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Public liability insurance

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Based on 39,717 reviews

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Claims paid in 24 hours

For 80% of settled claims

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

Why is public liability insurance important?

The UK’s most common accident is a slip, trip, or fall, and the majority of them happen out and about. Public liability insurance (PLi, 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
  • get it as a standalone cover or add it to a broader business insurance policy
  • rated 4.7/5 based on 39K+ public liability customer reviews

Start your quote

What does business liability insurance cover?

Most UK public 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.


What does this cover?

  • accidental injury to a third party, as a direct result of your work
  • legal fees and cover, up to the level stated on your policy wording

When would I need to make a claim?

  • for example, you accidentally spill boiling water on your client’s hand, causing a bad burn and long-term injury

What isn’t covered?

  • accidental injury caused by your employees or anyone else in your business – you’d usually need to add employers’ liability insurance to cover this


What does this cover?

  • accidental damage to a third party’s property, as a direct result of your work
  • legal fees and cover, up to the level stated on your policy wording

When would I need to make a claim?

  • for example, you accidentally knock your client’s laptop onto a hard concrete floor, damaging it beyond repair

What isn’t covered?

  • accidental damage caused by your employees or anyone else working for your business – you’d usually need to add employers’ liability insurance to cover this

Product liability

What does this cover?

  • accidental injury to a third party, caused by a product you’ve made or sold
  • legal fees and cover, up to the level stated on your policy wording

When would I need to make a claim?

  • for example, you accidentally give a customer food poisoning, as a result of food you’ve prepared and sold from your snack bar, or
  • your wooden toy company is held responsible for a child’s injury, caused by a defect in a product you’ve made

What isn’t covered?

  • accidental damage caused by your employees or anyone else in your business – you’d usually need to add employers’ liability insurance to cover this
  • not all insurers offer cover for product liability – check your policy wording carefully before you buy

See more covers

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 public liability insurance cost?

Working out the public liability insurance cost 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 a public liability insurance comparison from a range of trusted insurers.

Prices start from £6.56 per month

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

Get your tailored quotes in 7 minutes

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*How we work out example prices 10% of our customers paid up to £38.32 a year for a public liability insurance policy between 1st April 2023 - 30th June 2023. Equivalent to £3.19 per month based on a monthly cost when paying for the policy in one annual payment. Paying monthly is usually more expensive as you'll pay interest. Most customers pay more than this but some pay less.

Example public liability insurance quotes, real prices

chiswell insurance

£9.80 /month

£78.01 /year

A self-employed builder that works on altering, converting or extending residential properties

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


  • Employers’ liability

    Not included

  • Tool insurance

    Not included

churchill insurance

£65.48 /month

£582.03 /year

A local domestic cleaning business working only in residential properties

  • 5+ years' experience
  • Limited company
  • 3 employees
  • Based in Edinburgh
  • Public liability


  • Employers’ liability


  • Tool insurance


How we work out example quotes These examples are real quotes from our online system (created 10/11/2022). 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

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Does public liability insurance cover my work?

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.

Other types of insurance:

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

Call our team

0333 043 8527


Contact us on our website whenever suits you


Call our insurance experts during office hours (calls are charged at a local rate)


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.

£28 million in claims paid out in 2021

Paying 80% of settled claims within 24 hours in 2021

The figure above is rounded across our range of products. Our claims process may vary for different products and operates on a ‘claim by claim’ basis.

Example claim

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.

  • Insurance payout


    Covering the cost of accidental damage

  • Imran’s costs


    The excess amount stated in Imran’s policy terms

Chosen by 800,000 small businesses and landlords

We started out as a team of five back in 2005. We’ve grown since then with 800,000 customers across 1,500 trades now trusting us to provide their business insurance.

  • Compare and buy in minutes

    Documents arrive today

  • Rated 4.7/5

    Based on 39,717 reviews

  • Here to help

    Help from UK-based experts

  • 24/7 claims

    Make a claim any time

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 (PLi) is one of the main types of business insurance. It protects you if a member of the public gets ill, injured, or suffers financially and blames your business. Public liability can cover the resulting legal costs and compensation payments.

    There isn’t a legal requirement for your business to have PL insurance. But if you regularly interact with the public as part of your business, it’s an important protection to consider.

  • 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.

    Read more

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Read more

  • 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

    Read more

  • 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.

    Read more

  • 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.

    Read more

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Read more

  • 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.

    Read more

  • 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.

    Read more

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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