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 – 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.
For injuries to a third party or damage to their property, whether that occurs on your property, theirs or anywhere else
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 damage – for example, if you’re a plumber and your work damages a client’s home
If the NHS chooses to make a claim against you, you’re covered for hospital treatment or an ambulance callout
Public liability only protects third parties – so it can’t help if there’s an accident and you’re injured
Similarly, if your own property is damaged, that should be covered by your ordinary business insurance
If you have more than one employee, you’re legally required to get employers’ liability cover to protect them
All insurance policies have an excess – that’s the amount you’ll have to pay yourself towards any claim
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.
Whenever you make a claim on your public liability cover, your insurer won’t pay 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.
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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: Product liability insurance 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 it is considered an essential among business owners, and in some professions you may find it impossible to trade without it.
Some clients may stipulate that you must have a minimum level of public liability insurance in place before you can work for them, and you will almost certainly need public liability cover for public sector work. It’s even possible you could be pursued by the NHS to cover the cost of medical treatment received by the individual who was hurt.
No, there’s no legal requirement to get public liability insurance – unlike employers’ liability cover, which you must have by law if you employ more than one person. However, you should still seriously consider taking out public liability.
If you don’t have public liability insurance and someone sues you, you’ll have to pay all legal fees yourself. If you lose the case, you could also be burdened with the costs of a cash settlement. What’s more, you might even be ordered to pay the legal costs of the person who took you to court. Even if you win the case, the costs can mount up quickly, and legal action could put you out of business. But with public liability, these costs are covered – helping to protect your business for the future.
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