Public Liability Certificate: What you need to know

Authored by Hiscox Experts.
4 min read
woman with red file and paper
Designed to protect your business from the risks associated with working with the public, public liability insurance can cover your business financially if something were to go wrong. A public liability certificate can provide proof of cover and present all the crucial information regarding your open policy.

What is a public liability insurance certificate?

The best way to provide evidence of liability insurance is to have a public liability insurance certificate. The purpose of this legal document is to outline the key details of your public liability insurance policy and prove your business has the right cover.

Public liability policies can be hugely varied, much more so than policies which are required by law and which must meet set legal criteria. Public liability insurance certificates are, therefore, much more comprehensive than others, such as employers’ liability certificates and motor insurance certificates – which list only the basic details.

The insured business, the insurance company, the policy number, and the period of insurance will feature on the certificate as standard. Other important details to display on a public liability insurance certificate includes more comprehensive information on the policy, such as:

  • The indemnity limit (the most an insurer will pay in the event of a claim)
  • A description of the business and its activities (only these listed activities will be covered)
  • Major cover exclusions (e.g. whether you’re covered solely in the UK or overseas)

Displaying your public liability insurance certificate

As public liability insurance is not required by law, it’s also not compulsory for you to publicly display your PLI certificate. Doing so can reassure your customers, however, as by knowing that you are insured, they can have peace of mind that any potential accidents will be handled appropriately. Demonstrating that you have public liability cover can also help to win new clients and customers.

If you wish to display your public liability insurance certificate, you can do so with a hard copy provided by your insurer or a digital copy that can be showcased on your website. As the Hiscox PLI policy also includes product liability, details of this cover can be included on your certificate. Display your copy alongside your employers’ liability certificate and any other important legal documents relating to your business.

What is public liability insurance?

If your work involves regular contact with clients or other members of the public, public liability insurance is a term that should be in your vocabulary.

If you’re unsure about what public liability insurance is, it is a form of business insurance, designed to protect your business financially in the event a member of the public is injured, or their property is damaged, as a direct result of your business activities. Examples of this kind of claim include a customer slipping and hurting themselves on your premises, or a spilt drink breaking a client’s laptop during a meeting. While these are honest accidents, the individual is entitled to hold your business liable for the costs associated with the accident.

PL insurance can cover the cost of compensation payments or legal fees that come from a claim of this nature. This can include the cost of medical treatment, loss of earnings, and repairs. This form of cover is optional, however, facing a lawsuit without cover in place can be financially disastrous for a small business and no company runs without its risks. Further to standard public liability cover, product liability insurance offers protection against claims of injury or illness caused specifically by a product produced or supplied by your business.

Though not a legal requirement in the UK, in some circumstances you may be asked to hold PL insurance as a condition of a contract or to meet requirements set by a professional body or trade association. In this case, having a public liability insurance certificate available will keep the process quick and effective.

You and your employees are not covered by public liability insurance; however, employers’ liability insurance will protect those employed by your business. This form of insurance is a legal requirement for businesses that employ one or more people in the UK.

Public liability is something that is worth considering if you have regular contact with the public, no matter what industry you work in. Accidents happen and having the appropriate cover in place can save your business from costly consequences. Start planning protection for your own business with an online quote from Hiscox UK to get things started. Or, if you’d like to continue researching your policy options, check out our public liability insurance FAQs. You’ll find answers to queries such as how the cost of public liability cover is calculated and what level your business requires.

At Hiscox, we want to help your small business thrive. Our blog has many articles you may find relevant and useful as your business grows. But these articles aren’t professional advice. So, to find out more on a subject we cover here, please seek professional assistance.

Hiscox Experts

The Hiscox Experts are leaders valued for their experience within the insurance industry. Their specialisms include areas such as professional indemnity and public liability, across industries including media, technology, and broader professional services. All content authored by the Hiscox Experts is in line with our editorial guidelines.