Understanding 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 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, 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 immediate cover against the liability risks you face.

Hiscox can provide small businesses with public liability insurance as a standalone policy or it can be purchased together with our range of business products such as Hiscox Employers’ Liability Insurance for more comprehensive cover.
Tailored liability policies are also available to professionals working for themselves, visit our self-employed liability insurance page to find out more


What cover does Hiscox provide?

  • 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 involving clients 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.


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

Get a public liability insurance quote online

  • 0% interest on Direct Debits
  • 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

Who needs public liability insurance?

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

Business owners striving to work with utmost precision are still vulnerable to claims. No matter how much care we take, we 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.

For the self-employed too, public liability insurance can offer essential financial protection. For example, if you’re a freelance photographer and a client claims that you dropped your camera on their car, damaging the paintwork, public liability insurance would cover the compensation owed to them by you.

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, it’s hard to keep track of all the ways your business is exposed to risk. Any service you provide or product you produce could trigger a public liability claim against your business if they injure a client or member of the public. 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.


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How much is public liability insurance?

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.

Your policy

We want you to understand the public liability cover we offer.


If you haven't found the information you need, see if we've caught your query in our FAQ section below, or visit our business 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 damaged their property.

It covers the cost of defending and settling any claims which are made against you. It can cover you if someone visits your office and trips on your carpet hurting themselves, or if you visit a client’s office and accidentally break a computer.

Public liability insurance is one of the most common types of insurance and is also the most common requirement from clients and those you have to deal with. The cost of dealing with a personal injury claim being made against you can be very high, and public liability can cover these costs for you.

Even if you work from home, there is still a risk a client or member of the public could make a claim against you for damage caused by your business-related activities.

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 you are covered appropriately, you may want to take out dedicated public liability.

Read our guide to public liability insurance for home businesses to find out more about what types of cover you may need.

Every business is unique and faces different risks. That’s why we tailor all our policies to your business. Hiscox public liability insurance quotes start from £55 a year, though the cost of public liability insurance will depend on the type of work you do and the size of your business.

Get your public liability quote online in minutes. 

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 haved 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.

Our customer was an estate and lettings agent who received a claim due to a potential tenant slipping on rubbish outside of a property they were viewing. 
Hiscox resolved the claim quickly and support our customer with the review of their health & safety policies and procedures in order to reduce the risk of future claims. 

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.

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Public Liability Guides, Articles & Answers

About Us

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

Our 4.7/5 star customer service rating and Gold Service award from Feefo reflect this dedication. In March 2018, Hiscox also won the Response to a Major Claim award at the Commercial Insurance Awards, which showcases excellence within the business insurance industry.

Today, we provide commercial cover for over 300,000 businesses like yours in the UK. Find out more About Us, our claims promise, and what we can do for your business.