What is public liability insurance? – A 60-second guide for business owners

Public liability insurance will protect your business if you cause an injury to a member of the public, or property belonging to another business or individual.

You should consider taking out public liability insurance if members of the public visit you at your place of work, or if you perform work at places of work owned by third parties.

Public liability insurance – what does it cover?

A public liability insurance policy will protect your business from claims made by third parties for injuries to the person, or damage to property caused as a result of your business activities.

A typical policy will pay for the cost of putting right any damage, or medical fees in the case of injuries. It will also cover the potentially crippling costs of legally representing your business, related expenses, and any damages your business is found to owe in relation to a claim.

Public liability insurance does not cover claims made by any of your employees. To protect your business from this type of eventuality, read our guide to employers liability insurance for small businesses. You are legally required to have this cover in place if you employ anyone, and the penalties for failing to comply are severe.

Examples of public liability insurance claims

To help illustrate how public liability insurance works in practice, here are some classic scenarios where public liability cover will protect your business:

  • A self-employed PC support worker visits a client site to mend some equipment. He accidentally spills coffee on the client’s main server and causes some permanent damage.
  • An electrician re-wires a building as part of a general refurbishment. He doesn’t fit the fuse box correctly, resulting in several circuits getting burnt out.
  • You own a shop. One of your customers trips over some boxes of stock you carelessly left in an aisle. The policy will cover the costs of treating the injury caused to the customer.

How much cover do you need?

Cover tends to start at the £1 million mark, and can be purchased in increments up to £5 million or £10 million.

In some cases, you may be contractually required to take out a certain amount of cover, for example, if you do work for a local authority, or are an IT consultant. Otherwise, it is up to you to choose the level of cover you think is sensible for your business.

You will find that many insurers offer public liability in a bundle with employers’ liability and professional indemnity insurance as they are commonly purchased together.

It’s very likely that you will be able to save money by purchasing a bundled insurance policy rather than each component separately, so it’s worthwhile looking at.

How to get a public liability insurance quote

For a business insurance quote tailored specifically to your business needs, visit Superscript. You can pay monthly, and complete the whole application process in under 10 minutes!

Alternatively, visit our other partner – Qdos. Qdos offers a specific public liability insurance policy for the self employed which is ideal for sole traders or limited companies.

Last updated: 2nd May, 2021

Superscript no-ties business insurance - pay monthly

Tailored just for you + pay monthly. You could be covered in just 10 minutes.

Set up a limited company - packages from £12.99

Online company formation - everything you need to get started, via 1st Formations

Tide Business Bank Account - £40 welcome bonus!

Exclusive for Bytestart readers + 12 months' free transfers. Find out more.

FreeAgent Online Accounting - 55% off - ByteStart exclusive!

Brilliant software. Get 55% of your first 6 months, then 10% for life.

Related articles

  • sole trader insurance

    Sole trader insurance – what cover should you have in place?

    While nobody likes to think about it, things can and do go wrong when you’re in business, no matter how cautious you are. An employee could get hurt on the job. An unhappy customer could…

  • ir35 insurance

    IR35 insurance – essential cover for limited company contractors

    IR35 insurance will protect your limited company in the event that an enquiry is made into your tax return, or via a PAYE compliance visit. In some cases, this could result in a Tax Tribunal.…

  • income protection

    A guide to income protection insurance for sole traders & start-ups

    Making the decision to become self-employed can be daunting, especially if you’ve been an employee on a regular salary with all the perks that can bring, like a pension, holidays and sickness pay. The transition…