them from potential high compensation claims. Some clients may insist you have it before engaging with you, as do some trade bodies and professional associations.

If you run a business, you should consider purchasing public liability insurance if:

  • Clients visit your premises.
  • You work on client locations.
  • You work in public (like a builder).

It's ultimately your choice, but could you afford the time and costs of defending yourself if you didn't have insurance?

Who Needs Public Liability Insurance?

Imagine you’re a hairdresser visiting a client at their home and you spill dye on their carpet, or an employee fails to put out a “wet floor” sign out after cleaning, and a customer slips and breaks their leg.

In the above situations, your business could be on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

What Does Public Liability Insurance Cover?

Public liability insurance covers your legal liability if you or an employee is deemed responsible for damaged possessions, bodily injury, or death to a member of the public whether they’re a customer, supplier, contractor, or simply a passer-by, arising from your business activities.

This cover can include the cost of repairing or replacing possessions, NHS hospital costs, legal fees associated with defending a case, and compensation claimed by the individual, which could include reimbursement for loss of work.

How Much Public Liability Insurance do I Need?

Each business is different, so it’s up to you to decide on the level of cover you require. There are several things to think about, including the size of your business, the degree of risk connected with your job, and how much you're involved with the public. Some clients may also require a certain limit of cover before offering you work.

Options usually range from £1 million up to £10 million. It’s best to seek advice from a specialist business insurance broker who can help to assess your risk and recommend a suitable level of cover.

How to get Public Liability Insurance?

Public liability insurance often comes as part of a package of insurance and can be included within a business policy. For example, if you're looking for insurance for a salon, shop, B&B or restaurant, public liability cover will often come as standard along with other covers. A combined business policy can also be more cost-effective.

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