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What's on this page

  • Why is insurance important?
  • What does it cover?
  • How much does it cost?
  • How do I choose insurance?
  • How do claims work?
  • FAQs
  • Helpful articles

What is business insurance for?

Whether it’s a third party injury or a serious professional indemnity claim, if you run a small business, there’s a risk that something will go wrong. From public liability insurance to employers’ liability cover, professional indemnity insurance risks and specific trade and equipment insurance, business or commercial insurance can combine comprehensive cover for the specific challenges you face.

  • compare business insurance quotes from globally-recognised and trusted brands
  • trusted by over 900,000 small UK businesses for flexible, tailored cover
  • peace of mind, letting you focus on your business, not the what-ifs

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What does small business insurance cover?

Our insurance for small businesses covers a variety of risks.

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance protects you if someone is injured or their property is damaged because of your business.

If you do employ anyone, you’re usually required by law to have employers’ liability insurance too.

For example:

  • your coffee shop business is held responsible for damage to a neighbouring shop’s front window
  • the building business you own receives a third party injury claim, after a member of the public trips and falls over your tool kit, breaking their knee

What you’ll need additional cover for accidents caused by your employees aren’t covered by your public liability insurance policy, but you can easily add employers’ liability insurance to help take care of this.

Employers’ liability insurance

Employers’ liability insurance covers claims from employees who’ve been injured or become seriously ill as a result of working for you.

For example:

  • your employee catches their hand on an exposed nail in your premises, which becomes infected
  • an apprentice training with you slips on a wet floor while cleaning down, injuring their lower back

Employers’ liability insurance is required by law if you have people working for you. Without it, you could be fined up to £2,500 a day for each employee.

Professional indemnity insurance

Professional indemnity insurance covers you in the event that your business gives faulty advice that causes financial loss to a client.

For example:

  • you provide investment advice to your client and they hold you responsible for a subsequent financial loss
  • you’ve issued certification to a client which contains an error, and your client suffers a financial loss

This content has been created for general information purposes. Make sure you have the right level of business insurance by checking your policy documentation for details. Read our full Terms and Conditions

How much does business insurance cost?

The cost of your business insurance depends on the nature of your work, the type of insurance you need, and your cover levels. The amount you pay for your insurance is called your premium. Insurers calculate your premium based on a number of things, including the work you do, the size of your contracts, and the cover types and cover levels you choose. As with other types of insurance, business insurers calculate how likely you are to make a claim and how much a claim could cost, meaning that businesses that face higher levels of risk will usually pay higher premiums.

Find out how much you’ll pay by comparing business insurance from a range of trusted insurers. You choose what goes into your policy, so you only pay for what you need.

Prices start from £3.49 per month

Get your quotes in 7 minutes – prices are guaranteed for 30 days.

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*The price is for £1 million of public liability insurance - 10% of customers paid £41.87 or less annually between 1st Oct 2023 - 31st Mar 2024. Equivalent to £3.49/month (and excludes the extra costs for paying monthly). If you complete a quote more types of cover will be available, these all have additional costs.

Example business insurance quotes, real prices

covea insurance

£8.05 /month

£60.52 /year

A mobile hairdresser who works in clients' homes and also rents a chair in a local salon.

  • 1-2 years' experience
  • Sole trader
  • No employees
  • Based in Nottingham
  • Public liability


  • Employers’ liability

    Not included

  • Tools

    Not included

churchill insurance

£102.52 /month

£911.31 /year

A small ltd building company that specialises in repairs to residential and commercial properties.

  • 5+ years' experience
  • Limited company
  • 2 employees
  • Based in Glasgow
  • Public liability


  • Employers’ liability


  • Tools


How we work out example business insurance quotes These examples are real small business insurance quotes from our online system (created 19/06/2023). They’re based on a range of factors, like employees and location. Your own quote will be based on what you tell us about your business. Prices may go up or down from day to day, so the prices you’re quoted may differ to the ones you see here.

How it works

  • Pick what goes into your policy

    Only pay for what you need

  • Get prices from a range of insurers

    Choose the best fit for you

  • Buy online in minutes

    Get your documents the same day

Start your quote

Simply Business

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Business insurance for a wide range of trades

At Simply Business we offer highly rated business insurance for all kinds of trades, from hairdressers to cleaners and even fortune tellers. Check out our list below and read a bit more about some of the businesses we insure:

Don't worry if your trade isn't listed above. When running business insurance quotes you can choose from over 1,500 trades.

Talk to an expert

Our team of UK-based insurance experts are here to help, Mon 09.00am - 05.30pm, Tues 09.00am - 05.30pm, Weds 09.00am - 05.30pm, Thurs 09.30am - 05.30pm, Fri 09.00am - 05.30pm, Sat 09.00am - 02.00pm

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Find answers to common insurance questions

Building your business insurance policy

You can build your policy from a range of different covers to suit your individual needs, making sure you get the right commercial cover for your business.

Public liability insurance is an important cover for lots of businesses. And if you have employees it's likely that you're legally required to take out employers’ liability insurance (even if they're contractors, casual workers or temporary staff).

It’s up to you to decide what cover works best for your line of work.

When you’re buying insurance, it’s really important that you answer all questions accurately and that you choose a high enough level of cover so that you’re protected if you need to make a claim.

£51 million in claims paid out in 2023

83% of claims were settled in 2023

The figure above is rounded across our range of products. "Settled" covers paid, declined or withdrawn. Our claims process may vary for different products and operates on a ‘claim by claim’ basis. Our specialist partner Sedgwick will pay the claims on behalf of the insurer. Reviewed on 24/04/2024.

Example small business insurance claim

Having small business insurance through Simply Business has saved companies thousands of pounds when the unexpected happened.

Ben saved more than £21,200

Ben (not his real name) is a builder working on local domestic properties. After removing a supporting wall and installing metal beams for a client, the walls in the rooms above his work area have developed cracks, and he receives a claim for compensation. The public liability cover in Ben’s small business insurance policy covered the accidental damage.

  • Insurance payout


    Covering the cost of accidental damage

  • Ben’s costs


    The excess amount stated in Ben’s policy terms

Chosen by 900,000 small businesses and landlords

We started out as a team of five back in 2005. We’ve grown since then with 900,000 customers across 1,500 trades now trusting us to provide their business insurance.

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  • Rated 4.8/5

    Based on 39,802 reviews

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Business insurance FAQs

Whether you’re new to buying business insurance or you’ve been trading for a while, here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about business insurance. You can also check out our business insurance FAQs.

  • Business insurance protects businesses against losses that happen as a result of normal business activities – particularly when a compensation claim is made. There are different types of cover for different types of risk, from legal liability, to property damage, to employee-related issues. Typical cover includes public liability, professional indemnity and employers’ liability insurance.

    For more information check out our business insurance FAQ pages.

  • While business insurance isn't a legal requirement, some regulators may require you to have it in order to operate. The only type of business insurance that's mandatory under the law is employers' liability insurance – it's likely that if you have staff, you need this cover.

    Read more

  • Most businesses with employees need to have at least £5 million of employers' liability insurance. It also depends on the nature of your work, and whether clients, contracts or regulatory bodies specify a particular level of cover. Think about how much you might need to pay out in claims if something goes wrong.

    Simply Business offers between £1 million to £5 million of public liability insurance, £50,000 to £5 million of professional indemnity insurance, and £10 million as standard of employers’ liability insurance.

    Compare business insurances quotes today to get the right level of cover for your business.

    Read more

  • Yes, you can buy business insurance before registering your business, and even before you've started trading. Keep in mind that when buying a commercial insurance policy, insurers will ask for details like your business address, your trade type, and your actual or projected turnover.

    Registering your business

    When you’re starting your business you can set up as a sole trader or start a limited company. As a sole trader, the only business registration you generally need to complete is a registration for the HMRC self-assessment tax system. You can do this on the .gov website.

    If you set up a limited company, there’s a bit more paperwork involved. You need to register your business with Companies House (this is sometimes called ‘incorporating’) and you’ll then be given a company registration number (CRN). Some businesses can complete the registration process online).

    If you’re not sure which business structure you should use, this article goes into your options in a bit more detail.

    Buying your business insurance

    Although it’s really important to register your business and tick all the legal boxes when you’re getting started, you don’t need to register your business before you can buy your business insurance.

    When you’re buying your policy, insurers need to know things like your business address, your trade type, and your actual or projected turnover. You may also be asked about your business structure (whether you’re a sole trader or a limited company, for example). However, you won’t be asked for your CRN or other business registration details.

    This means that you can buy your business insurance while you’re doing all the other paperwork to set up your business.

  • Yes, as you can buy business insurance before you begin trading. But some types of business will need a trade licence to operate – and if you need a licence and start trading without it, your business insurance policy may be invalid. Trade licences are usually issued by the relevant licensing authority or by the local authority.

    Trade licences

    Not every business needs a trade licence. There are certain business types, however, that require licences, and these are usually issued by the relevant licensing authority or by the local authority. Businesses that need trade licences include market traders, taxi drivers, and pet shops. You can use the licence finder tool on the government’s website to check whether your business needs a licence.

    Remember that even if you don’t need a trade licence, you do need to register your business. If you’re a sole trader, you need to register for self-assessment tax, and if you’re setting up as a limited company you need to ‘incorporate’, which means registering with Companies House and getting a company registration number (CRN).

    Buying your business insurance

    It’s possible to buy your business insurance before your trade licence has been issued. Your insurer won’t ask for your licence details when you buy your insurance, and you can get your insurance in place before you begin trading.

    However, part of your agreement with your insurer is that you’ll comply with all laws and regulations, so if you start trading without a necessary licence, your business insurance may be rendered invalid. This could mean that any claim you make is refused by your insurer. Therefore it’s important to get all your paperwork in order, and get your trade licence sorted before you begin trading.

  • An excess is an amount you pay towards any claim you make on your business insurance. For example, if your excess is £250 and you make a claim worth £1000, your payout will be a maximum of £750.

    Insurance coverLowest excessHighest excess
    Public liability£100£2500
    Employers' liabilityNo excessNo excess
    Business and office equipment£50£750

    The figures above are for guidance only and any excess applying to your business insurance quote may differ. You’ll get a breakdown of the excesses for each quote when you compare with us.

  • The cost of your business insurance is tailored to your business. It’s based on a number of factors, such as:

    • your claims history, particularly the past five years
    • how long you've been operating in your trade
    • working in dangerous environments
    • working with dangerous materials
    • the value of goods, equipment, or tools you insure
    • the number of covers you add (the more covers, the greater the price)
  • Yes. It’s important to make sure you have the right type and level of insurance for the different types of work you do. For example, if you’re a builder, you may also do roofing work on certain jobs – you’ll need additional cover for this, but you can have it all on the one policy.

    When looking for best-rated business insurance quotes, you’ll have the option to add another trade or profession to your policy. If you need to add a third trade, give us a call on 0333 043 8527 and one of our insurance experts will help you set up your policy in minutes.

  • This will depend on whether you have employers' liability insurance in place. Public liability insurance is designed to protect your business against the consequences of legal action brought by members of the public for injuries or damage to their belongings. But when it comes to your employees causing injury or damage, this protection only activates if you also have employers’ liability insurance.

    If you employ people, you’re required by law to have employers’ liability insurance.

    There’s one exception here. Family businesses that aren’t incorporated as a limited company are not legally required to have employers' liability insurance. The government defines a “family business” as one where all your employees are closely related to you (as a spouse, civil partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, step-parent, stepchild or half-sibling). So if you run an unincorporated family business and you choose not to get employers’ liability insurance, it’s important to know that your public liability insurance wouldn’t cover you against damage or injury caused by your team.

  • Make sure you’re covered for the services you provide:

    Other types of business insurance

    We offer several different types of business insurance, with some of the most common types of insurance listed below:

    Landlord covers

  • If you’re self-employed and hire staff you’ll be required by law to have employers’ liability insurance. There aren’t any other types of insurance that are legal requirements for self-employed businesses. However, it’s important that you have the right cover in place so you’re protected if something goes wrong or a claim is made against your business.

    Alongside employers' liability insurance if you have staff, you'll probably want to take out public or product liability cover and professional indemnity cover. Depending on your business, there are a range of other covers you can add into your business insurance policy including tools insurance, legal expenses insurance, and stock insurance. You can find out more on our self-employed insurance page.

  • If your online business hires staff then you’ll need employers’ liability insurance as a legal requirement. You’re not legally required to have any other insurance for your online business, but it’s crucial that you’re covered in case something goes wrong.

    As well as employers’ liability insurance (for business with staff), online businesses usually include cover for things like public and product liability, professional indemnity, legal expenses, and stock in their insurance policy.

    Visit our online business insurance page to find out more about the types of cover that could help to protect your business.

  • If you work from home regularly, it’s not a requirement to have business insurance. However, it’s worth checking your home insurance policy and in some cases making your insurer aware of your situation.

    If you run your business from home and you employ staff, you’ll need employers’ liability insurance as a legal requirement. You’re not required to have any other types of cover if you run a home business, but there are several risks it’s important to protect yourself against.

    For example, if your home business handles client data you may need to take out professional indemnity insurance. Meanwhile if you store stock or business equipment at home, you may need insurance to cover you for theft or damage. If your customers or clients visit your home, then public liability insurance can cover you if someone is injured or their property is damaged because of your business.

    Although standard home insurance can cover you if you work from home regularly, if you’re running your business from home it’s likely you’ll need commercial property insurance.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always check policy documentation for details and seek professional advice. Read our full Terms and Conditions

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