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Public Liability Insurance

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What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance is a type of business insurance that provides financial protection to business owners facing legal action due to injuries, deaths, or property damage caused by their business activities. This coverage is crucial for managing the costs associated with legal fees and potential compensation payments.

Businesses of all sizes and types, including self-employed individuals, freelancers, and sole traders, can benefit from public liability insurance. Certain organisations mandate that their contractors have this insurance in place before awarding contracts.

While public liability insurance is not legally required, unlike employer’s liability insurance, it is often deemed essential by many businesses for its role in safeguarding against unforeseen liabilities.

Business Insurance

Employers' Liability Insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Commercial Building Insurance

Self-Employed Insurance

What does public liability cover?

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    What’s covered?

    • 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

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    What's NOT covered?

    • 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 commercial buildings 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

How much is public liability insurance?

You can get public liability through MoneySuperMarket starting at £10.831 per month. 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

  • Excess: The higher the amount of excess you choose, the lower your premiums are likely to be

image of a tradesman

1 51% of customers paid up to £10.83 a month direct debit for a standard public liability insurance policy. MoneySuperMarket data collected between October 2023 and December 2023

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

Who is public liability insurance for?

In the construction industry there is high risk of injury or property damage even when every precaution is taken. If a member of the public is injured by equipment that's been left out or if someone's property is damaged by debris, public liability insurance can help your business cover associated legal fees and may even cover compensation payments.

Interacting with the public is an essential aspect of the retail and food industries. This means that there is a high risk of a member of the public being involved in an accident related to your business. Public liability insurance can provide you with financial support in situations such as a customer tripping over a loose wire or having their clothes stained by spilled food.

These types of businesses may not interact with the wider public regularly but they can still be vulnerable to liability claims. Something as minor as a wet patch on the floor can cause serious to injury to someone and result in serious legal costs. That's why providers of professional services should also strongly consider taking out public liability insurance.

These types of businesses might also benefit from professional indemnity insurance, which will cover them if negligence causes financial loss for a client.

How does it 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 other types of business insurance should I consider?

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    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

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    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

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    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 

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    Business interruption

    Have part of your income supplemented if your business is interrupted by an insurable event, such as a fire

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    Tools cover

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

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    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

Why compare business insurance with MoneySuperMarket

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    Save money

    Easily compare quotes from leading insurance providers and find the most affordable public liability insurance to suit your business’s needs

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    Save time

    We present your tailored quotes in one place, saving you the time and effort of individually researching and contacting different insurance providers

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    We provide a clear and convenient way to explore public liability insurance policies, helping you to make informed decisions on the best policy for you

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Ready to compare? Here's what to do next

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

Personal liability insurance financially protects you and your family if you are responsible for any damage or injuries to others and someone makes a claim against you. For example, if you accidentally damage your neighbour's property.

Personal liability cover cannot be used for commercial or business purposes. If you are looking for liability protection for your business, you will need public liability insurance.

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.

Public liability insurance isn't a legal requirement for weddings, but it exists to protect whoever has organised the wedding (whether that is the bride and groom, wedding planner, or venue) against any cost of damage that might occur to the venue, or an accident that involves the bride or groom or any of your guests that you may end up being liable for.

Most wedding insurance policies include public liability cover, in addition to cover for cancelling or rearranging your wedding, photos, wedding rings, and more.

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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