Do I need public liability insurance?

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While it’s not a legal requirement to hold this type of cover, if your business premises are visited by clients, or if your employees regularly work off-site, public liability insurance is an important consideration.

This cover could be seen as essential if you have a beauty salon, a restaurant or a shop and regularly have customers visiting the premises; if you’re a tradesman carrying out work in people’s homes or client sites; or if you conduct your work in public, for example you’re a builder, and there’s risk of injuring a passer-by.

If you are self-employed, you might assume you don’t need a policy, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Attending industry events on behalf of the business exposes you to risks associated with working with the public. For example, if you decide to take a marketing stand at your industry’s big trade show to get some publicity for your firm and during the show one of the boards falls off and injures a passer-by – an embarrassing episode could turn into a costly one if that person decides to sue.Also, if you visit clients’ premises or have access to their equipment then it’s worth considering buying public liability cover, because if you inadvertently damage their property you may have to pay the cost of repairing or replacing it. It could be something as simple as knocking your cappuccino over your client’s new MacBook or one of your employees tripping over in a client’s server room and bringing a stack of expensive computer equipment down as he falls – a hefty bill to foot without cover.

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

If you work from home and your business requires for you to have visitors in your home-workplace, or for you to visit other people on their premises, you may want to consider public liability insurance.

Although not legally required, it would cover you if somebody were to have an accident on your property, or if you were to cause accidental damage to somebody else’s property.


Do I need public liability insurance for my Christmas party?

The office Christmas party is a chance to celebrate a year’s work well done and enjoy an evening of festive frivolity with colleagues, and while we wouldn’t want to clamp down on Christmas cheer, it is worth considering potentials risks.

The National Health Service revealed that more than 80,000 people require hospital treatment every year specifically for falls, cuts and burns over the Christmas period. A lot of these injuries can be avoided by checking for the common hazards of party venues.

While your own public liability insurance will cover a party on work premises, if you’re planning an event outside your office, you’ll need to get hold of the venue’s public liability insurance certificate before you arrange anything else and take a close look at the date it expires. If it’s no longer valid at the time of your event then you won’t be insured.


Do I need public liability insurance for a charity event?

As mentioned above, every event that involves members of the public comes with potential risks, even a small charity event held in a hall or marquee.

While public liability insurance can seem like a significant cost to foot for a charity, it could save the charity thousands of pounds in compensation payments and legal fees if a claim were to be made following an event. In addition to trips and falls, public liability insurance can also cover for damage to the venue and third-party property.


When to review your public liability insurance

As your business grows and circumstances change, it is important that you review your levels of public liability insurance to make sure you’re covered should the worst happen.

A few reasons you may want to review your current cover are if you take your business on the road for exhibitions, conferences or seminars; you take on staff; you move into new premises with a higher chance of visitors; your clients ask for it as a condition of working with them; or you start working with larger clients.

Hiscox offer a standalone policy or you can opt for a cover as part of a business insurance package.

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