Do I need public liability insurance?


Hiscox banner shape mask mobile Hiscox banner shape

Public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but it’s highly recommended if the nature of your business means you regularly interact with the public, clients and contractors.

Accidents happen, even when you’re doing all you can to avoid mishaps. A legal battle could be financially damaging to your business, especially if you wouldn’t have the means to settle a claim without the right insurance in place.

While cover isn’t mandatory, it can provide key assistance. Since public liability cover won’t protect you retrospectively, it is a good idea to purchase insurance before you interact with clients or members of the public.

Here are some examples of scenarios a public liability policy could help with:

An office mishap

When visiting your client for a regular catch-up, your employee leans over to pick up a glass of water and accidentally knocks your client’s tablet off the desk, damaging the screen. Perhaps your client visits your office premises just after the floors have been mopped, but no sign is in place and they lose their footing and injure their hip. Public liability insurance covers you for scenarios both in your place of work, and at your client’s office too.

A falling sign

A team of your employees attend a big trade show to drum up some exposure for your firm. You decide to send them off with your new marketing stand, but during the show one of the boards falls and injures a passer-by. This unfortunate episode could turn into a costly one if that person decides to sue. Attending or hosting industry or charity events exposes you to these types of risks.

In your own home

A client could turn up to a meeting at your property and twist their ankle on the uneven step you’ve been meaning to get fixed. As the driver delivering your marketing flyers drops them off in your hallway, they could trip over the telephone wires and fracture their wrist, leaving them unable to drive or work. Incidents can happen even when you’re a home-based business and public liability cover can help.

Do I need public liability insurance if I work from home?


While it’s not essential or mandated by law, if the nature of your home-based business means you welcome visitors regularly, you might need to consider public liability cover.

A client could trip on a stray wire in your hallway and break their wrist while visiting your office at home. Another instance a public liability policy would be able to help is if you accidentally damaged the property of your client when they were visiting your home office.

In the event a claim is made against your business, public liability insurance will help to protect you by paying out for the associated costs and fees.

Related guides & FAQs


man tripping on cable
What is public liability insurance?

Through your business activities, you could have contact with members of the public – if you do you might need public liability insurance – learn what it is with Hiscox.

employee injury
What is the difference between public liability & employers' liability insurance?

You may need these different policies depending on who is making a claim against your business. Learn the difference between public liability and employers' liability insurance.

signing insurance document
What are the different types of business insurance?

When you’re building a comprehensive package of cover, it’s helpful to understand what the different types of business insurance are. Discover more with our guide.