Public liability insurance covers you in the event that you are sued for damages arising out of bodily injury or property damage by a member of the public (including a client) in the course of your work.
The insurance will cover you for the legal costs incurred in defending the claim and the costs you may need to pay as compensation to the person making a claim.
Why do I need it?
As a self-employed professional, you undoubtedly have customers or clients of some variety. If one of these were to, for example, visit your office for a meeting, and trip over on a loose piece of carpet, they may claim that the injury sustained had left them unable to work. That client could sue you for compensation as you have a duty to ensure the environment in which you work poses no harm to members of the public.
Even if you do not have clients visiting you, you may go to see clients at their workplace. If you caused an accident in a client's office, such as spilling a cup of coffee over a computer, or leaving laptop cables across a pathway causing someone to trip, you could be liable for any damage or injury caused.
Public liability insurance is not mandatory by law but is often a contractual requirement as your client may want to ensure you have adequate protection in the event of an accident.
Public liability insurance will help cover you for the legal costs in the event that you are sued. It will also protect you if an employee, or contractor working for your business, accidentally injures a member of the public or causes damage to property belonging to a client.
Reasons for having public liability insurance as a self-employed person include:
- A claim could be made against you even if you don’t have people visiting you on your work premises. For example, if you were to accidentally damage a client’s property in their office or even their home.
- Because of the ‘no win, no fee’ culture we now live in, it has never been easier for people to bring claims for compensation against businesses. This essentially means that people may be more likely to take a stab at making a claim for compensation even if their chances are slim, because the cost to them will be minimal.
- Many companies and organisations will also insist on their suppliers having public liability cover in place.
- It’s not just your actions – anyone you employ could be the cause of a public liability claim being brought against your business.