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What is public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance covers your business if a member of the public suffers death or injury or if their property is damaged and your business is at fault. It will help cover compensation costs and legal expenses if a successful claim is made against you.
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.
- 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).
- The cost of hospital treatment (including the cost of calling out an ambulance), if the NHS chooses to claim against you.
- Any other expenses deemed reasonable.
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.
Public liability insurance will not cover:
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.