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Public liability insurance


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Compare public liability insurance from 14 leading UK insurers2

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110% of customers paid up to £37.64 a year for a standard public liability insurance policy when paying annually, between January 2023 and 31st March 2023. Equivalent to £3.14 per month. Paying monthly is usually more expensive as you'll pay interest.

2Accurate as of July 2023

What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance is a type of business insurance designed to protect you if a third party takes you to court after an accident – whether there’s been damage to their property, an injury, or death. You’re covered for any legal costs that result from your business activities – and your insurer will also cover you if you’re ordered to pay compensation. You will be protected on your own premises, or if you’re working in someone else’s home or office. 


Do I need public liability insurance?

Whether you’re a sole trader, small business, or limited company, public liability insurance is something you should consider. Public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement like employers’ liability insurance, but for some business owners, it can be essential. Public liability claims can be a real burden for businesses – not only to cover successful claims, but to cover the cost of investigating and fighting claims.

If you’re a young business, there’s a risk that these costs could be unaffordable and put your business in jeopardy. In some professions, clients may also require you to have a certain level of public liability cover before working with you, meaning that not having this insurance could get in the way of your work.

Sam Meadows

Our expert says


If you only fork out for one insurance policy for your business then make it public liability. If you deal with the public at all, then your business is vulnerable to accidents that could lead to a claim. If these involved an injury, or worse, to a member of the public then the resulting compensation could be crippling without a good insurance policy in place.

- Sam Meadows, Home Insurance Expert

How does public liability insurance work?

To mitigate the risk of legal claims from injury or property damage to third parties, business owners and individuals should understand how public liability works. Here's a summary:

  • Choose how much cover you need

    Choose the level of cover you need based on the risks associated with your work, such as contact with the public or dangerous equipment, and adjust coverage accordingly. Most insurers start coverage at £1 million.

  • Notifying your insurer of claims

    In the event of an incident, where a claim has been made against you, your business needs to file a claim with your insurance provider and include necessary documentation, such as photos or witness statements.

  • Negotiation of settlement

    After investigation, your provider will determine whether it is covered under the terms of your policy. If covered, they will either negotiate a settlement with the claimant or defend the business in court.

What does public liability cover?

If there’s an accident and a member of the public is harmed, public liability has you covered.

  • Tick

    What’s included:

    • Compensation claims
      For injuries to a third party or damage to their property, whether that occurs on your property, theirs, or anywhere else

    • Legal expenses
      If a claim is made against you, you’ll be covered for the cost of any legal proceedings 

    • Cost of repairs
      The cost of repairing property damage – for example, if you’re a plumber and your work damages a client’s home

    • Medical fees
      If the NHS chooses to make a claim against you, you’re covered for hospital treatment or an ambulance callout

    • Accidental damage
      If you or one of your employees damage a client's property, you may be liable which your insurance will cover

    • Injury
      If someone gets injured, or worse, on your business premises you may be held accountable. You'll be covered if a claim is made and compensation is due

  • Cross

    What isn’t:

    • Yourself
      Public liability only protects third parties – so it can’t help if there’s an accident and you’re injured

    • Your property
      Similarly, if your property is damaged, that should be covered by your ordinary business insurance

    • Your employees
      If you have more than one employee, you’re legally required to get employers’ liability cover to protect them

    • Your excess amount
      All insurance policies have an excess – that’s the amount you’ll have to pay yourself toward any claim 

    • Professional mistakes or negligence
      If it is found that an incident occurred because of negligence, you will not be covered

    • Intentional harm or damage
      If you or any of your employees in your business causes any intentional damage, it will not be covered

Does my business need public liability insurance?

  • Self Employed

    Without a manager or company to absorb potential claims, you are more at risk of being out of pocket if a claim is made

  • Electricians

    With extreme risks of live wires, electrocution, and fire, electricians have an increased risk of expensive claims

  • Retailers

    A simple slip of a customer on a wet floor can set you back more than you know. Protect yourself from any accidents on your premises

  • Roofers

    A trip, or a loose tile can impact someone else as well as your business, and can set you back thousands in a bad accident

  • Licensed tradespeople

    You can get specialised cover for the risks and hazards associated with your trade

  • Hairdressers

    With continuous contact with members of the public, hairdressing comes with a variety of risks that can be insured

  • Plumbers

    Water damage is the biggest risk for a plumber that can lead to a very expensive pay-out

  • Builders

    Construction sites are filled with an abundance of hazards and risks that can turn into claims

How much is public liability insurance?

You can get public liability through MoneySuperMarket starting at £37.64* per year. The cost of your public liability will depend on a few factors including:

  • Your claims history: If you have made claims in the past, your premiums could increase

  • The size and value of your business: Your premiums are likely to increase depending on the size of your business

  • Your business: Your premiums are heavily based on the nature of your business itself, and the risks associated with it

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*10% of customers paid up to £37.64 a year for a standard public liability insurance policy when paying annually, between January 2023 and 31 March 2023. Equivalent to £3.14 per month.

What other types of business insurance should I consider?

Aside from public liability insurance, you can also find other types of cover for your business:

  • Employers’ liability

    Employers’ liability cover is to protect you against legal costs if an employee is injured, gets ill, or their property gets damaged as a result of your business. It’s legally required if your business employs others

  • Product liability

    This covers you for any costs resulting from a person becoming ill or injured or having their property damaged by a product your business sells – often even if you didn’t manufacture it

  • Professional indemnity

    A professional indemnity policy is useful protection if you advise clients as part of your business. It covers the cost of claims made against you if the client suffers any losses as a result of the advice or work you did 

  • Cyber

    Cyber insurance can be a crucial part of any modern business, as it can cover a wide variety of costs associated with falling victim to a cyber attack 

  • Tools cover

    Protect your tools from theft, damage, and loss. You can add tools insurance as additional cover to a business insurance policy.

  • Business content insurance

    Business contents insurance can help protect your equipment that is stored in any company premises in the event of loss, damage, or theft

How to get your tailored public liability insurance quotes

Comparing public liability insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket is a quick and simple way to find an affordable deal on cover. Here's how to get your quotes:

  • Tell us about your business

    Let us know about your business and who you employ, and we'll find deals tailored to your requirements

  • Check your requirements

    Check the policy offer meets the demands and needs of your business and read the policy documents

  • Choose the one you like

    Once you've found the right deal for you, just click through to the provider to finalise your purchase

Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement but you may still need it. If you are in contact with the public as part of your business or occupation, regardless of whether you're self-employed or a sole trader, you may be held liable for any mistakes you make while working.

Public liability insurance may be more valuable to a self-employed business owner because they would shoulder the whole burden of fighting liability claims. Public liability insurance policies may also be less expensive for self-employed workers compared to businesses with multiple employees because your turnover rate is likely to be lower.

You will need to provide some information about yourself, the nature of your business, and your cover needs.

You will need to call your insurance provider and have your policy details, contact insurance, and all your company details with you. You will also need the details of the person who is claiming against you with details about the incident. You will need to give as much information as you possibly can about the incident including pictures, time and place, dates, and any estimates you may have.

Your policy will usually last 12 months after which you will have the option to renew your policy online.

It can be tempting to choose the cheapest insurance just so you know you have some form of cover in place, but cheaper can often mean less comprehensive. This can mean when you do need your insurance to help you in a certain situation, you may not even be covered for it.

Always read your policy exclusions before buying your policy to make sure you are aware of what your insurance policy will not cover.

Public liability insurance will protect you when a member of the public is impacted by your business in any way and a claim is made against you, while product liability reacts to an issue caused by any of any products you have supplied, sold, or manufactured.

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