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Public Liability Insurance

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Compare public liability insurance from 14 leading insurance providers:

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110% of customers paid up to £38.91 a year for public liability insurance policy with Simply Business. Figure based on annual quotes purchased between October 2023 and December 2023.

What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance is a type of business insurance. It provides financial protection to business owners facing legal action from third parties 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.

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.

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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 excess should I pay?

When buying public liability insurance, it's key to know about the 'excess'—this is what you pay out of your pocket before the insurance starts paying the rest of your claim. When you get insurance quotes, you can decide how much your excess will be.

Typically, if you agree to pay more for the excess, your overall insurance cost could be lower. Be careful to choose an excess amount that you're comfortable with; you'll need to pay it if you ever make a claim.

Also, remember that public liability insurance only covers you if you have to pay someone because you're legally responsible for an accident or damage. The insurance pays only if you're found to be legally at fault.

How much is public liability insurance?

According to data from SimplyBusiness, the average cost of public liability insurance paid annually is £94.182.

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

2The average price paid for public liability insurance is £94.18 based on annual quotes purchased through Simply Business between October 2023 and December 2023.

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How much public liability cover will I need?

It's imporant to consider how much risk your business has. If your business is high risk or works a lot with the government, you might need up to £10 million in insurance.

If you run a smaller business that doesn't deal much with the public, you might only need a minimum of £2 million in coverage.

Why might I need public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance isn't a legal requirement, but it's crucial if you're dealing with government or council contracts, as they often require proof of insurance and a certain level of coverage to collaborate with you.

For small businesses, it's also common practice for customers to request proof of public liability insurance. This is especially true for tradespeople like builders who may need to work on a client's property.

Here are some examples of businesses that should consider public liability insurance:

Imagine your cleaning company is working in an office and accidentally damages a visitor's property


It's beneficial to have coverage in case scaffolding collapses and damages property, such as a vehicle


Picture a situation where someone slips and gets injured just before you manage to put up a 'wet floor' sign

Despite adhering to safety regulations to prevent electrical hazards, unforeseen accidents can still occur

A roofer might accidentally drop tools or materials from a height, potentially causing injury to someone below or damaging property

A customer could slip on a wet floor or trip over an obstacle within the retail space, leading to injury

Spillages or broken glass could result in a patron's injury, for which the establishment could be held liable


A client could suffer a reaction to a hair treatment or slip in the salon, prompting a claim against the business

During a photoshoot, equipment might fall and injure someone or damage property

Suppose you're catering a wedding and a guest alleges they got food poisoning from the food you provided


Consider the scenario where a bucket of water falls from a height onto a busy street, ruining a pedestrian's clothing and phone

Carpenters: Envision a client tripping over an unsecured cable during a visit to your workshop

Jake Edmonds

Our expert says

"

Public liability insurance should be a priority for any business that interacts with the public. Accidents can happen, and if they result in injury or more severe consequences to a third party, the compensation claims could be financially devastating. A robust public liability insurance policy is essential to protect against such risks associated with third party legal claims

"
- Jake Edmonds, Insurance Expert

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

Join thousands of satisfied customers who compared insurance with us

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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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