What is public liability insurance?

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Public liability is a type of insurance for businesses of all sizes, across a variety of industries. It covers you if a client or member of the public claims they have been injured, or their property damaged, because of your business activities.

This type of insurance is designed to protect business owners against claims that result in legal proceedings. If a claim does become a legal matter, a policy will cover the cost of these expenses, including any compensation you are required to pay.

Public liability claims can arise from several circumstances, but negligence is the main trigger. A customer might trip on an uneven surface at your premises or a member of the public could injure themselves on a piece of your equipment. It will also cover claims of property damage. For instance, if you accidentally knock over a mug of coffee, damaging a client’s laptop during a meeting, your policy will cover the associated compensation costs.

It’s also important to note that some trading authorities and other organisations might require you to have a certain level of public liability insurance in place. Therefore, a policy doesn’t only protect you from previous mistakes – it can also help you secure new business opportunities.


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Guide to public liability insurance

As a forward-thinking business owner, you’ll want to ensure you’re protected for all eventualities. Watch this video guide to understand how a public liability policy can help.

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What does public liability insurance cover?

Public liability insurance covers claims made against your business by clients, contractors, or members of the public for accidental injury or damage to their property. This could arise from an incident on your business premises or as a direct result of your operations.

In the case your business is found to be responsible, this insurance will cover the associated costs, including compensation payouts and legal fees such as the cost of defending yourself in court.

Public liability cover ensures you’re protected for these instances and offers something different to other insurance types. For instance, professional indemnity covers claims of fault with your work and employers’ liability covers you specifically for claims from employees. Meanwhile, personal accident cover protects the business if you or a key team member suffer from an illness or injury and are unable to work, and office insurance protects the premises you work from.

Having comprehensive cover that encompasses all the policies your business requires provides the reassurance you need to concentrate on the task at hand.

To better understand who needs public liability insurance, what it covers and if your business requires a policy, it can be helpful to read through real-life examples of public liability claims.

How much public liability insurance do I need?

The cost of public liability insurance can vary due to the diverse nature of business and the type of industry your firm operates in. Having a public liability policy isn’t compulsory so how much cover you take out is up to you.

The best way to work out how much cover your business needs is to consider factors such as the possible extent of compensation claims and how much it could cost to repair any damage.

The amount of cover you require will depend on details such as:

  • Size of the business
  • Level of interaction with the public
  • Scale of contracts
  • Your claims history
  • The level of risk associated with the industry

Related guides & FAQs

professional indemnity document

What is the difference between professional indemnity and public liability?

Public liability and professional indemnity both help to protect your business, but the nature of claims differ for each. Discover more about these cover types and the differences between them.

personal liability

What is personal liability insurance?

This insurance can protect you against third party claims, but your personal and professional circumstances determine whether it’s required. Learn more about personal liability cover.

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Do I need public liability?

Public liability insurance might not be legally mandated; however, it could be important – especially if you deal with clients and contractors. Learn if you need public liability cover