What is occupiers' liability insurance?

In the context of business insurance, occupiers’ liability insurance is a way of referring to insurance that covers the occupier of a business premises for injury or damage claims made against them. This insurance product is most commonly called public liability insurance.

Occupiers’ liability insurance: a definition

Under the Occupiers’ Liability Acts, occupiers of a premises can be held liable for injury or damage that’s suffered there.

The law defines the ‘occupier’ as the person who is in control of the premises, so this could be the tenant rather than the owner. This means that if you’re a business owner with a business premises, you’re likely to count as an ‘occupier’ whether you rent or own the premises. You’re therefore responsible for taking measures to make sure the premises is safe and free from hazards.

If a visitor is injured or their property is damaged on your business premises, you could be held liable. For example, if a customer fell over due to a wet floor in your shop, or a supplier tripped over a loose floor tile in your restaurant, you could face a compensation claim. Public liability insurance is the cover that can protect you in these situations, as it can pay the legal fees and compensation payment if you’re sued.

In terms of insurance to protect the business premises itself, it’s usually the landlord who is responsible for insuring the building, but you’ll need to take out contents insurance if you want to insure things like furniture and decorative items.

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