Public Liability Insurance

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What is public liability insurance?

If you are running a business, public liability insurance protects you if a member of the public suffers an injury or if any of their property is damaged because of your business. It will cover legal costs and any compensation claims if your business is found to be at fault. 

What does public liability insurance cover?

Compensation claims
For injuries to a third party or damage to their property, whether an incident takes place on your business premises, a customer’s premises or elsewhere.

Legal expenses
Should a claim be made against you, cover will be provided to help you cover the cost of any legal proceedings.

Cost of repairs  
The cost of repairing damage (for example, to a client’s carpets if you are a plumber and do something in the course of your work which causes a flood).

Medical fees
The cost of hospital treatment (including the cost of calling out an ambulance), if the NHS chooses to claim against you.

Read our public liability FAQs page for information on what’s not covered. 

What does public liability insurance cover?

Occupations which take out public liability insurance




Do I need public liability insurance?

Unlike employers’ liability insurance, public liability insurance is not a legal requirement. However, it is considered an essential among business owners, and in some professions you may find it impossible to trade without it.

For example, clients may stipulate that you must have a minimum level of public liability insurance in place before you can work for them. If you wish to undertake public sector contract work, you will almost certainly need public liability cover.

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. All in all, you could face a bill for many thousands of pounds - potentially enough to put a small firm out of business.

Compare public liability insurance quotes from UK insurers such as:

  Business Insurance Providers

Business Insurance Guides

Business Insurance Options


Public liability insurance will not cover:

  • Accidents that happen to you.
  • Damage to your own property or accidents that affect your employees or their possessions.
  • Incidents like these should be covered under your general business insurance policy and / or your employers’ liability insurance policy, which is a legal requirement.

What else do I need to know about public liability insurance?

First and foremost, it’s important to note that the complete cost of any claim you need to make under public liability cover is unlikely to be met by your insurer. You are likely to have to pay an excess at a level agreed when you first set up your policy - for example, the first £250 or £500 of any claim.

As a general rule of thumb, if you opt for a higher excess the price of your public liability insurance premium may come down - but it’s important to be sure you could genuinely afford to pay the excess in the event of a crisis.

How can I compare public liability insurance deals?

As with any form of insurance, it’s important to compare a variety of public liability insurance policies from different providers before buying. Check the levels of protection on offer as well as the annual premiums, and consider carefully where you should set your excess.

MoneySuperMarket’s public liability insurance comparison channel will help you gather a selection of quotes within minutes, to help you find the best deal for you.

Do I need public liability insurance?

We’ve teamed up with Simply Business to help you compare a range of quotes from leading insurers. It’s quick and easy to complete a quote and you can buy a policy online in minutes.