What is public liability insurance?

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Public liability insurance covers the cost of claims made against your business by a client or a member of the public, should your work have resulted in injury or property damage. Public liability cover protects against the compensation payouts and legal costs.

Incidents which could lead to a public liability claim against your business include anything from clients slipping on a wet floor in your office premises, to a member of the public injuring themselves on a piece of your work equipment. It also covers you if you cause damage to property belonging to a third party. For example, if a member of the public were to claim you’d broken their laptop whilst visiting them on business, you’d be covered for the cost of compensation owed to them, up to the limit of your policy.

In addition to protecting your business from past mistakes, public liability also has potential to benefit the future of your business, opening it up to new opportunities where an organisation or trading authority may require a certain level of public insurance in place.

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Guide to Public Liability Insurance

Help to understand the different types of insurance cover available to your business

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Do I need public liability insurance?

If members of the public interact with your business in any way, from clients visiting your premises and employees working off-site to customers receiving deliveries from the company, public liability insurance will offer invaluable protection from the risks associated with this. While it’s not a legal requirement to hold this type of cover, your business could face costly compensation payments if you were to get sued by a member of the public for injury, illness or damage to property.

Read more on whether your business needs public liability insurance


How much does public liability insurance cost?

The cost of public liability insurance can vary due to the diverse nature of business, depending on factors such as the size of the business, the level of interaction with the public, your claims history and the level or risk associated with the industry. Quotes from Hiscox start from just £55 a year (based on policies from at least 10% of our customers). Some of our policies provide up to £10 million of cover.

Read more on the cost of public liability insurance for your business


Is public liability insurance a legal requirement?

In the UK, public liability insurance is not a legal requirement for businesses and choosing not to purchase this nature of cover will not land you with a jail sentence or a hefty fine. But having the right insurance can make your business look more professional and offer you peace of mind.

You don’t want to get into a spat with one of your best clients over the consequences of an accident or damage to one of their properties, or with a disgruntled customer who slipped on wet floor in your premises. Getting a public liability policy means you can let your insurer deal with any problems, while you get on with running your business.

This could include customers or clients visiting your premises, employees visiting customer or client sites or businesses that involve working in public spaces, such as builders and maintenance workers.

In certain circumstances, a client, industry regulator or membership body may require to hold a certain level of public liability cover as part of your business insurance protection, for example the public sector.  


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