Public liability insurance

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What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance protects your business if someone is injured or their property is damaged because of your work. It’s a type of business insurance that can cover the legal fees and compensation costs if a client or member of the public sues your business.

Why do I need public liability insurance?

The UK’s most common accident is a slip, trip, or fall, and the majority of them happen out and about. Public liability insurance, also known as PL or liability insurance is designed to protect your business against third party claims for injuries or property damage – from a customer or client to a passer-by or visitor to your premises, whether you’re at fault or not.

  • business liability insurance, UK-based claims and customer service team
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What does business liability insurance cover?

Most liability insurance covers you for accidents on your premises or off-site, from a customer tripping over your tool kit to damaging someone’s dress during hair-up at a wedding. It’s important to review a public liability insurance quote carefully, checking your insurer offers cover for the risks you face (for example, some insurers won’t cover accidents caused by your products).

Keep in mind, accidents caused by your employees will only be covered if you have employers’ liability insurance in place too.

How much does public liability insurance cost?

Working out the cost of public liability insurance depends on a number of factors, like the type of business you run and the level of cover you choose. Usually, businesses who insurers see as risky will pay more for their public liability insurance.

Find out how much you’ll pay by completing an insurance comparison from a range of trusted insurers.

Prices start from £4.74 per month

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Who needs public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance for business protects your work by covering the legal claim if a member of the public is injured, gets ill, or loses out financially and blames your business. Some examples of trades we cover include:

Is your profession not listed? When you run a quote you can select your trade from over 1,000 options. Running a quote should give you an idea of the PL insurance cost for your business.

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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

How do claims work?

Unlike price comparison websites, we take the hassle out of claims for you. We know how important it is to get your business back on track quickly – and with a minimum of fuss. That’s why you get access to your dedicated claims any time, day or night. Call them on 0333 207 0560 or claim online. They’ll do their best to be fair and supportive.

£51 million in claims paid out in 2023

Public liability claim example

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

Imran saved more than £19,000

Imran (not his real name) had been spraying some cladding, and accidentally coated a few cars parked nearby in a car dealership. His public liability insurance policy covered the claim raised by the dealership, as well as his legal costs.

Liability insurance covers FAQs

This is a key cover for most businesses – our comprehensive FAQs answer some of the most popular questions about public liability insurance. You can also check out our public liability insurance FAQs.

Public liability insurance covers your business against compensation claims and legal costs if a third party suffers injury or property damage while on your premises, or while you’re working on their property.

But when it comes to liability insurance, what is it that you’re covered for? Typically, public liability cover can protect you against:

  • compensation payments for third party injury (or even death)
  • repair or replacement costs, for damaged property or possessions
  • medical fees, if the NHS decide to claim for hospital treatment, or an ambulance call out
  • legal expenses, while you’re defending any of these claims

Public liability insurance reassures your customers that you – and they – are properly protected in case things go wrong. While it isn’t a legal obligation under UK law, your clients, industry regulator, or membership body may require you to have it. At Simply Business, we can provide public liability insurance for limited companies, and public liability insurance for individuals.

Here’s where public liability insurance can be useful: a furniture fitter needed to claim on his insurance while working on a house. A cabinet he had installed fell off the wall and knocked a fellow contractor off a step ladder, causing injury to the contractor’s wrist and back. The claim was settled at £25,235, but the furniture fitter only had to pay the £250 excess.

Check out more public liability claim examples.

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Simply Business offers a minimum level of £1 million public liability insurance. Depending on the nature of your business and client demands, you may need a higher level of cover.

It’s a good idea to check your policy when you take on each new job or contract. For example, companies working on government contracts are usually required to be covered for a minimum of £5 million or even £10 million in public liability insurance.

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Getting public liability insurance for your business is easy.

First, you’ll need to get a quote from us. Just answer a few questions about your business, and we’ll present you with a selection of insurers who offer the kind of insurance you’re looking for.

Once you’ve settled on the cover that’s right for you, you’ll be able to buy your insurance online in a matter of minutes. Or if you’d prefer, you can speak to someone in our contact centre who’ll walk you through the process.

Once you’ve bought your insurance, you’ll be covered straight away and we’ll email your policy documents over on the same day.

If you deal with the public on a regular basis, you should seriously consider public liability insurance.

Public liability insurance protects you if a member of the public sues you for injury or damage. While it’s not required by law, it can protect you from crippling compensation costs. It’s a popular choice of cover with tradespeople, hairdressers, restaurant owners and shopkeepers.

This depends on a number of factors, like the type of business you run and the level of cover you choose. It’s easy to find out how much it might cost – just enter a few details about your business, and we’ll show you a selection of online business insurance quotes. Usually, businesses who insurers see as risky will pay more for their public liability insurance.

There is no standard, average price for public liability insurance. As mentioned, the actual cost will depend on several factors, such as the nature of your business and trade type, your claims history and the level of cover you need depending on your circumstances.

The easiest way to find a price for your public liability insurance is to run a quick online quote.

As with most types of insurance, insurers will calculate the price of your public liability insurance (your premium) based on several things, including the type of business you run and the level of cover you select.

Insurers are predicting how likely you are to make a claim and how much a claim could cost. In practice, this usually means that businesses that are more likely to face steep compensation claims will pay more for their public liability insurance.

When you’re buying cover for your business it’s really important that you answer all questions accurately and that you buy enough cover, ensuring you’re fully protected if you come to make a claim.

If you have staff, it’s likely that getting employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement. But while public liability insurance isn’t required by law in the UK, it’s worth considering and is an important cover for many businesses. It protects against claims and legal action for injury and property damage.

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Businesses can deduct costs when calculating taxable profit. These are known as ‘allowable expenses’ – and business insurance is an allowable expense. Make sure you keep records of income and expenses, including receipts and invoices, for HMRC. This also means keeping your policy documents safe.

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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.

These two covers have similar names but there are important differences. Public liability insurance protects against claims from members of the public, who are injured or suffer a loss and blame your business. Employers’ liability insurance protects against claims from employees, who are injured or get ill as a result of working for you.

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Insurers generally don’t give out certificates because public liability isn’t a legal requirement. This is different to employers’ liability, which is a legal requirement and is certified.

Public liability insurance can protect you and your business if a member of the public suffers an injury or another loss because of your business. If you sell, create, manufacture, or distribute a product, then it’s worth considering product liability insurance too, as it can provide further protection for you and your business.

The cost of public liability insurance depends on the size of your business, the industry you work in, and the risks associated with your work. You can choose whether you want to pay for the whole year up front, or pay monthly.

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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