What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance is one of the main types of business insurance. It can cover compensation payments and legal costs if a member of the public (maybe a customer, a supplier, or a passerby) sues your business because they’ve been injured or their property has been damaged.

What does public liability insurance cover?

Public liability insurance can cover legal costs and compensation payments if your business is held responsible for injury or property damage to a client, contractor or another member of the public.

Imagine you’re a consultant visiting a client’s office and you spill a cup of coffee and damage their computer equipment. Or imagine an employee in your cleaning company fails to put out a wet floor sign after cleaning a floor and someone slips and breaks a bone.

In both cases, your business could be sued. Your public liability insurance could then cover the legal fees and compensation costs, up to the limit of your policy.

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Do I need public liability insurance?

It’s up to you to decide whether you need public liability insurance (it’s not a legal requirement), but it may be helpful to know that it’s usually taken out by businesses that interact with the general public.

This means public liability insurance is usually bought by tradesmen, hairdressers, shop owners and restaurant owners, for example. But since most businesses come into contact with the public at some point, it’s a good idea for many businesses.
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How much public liability insurance do I need?

It’s up to you to decide how much public liability insurance you need, although it’s sensible to check with your potential clients to see if they expect a particular level of cover.

Simply Business offers a minimum of £1 million and a maximum of £10 million of public liability insurance.

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How much does public liability insurance cost?

As with other types of insurance, the cost of your public liability insurance will depend on a number of factors, including the type of business you run and the level of cover you select.
Businesses that are perceived as riskier will usually pay a higher price for their public liability insurance.

The quickest way to get a price for your insurance is to run an online quote.

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Does public liability insurance cover employees?

Public liability insurance isn’t designed to cover employees - it’s an insurance intended to protect you from third party claims made by a customer, client, or another member of the public.

If your business has one or more employees, you’re usually legally required to take out an employers’ liability insurance policy. This can cover you for compensation claims made by an employee because they suffer injury, illness or property damage as a result of their work.

You can buy both public liability insurance and employers’ liability insurance as part of a tailored insurance policy from Simply Business. Get a quote now.

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What is occupiers’ liability insurance?

Under UK law, the occupier of a premises is responsible for ensuring it’s safe and that it doesn’t cause harm to visitors. The occupier isn’t necessarily the owner. For example, a hairdresser is responsible for making sure that their salon is safe, whether it’s rented or owned. As a result, the occupier is liable if something happens to a visitor, and it’s the occupier who could face a compensation claim. Public liability insurance provides cover for this risk.

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Can I get public liability insurance with a criminal record?

It can be difficult to get public liability insurance if you have a criminal record, and you may need to use a broker to help you find a policy. Simply Business can’t offer you a policy online if you have a criminal record, but we can sometimes help you over the phone. Three of the insurers on our panel may be able to offer you a public liability policy, as long as you only have one conviction and it didn’t result in a custodial sentence.

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What is the difference between public liability and general liability?

Public liability insurance and general liability insurance are different terms for the same thing. Public liability insurance is the UK name for business insurance that covers third party injury or damage claims, while in the USA this insurance cover is called general liability insurance.

If you have employees, you will usually be required by law to have employers’ liability insurance to cover injury claims made by employees.

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As the UK’s biggest business insurance provider, public liability cover is what we do best.

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