Compensation payouts you could be ordered to pay if your business is found to have hurt a member of the public or damaged their property.
Legal expenses your business may run up defending a claim for compensation. This could run into the hundreds of thousands for serious cases.
Replacement or repair of items your business is found to have damaged. You'll usually be given a set amount you can claim for.
Medical fees that your business could be found liable for. Even if the treatment was provided by the NHS, you could still be ordered to pay.
What is public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance is designed to cover your business if it’s sued by a member of the public.
This could be for injuries or illnesses it causes them, or damage it inflicts on their property.
It's designed to cover the cost of any compensation payouts you’re ordered to pay, as well as any legal fees you end up owing.
It’s for any business who interacts with the public.
And ‘the public’ doesn’t just mean passers by. It includes:
- Anyone who isn’t an employee
What our business insurance expert says
Do I have to have public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement. But you may still need it in order to operate.
Some trade bodies and industry regulators insist their members have it in place. If yours does, you'll need cover in order to trade.
Trade bodies that insist on it include, among others:
There are other scenarios in which you may need cover too. If you work on a contract basis, your contracts might insist you have it.
If you work for local councils as a contractor, they'll often insist you have it in place too.
As a quick guide, you may need it if:
- Your business works on a contract basis
- You work with the council or another public body
- Your clients want you to have it, as you could lose out if not
Who's Simply Business?
The quotes you'll get from us are provided by Simply Business, one of the UK’s best known business insurance providers.
Having served more than 3 million businesses since 2005, they’ve helped everyone from sole traders to large, multi-site operations find the right cover at the right price.
They’re regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority too, meaning that everything they do is out in the open. Just like every other partner we work with, you can rest assured you’re in safe hands with Simply Business.
Get a quote today and find the cover you need in minutes.
Need more help with public liability insurance?
The amount of cover you need depends on your personal circumstances, and the details of any contracts you’re bound by.
Here at Confused.com, we compare policies from £1m to £10m of cover.
Depending on your business, you may find £1m isn’t quite enough protection.
To get the right amount, think about:
How often you interact with the public or their property, as the more chances for something to go wrong, the more cover it might be useful to have.
How likely you are to cause them or their property harm, as riskier businesses involving things like heavy machinery may do well to have more cover in place than less risky ones.
How many employees you have, as the more people your business employs, the higher the risk of something going wrong. The more employees you have, the more cover you’re likely to need.
While it isn’t a legal requirement to have it in place, public liability insurance can benefit self-employed traders as much as owners of bigger businesses.
If your business harms a member of the public or damages their property, it could be held liable for damages, regardless of its size. Without public liability cover in place, as a self-employed trader, liability for those damages falls on you.
So, while self-employed traders don’t ‘need’ it, the peace of mind in knowing your business is protected can often justify the cost of having public liability insurance in place.