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Public liability insurance



Compare public liability insurance from providers such as:

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*According to Simply Business data, 10% of customers paid up to £59.19 a year for a standard public liability insurance policy when paying annually, between January 2022 and June 2022. Equivalent to £4.93 per month. Paying monthly is usually more expensive as you'll pay interest.

What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance protects you in case a third party brings you to court after an accident – whether there’s been damage to their property, an injury, or death. With public liability, 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’re fully protected on your own premises, or if you’re working in someone else’s home or office.


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, cover should be provided to help with 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

  • 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 own 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

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

How does public liability insurance work?

If you interact with other people in your business, then public liability insurance makes sure you don’t have to deal with extra costs if someone makes a legal claim against you. There’s always a risk, even for the safest business – for instance, a customer could trip and fall in your shop, or you might accidentally damage a client’s computer. With public liability, you’ll be covered for legal expenses in case a third party decides to sue you. Plus, if the court finds against you and you have to pay compensation, your insurance will cover the amount.

When you take out public liability insurance, you can choose how much you want to be covered for. Most insurers start at around £1 million. It’s worth thinking about how risky your business could be. If you work from home you might need less cover – but if your business brings your into contact with lots of people, or if it involves dangerous tools or machinery, you might want to take out more.


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. It’s important to consider the consequences of not having this cover when deciding whether it’s right for you.

What occupations should consider public liability insurance?

What is a public liability excess?

Whenever you make a claim on your public liability cover, your insurer won’t pay out the full amount. There’s a portion you have to pay yourself, which is called an excess – for instance, the first £250 or £500.

You can choose your excess when you take out insurance. It might be temping to go for a lower excess, but remember that the cost of your monthly premiums will usually go down if you agree to a higher excess. Just make sure it’s an amount you’ll be able to pay if you ever have to make a claim.

Sean Thompson

Our expert says


Public liability covers any compensation claims or legal fees if a third party tries to take you or your company to court. With cover tending to start from around £1million, it puts the cost of a competitive monthly premium into context.

- Sean Thompson, Insurance Expert

How to compare public liability insurance quotes

Comparing public liability insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket and our preferred partner SimplyBusiness is the easiest way to find an affordable deal on cover. Here's how it works:

  • 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

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: 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 give advice to 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 

  • Business interruption: With business interruption insurance you’ll be covered for at least part of any lost income as a result of an insured event, such as a fire or flood

  • Business property: Also known as business buildings insurance, this is useful if you conduct your business from one or more premises. You’ll be covered for damage done to the building as a result of an insured event

  • Business motor: If your business uses vehicles then you’ll be legally required to take out business motor insurance to at least a third party only level of cover. This protects you against the cost of damage you cause to another person, their vehicle or their property as a result of your driving

  • Cyber: Cyber insurance is a crucial part of modern day business, as it can cover a wide variety of costs associated with falling victim to a cyber attack 

Depending on the size and nature of your business you could benefit from some or all of the above – just tell us what you need and we’ll find you the best business insurance quotes available.

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 actually 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 business with multiple employees because your turnover rate is likely to be lower.

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