What should I know about my business insurance certificate?

2 min read | Published 14/06/2024

Find out what a business insurance certificate is, what it contains, and what you need to stay on the right side of the law.

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Understanding your business insurance certificate
In the UK, businesses must display their employers' liability insurance certificates at all times.

If you check your business insurance paperwork, you may come across something known as a business insurance certificate. But what is it? And what do you need to do with it? This article reveals everything you need to know about this unassuming document.

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What is a business insurance certificate?

When you take out business insurance, such as employers' liability insurance, you're provided with a business insurance certificate. 

You’ll get a certificate for other types of business insurance too, such as public liability insurance. But employer’s liability insurance is unique in that it’s the only cover businesses are legally required to have. 

It’s also the only type that has specific regulations governing how the accompanying certificate is displayed.

Sometimes also known as an EL certificate, an employers’ liability insurance certificate shows that you have the legal cover you require to employ people.

It should arrive at the same time as all your other policy documents.

Read more: 

Compare business insurance

What does a business insurance certificate include?

  • The certificate should have the name of the company that is covered by the policy. This could be more than one company if they are part of a group.

  • It must also show the name of the insurer (you must check the provider is authorised by the FCA before you buy your policy). 

  • Your certificate must show the level of cover you have bought. In the UK, this must be at least £5million to comply legally, but plenty of insurers offer £10million or more.

Read more: How much business insurance cover do I need?

Do I need to display my business insurance certificate?

Yes. In the UK, businesses must display their employers' liability insurance certificates at all times. In fact, the government says you can be fined £1,000 if you do not display the certificate, or show it to inspectors when they ask.

Before 2008, you needed to post a hard copy somewhere prominent in the workplace, but now you can share the certificate digitally. If you do choose to use a physical copy, it needs to be accessible to anyone who works for the business. 

You can post a digital copy on your intranet or place it on a shared drive. Just make sure that everyone knows where to find it, for instance by signposting it in your company handbook.

Remember, you need to replace the certificate every time you update or renew your policy.

Read more: When do I need to show my business insurance certificate?

How long do I need to keep my employers’ liability certificates?

There is no legal requirement to keep certificates for expired policies. However, it can be useful to keep digital or physical versions. This is because an employee or ex-employee can make a claim years after an incident. If this happens, you need to be able to prove that you were insured at the time of the incident. An employers' liability certificate dating to that time can do this.

What other certificates do I need to display in my business?

Health and safety poster

If you employ people, you need to ensure all your workers can see something known as the health and safety law poster. This details all the British health and safety laws, including the responsibilities of employers and workers responsibilities. It also explains what happens if there’s a problem. Some companies add details of health and safety representatives operating within the business.

You can make sure everyone has access to the health and safety law poster by displaying it in a prominent position where everyone can see it. Alternatively, you can give individual employees the equivalent leaflet.

Read more: Getting health and safety right for your business

Public liability insurance certificate

If you’re a public-facing company, you might also have public liability insurance.

This isn’t generally a legal requirement, but you might find that some individuals or companies won’t do business with you unless you hold it.

If you do have this cover, you might choose to display the certificate alongside the one for your employee liability insurance.

Find out more about public liability insurance and whether you need it

About Alex Ryde

Alex joined in 2019, bringing his expertise to a range of roles working in both the Analytics and Commercial teams. More recently he has stepped across to focus on Product, where he’s been focusing on scaling up the teams’ SME offering.

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