What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance acts to protect businesses from claims made against them by clients or members of the public. Should your business activities result in an accidental injury or property damage, the right level of liability insurance could prove essential.

Public liability insurance is available to businesses and self-employed professionals to protect against the cost of claims from third parties, such as compensation payouts and legal costs. Even if you know that your business is not responsible, legal defence may be costly and the financial recovery hard. Don’t wait for that day, get a liability quote for immediate coverage against the risks you face.

If you want to expand your understanding of public liability cover, visit our insurance FAQ resources which will explain the important details of this cover.

What is Public Liability Insurance

How much public liability insurance do I need?


How does Hiscox liability insurance compare to other policies?

When your comparing public liability insurance quotes and claim services, make sure you know exactly what to look out for. Not all insurance comparisons highlight the policy information which is most crucial to you, so it's important that the research you conduct before applying for a quote is comprehensive. Visit our guide on how to compare insurance for more information.

When you take out a policy with us, you'll receive:

    • Public Liability from £55 a year: based on policies from at least 10% of our customers

    • Up to £10 million of cover – gain peace of mind that your business is covered for compensation payable and the costs of defending a claim up to the level of cover you select.

    • Injury and property damage – your business is comprehensively protected against accidents (including deaths) amonst third parties or members of the public.

    • Criminal defence costs up to £100,000 – get cover for your legal fees if your business finds itself the subject of a criminal claim for breach of a regulation or statute.

    Comprehensive Liability Cover

    Hiscox provide a public liability insurance quote to small businesses looking for a standalone policy or, if you're after comprehensive commercial protection, it can be purchased together with our range of business insurance products, such as Hiscox Employers’ Liability Insurance. If you're looking for more information on the types of liability cover appropriate for your business, you might want to read our guide on the difference between employers' and public liability insurance.

    Tailored liability policies are also available to professionals working for themselves, visit our self-employed liability insurance page to find out more

    Product & Public Liability Insurance

    Product liability insurance is included as part of our business liability package. This cover will protect your business in the event of that any products or services, processes or systems, that you have provided fail. This policy ensures that claims arising from defective goods are covered, as well as legal fees and defence costs.

    See more on our product liability insurance

    Call on 0800 2800 351 Mon - Fri, 8am to 7pm, Sat, 9am to 2pm excluding bank holidays.

    Get a public liability insurance quote online

    • Award-winning claims service
    • Immediate coverage and documentation
    • No admin fees if you amend your policy

    Need more help? Speak to our UK-based experts. Call us on 0800 2800 351

    How can PL cover proect your business?

    Who needs public liability insurance?

    No company operates without the risk of accident. If your services involve contact with customers, contractors, or members of the public, then you are exposed to a number of business liability risks. It’s important that, should the worst happen, you're in a position to deal with these public liability claims and not let day-to-day operations suffer.

    Business owners striving to work with utmost precision still cannot foresee all the trips and slips that could occur as a result of your work, forming the basis of a claim. It only takes one court case to disrupt your business and your financial position.

    Some of our industry tailored policies include cover for

    Why is it a good idea to make sure I’m covered?

    Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, but it proves invaluable in the face of costly claims. For small and large businesses alike, any service you provide or product you produce could trigger a public liability claim against your business. The presence of easy access to ‘no win no fee’ legal services, which help individuals claim compensation, may increase the likelihood of a business experiencing a public liability claim.

    As well as acting as a way to protect you from past mistakes, public liability also opens up opportunities for your business in the future. Some organisations, such as event organisers or trading authorities, require businesses to have a certain level of public liability insurance in place.

    If you want to see real life examples of liability insurance protecting business owners, read our public liability Claims Stories. These examples may help you get a better idea of the level of cover appropriate for your business.

    Will I recieve a Public Liability Insurance Certificate?

    If you wish to display your public liability insurance certificate, you can do so with a hard copy provided by us or by displaying a digital copy on your website. As liability insurance is not required by law, it’s also not compulsory for you to publicly display your certificate. 

    Your policy information

    When you apply for a quote for public liability cover from us, we want you to understand the risks you will be protected against. There are a number of key benefits for UK businseses, though the specifics of your policy may vary according to the size and nature of your business,  your turnover and where you are based.
    The risks you are protected against include:

    • Injury to the public - If a client trips over a computer cable whilst attending a meeting at your office and is injured.
    • Property damage - In the event that an employee knocks a cup of coffee over a client’s laptop and it has to be replaced.
    • Legal costs - Fees and expenses up to £100,000 for defending yourself against a prosecution for breach of a regulation or statute.
    • Less common covers Hiscox offer include trespass, interferance, false arrest and wrongful conviction

      We will also pay compensation should you, your directors or employees have to attend court as a witness as required by our solicitor.

    Hiscox include product liability insurance within our public liability cover. Should you discover that defective products have been released and caused harm or damage to the public, our liability policy will help protect your business.

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    If you haven't found the information you need, see if we've caught your query in our FAQ section below, or visit our PL insurance FAQ hub to find answers to questions on policies, quotes, and payments.

    Public liability insurance covers you if a client or member of the public claims you have caused them to be injured or have damaged their property. Having a business liability policy means having cover for the costs of defending and settling any claims which are made against you.

    If a customer trips on your carpet and hurts themselves while visiting your office, or you accidentally break a computer at a client’s premises, you won’t be knocked back by an unexpected financial hit. This cover can also protect your business during any public events or activities organised by your company.

    Find out more in our Public Liability FAQ guides and get clued up on the cover you need.

    If you interact with customers, contractors or members of the public as part of your business, you should be investing in public liability insurance. It’s often a requirement from clients and trading authorities and is therefore one of the most common types of business insurance.

    Even if you work from home, there’s still a risk a third party could make a claim against you for damage caused by your business-related activities, and it’s unlikely to be covered by your home insurance. Self-employed professionals and home businesses still need public liability to cover these potential costs.

    It’s not a legal requirement, but most businesses that have some level of public interaction will take out public liability insurance. Hiscox have the expertise and reosources to help you understand your business needs, including whether or not you need public liability cover. Visit our product information page for more: Hiscox Public Liability Insurance.

    Some home insurers may not cover items used for business purposes and may not, therefore, cover you if someone visits your house for business purposes and sustains an injury. To make sure your home business is covered appropriately, you may want to take out dedicated policy.

    Due to the diverse nature of business, there’s no set answer to the question, ‘How much does public liability insurance cost per year?’. Public liability insurance quotes from Hiscox start from just £55 a year for some businesses.

    Getting a quote can be quick and easy, and will give you a price that is tailored specifically to you and your business. Contributing factors to the amount you pay for your policy will include the level of cover you choose and the kind of activities your company undertakes. Choose a stand alone product or get covered as part of a comprehensive business insurance package

    Read more on the key factors that inform the cost of cover in our public liability cost guide.

    Examples of public liability claims Hiscox have encountered have include: Our customer was a cleaning company that provided an oven cleaning service to a customer. The customer's client complained that the cleaning service led to a fault with the oven and sought the cost of a repair. Hiscox assisted the cleaning service to draft a letter denying liability for the fault and instead offer a small goodwill gesture. The issue was therefore quickly resolved, and our customer could continue to service clients without having to worry about defending a claim. If you want to know more about common claim scenarios, you can read the real-life claims stories which Hiscox have compiled. We’ve helped thousands of UK business defend liability claims.

    More claim examples are available in our Claims Stories hub, real instances of businesses defending liability claims with Hiscox.

    Personal Liability insurance is similar to Public Liability Insurance in that it protects you if someone is injured or someone’s property is damaged. Personal liability is often included within your home insurance, and protects you personally. Most personal liability insurance will exclude claims related to the running of a business. If you want to be covered for commercial activity, you may want to consider Public Liability Insurance.

    We’ve put together a guide to help identify the difference between public liability insurance and personal liability.

    No, if you have employees you are legally required to have Employers’ Liability Insurance in place. This cover protects your business against a claim being made by someone inside your company. If an employee claims they have suffered from an injury or illness as a result of their work, you would be covered.

    Hiscox offer Employers’ Liability Insurance, you can read more about this offering on our site.

    Get a quote for your business in minutes

    • Award-winning claims service
    • Immediate coverage and documentation
    • No admin fees if you amend your policy

    Need more help? Speak to our UK-based experts. Call us on 0800 2800 351

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    About Hiscox UK

    Hiscox UK have over 100 years’ experience in providing liability insurance, protecting businesses of all sizes. We’ve had time to fine tune our claims and customer services, plus create business insurance policies which are in-line with the risks our clients face.

    Our 4.7/5 star customer service rating (external link) and Gold Service award from Feefo reflect this dedication. Hiscox also won the Response to a Major Claim award at the Commercial Insurance Awards, which showcases excellence within the business insurance industry.