Best for Business: Essential insurance for retailers and landlords

So far, our Best for Business series has looked at the types of insurance you'll need if you work from home or run a small business, as well as the cover you'll need if you're a tradesman.


There are, of course, plenty of businesses out there that don't fall into these categories. So in this article we're going to examine the types of cover you’ll need if you own a shop, run a pub or café, or sell on a market.

You can compare the types of cover mentioned below through MoneySupermarket  to ensure you get the best price possible.

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, but without it, your business could find itself in financial difficulty.

This type of cover will pay out should a member of the public claim for compensation after being injured or suffering damage to their property as a result of your negligence - for example, if you are a market trader and your stall collapses, causing injury to a passer-by.

While it's important for all businesses to have this type of cover, it's particularly important for pub landlords as, unsurprisingly, the likelihood of someone injuring themselves increases when alcohol is consumed. In fact, public liability is the most common claim that pubs have to pay out for. And the costs of these claims can run into thousands and sometimes millions of pounds.

Employer's liability insurance

If you have employees, employer's liability insurance is a legal requirement. If you are a market trader, this is likely to include the person who carries items to and from your stall.

This type of cover will cover you for any compensation you have to pay out if one of your employees has an accident while they are at work or suffers from a work-related illness.

Contents and stock insurance

As well as protecting your employees, you will also need to protect your contents and stock in case they are damaged or destroyed by a fire or flood, or get stolen.

Carefully tot-up how much your stock is worth, not forgetting to take into account the value of any high-risk stock such as cigarettes and alcohol. This is important because, if you under-insure, your insurance provider is unlikely to pay out the full amount in the event of a claim.

Find out too whether your policy will allow for a seasonal increase in stock. In other words, at busy times of the year, such as in summer or in December, will your insurer automatically boost the total value of your stock by a fixed percentage?

Buildings cover

If you own the building where your business is located, you'll need to have business buildings insurance. This will protect your business premises against risks such as flooding or fire. Make sure the building is insured for the re-build value rather than the market value (which may be more or less, depending on property prices in your area), and check that fixtures and fittings, such as carpets and sales counters, are included in the sum insured.

Bear in mind, if you rent the building, your landlord should have already taken out a buildings insurance policy, but check to be sure.

You may also choose to add business interruption or loss of income insurance to your policy. This will cover you for any money lost if you could no longer trade because your premises or stock had been destroyed.

Market traders will need to take out insurance to cover for damage to goods or the stall itself. It's harder to get cover against theft unless the items are locked away.

Product liability

Not all businesses will require this, but if, for example, you sell home-made food in your café, it's crucial to have product liability cover. That's because it will cover you in the event a customer buying that food becomes ill and seeks compensation from you.

Even if you haven't made the product, you could still be liable for it if you have sold it, particularly if your business name is on the product or you have changed it in any way. However, in some cases, the manufacturer will be responsible – check with your insurer to be sure.

If you sell food and drink on a market stall, you'll need to register with your local authority, which will carry out an inspection. You’ll be told if you need to have a certificate or licence.

Loss of licence insurance

If you sell alcohol, it's important to have loss of licence cover. This offers protection should you lose your licence to sell alcohol because of licensing regulations or because the licensing authority refuses to renew your licence for reasons beyond your control.

However, it wouldn't cover you if, for example, your pub staff were caught serving underage drinkers and you lost your licence as a result.

Goods in transit insurance

This type of insurance provides cover for your business transport and items you take from one place to another. It will pay out if your goods are damaged in an accident or stolen.

Always check exactly what you will be covered for, particularly if you leave items in the vehicle overnight. You might have to pay extra for this level of protection.

Money cover

Running a pub or owning a shop or café will mean you'll handle (hopefully!) large sums of cash every day. Taking out this type of insurance will cover you if the money is lost or stolen when you're transporting it to a bank or storing it in a safe.

If there is an ATM on your premises, make sure the insurer will provide you with cover for the maximum amount of cash that will be stored in it at any one time.

Shop front cover

This will cover the cost of repairing any damage to the front of your business premises, including windows, signage and awnings.

Compare to get the best price

Whether you are a shop owner, or run a pub, café or market stall, there's a lot to consider when it comes to taking out insurance. But, as with any insurance, it's important to make sure you get the right level of cover to suit your business' needs - and at the best price.

This is easy to do via MoneySupermarket's comparison service. In partnership with Simply Business, we can help you to compare a wide range of insurance quotes to make sure you get the best price possible for the cover you require. Don't forget to do this every time your insurance is up for renewal so that you never pay over the odds for your cover.

Take a look at our business pages for more top tips.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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