Public liability insurance
For mishaps that happen to others, or their property, in your workplace. Whether you're in the office or out and about. A slip on the floor, a spill on a client's laptop – that sort of thing.
Why buy public liability insurance?
Our public liability insurance (PL) is designed to provide cover for legal and compensation costs relating to claims made against your business due to injury or property damage inflicted on a non-employee.
10% of businesses paid £5 a month or less for their public liability cover between January and March 2023.
- Compensation and legal fees covered
- Option to choose from £1m, £2m or £5m of cover
- Adjust your policy any time, without fees
- Hassle-free claims and UK-based customer support
Be quote confident
We're big on fairness. So if you find a lower price for a comparable quote, we won't just match it – we'll go one better and beat it.
So even better than apples to apples, apples to better apples. We're talking Galas to Braeburns.
As you'd expect, T&Cs apply.
What's included in our public liability cover?
Accidental damage and injury claims
Public liability insurance is designed for claims made by third parties in relation to accidental injury or property damage as a result of your business.
Legal expenses and compensation cover
If a claim is made against you, public liability will cover the legal fees and compensation costs associated with the claim, including court appearances and defence fees.
Multiple cover options
Choose from £1m, £2m or £5m of public liability cover. If you find that you have too little or too much cover for the type of work you do, you can change the level of cover you have through your online account, free of charge.
If an employee was injured as a result of your business or while working for you, this would not be covered by public liability insurance. If you're interested in this protection, check out employers' liability cover.
Recalls and refunds
If a customer or supplier is requesting a recall or refund of products or materials, public liability insurance does not cover the loss to your business.
Defective, harmful or unsuitable goods
This includes materials, work or processes that your business uses as well as activities that you offer or conduct.
Once you've completed a quote, you'll be able to view a summary of cover. Please always refer to your policy documents for full details around exclusions, terms and limits of your customised cover. Read our guide to understanding your policy documents.
We offer cover to over 1,000 industries
While most could benefit from PL insurance, here are few industries where it's the most popular cover, including the percentage of customers who included it in their policy:
- Hairdressers – 99% of customers
- Electricians – 100% of customers
- Videographers – 95% of customers
- Builders – 97% of customers
- Beauty therapists – 99% of customers
To check if we support your trade, simply start your quote.
What is public liability insurance?
Public liability is a common insurance product for businesses, that covers claims of injury and property damage to a third party. A third party can be anyone who doesn't work for your business, such as a customer, a client or a member of the public.
Public liability covers claims relating to your businesses activities and services, including the actions of you and your employees.
Do you need public liability?
Public liability insurance isn't a legal requirement in the UK. However, this doesn't mean businesses don't need it. Without adequate cover, the unexpected legal and compensation costs associated with a claim (e.g. someone suing your business for injury or property damage), could bankrupt a business.
What's more, the people that you do business with may require public liability cover in order to work with you. This can range from trade associations to clients, and even customers.
A public liability claim could happen in almost any situation, even if you work at home or go out occasionally for meetings, so it's worth considering.
To find out more, you can check out our public liability insurance guide.
What our expert says
Laura Thomas, Claims Manager
It is a common misconception that if you’re not selling something, then you won’t be subject to a claim. If your day to day job involves you physically interacting with the public in any way, public liability cover is an important consideration.
Why choose this cover?
There are a few reasons why public liability insurance is a good idea for most businesses:
For protection against compensation culture
The rise of 'no win, no fee' legal services has caused an increase in public liability claims. Whilst it's not a legal requirement in the UK, this cover is particularly important if your business involves interaction with members of the public, suppliers or contractors.
To cover damage at your office
Unlike some policies, our liability insurance covers your liability to your landlord if you accidentally damage the premises you rent or hire (including fixtures and fittings). If you've ever rented a property, you'll know how quickly this can add up by the end of your tenancy, when trying to get back your deposit!
To stay competitive
Companies often insist that suppliers have public liability insurance, so you could be at a competitive disadvantage if you don't. Some industry regulators and membership bodies also insist on public liability - sometimes with specific amounts of cover, so it's worth checking yours.
How much cover do you need?
It's not a clear-cut answer, but this is up to you! Our cover starts from £1 million and goes up to £5 million of public liability cover.
If you're a member of a professional or regulatory body, you may find that a minimum level and type(s) of cover are required. If you're a freelancer or contractor, you may find that clients typically require certain cover(s) and levels of cover before working with you.
It's worth checking your contract to see if there's a minimum level required by your employer. If this isn't specified, you can work how much you need by looking at what risks there are to you, and assessing the extent of the claims if one was made.
Need more information?
Our public liability insurance guides answer the questions you may have about this cover in detail, so you can be confident before you buy.
Public liability claims
Public liability claims are different for every type of business, but here are a few examples of claims where the business could be liable.
A customer in your cafe slips on a wet floor and injures themselves, even though you put a wet floor sign down. You could face legal and compensation costs.
You're laying out a new front path and one of the slabs is slightly uneven so your client trips on it. You can't control acts of clumsiness, but you could face legal action.
One of your employees gestures during a pitch, spilling hot coffee over the client's arm and laptop. You may have to replace the laptop and pay their medical bills.
You’re cleaning a client’s house and you accidentally use the wrong chemicals. It damages their carpet and they want you to cover the costs to replace the whole thing.
How do claims work?
You make a claim
Log in to your online account and go to the ‘Make a claim’ section. There, you can make a claim directly – there's no need to call us.
We'll ask you for some details about your claim, including a crime reference number (if applicable), the date of loss, type of claim and its detailed description.
You can also attach any relevant supporting documentation like proof of loss or proof of purchase.
We'll get on the case
Once submitted, your claim will be assessed.
If the claim is large, we may need more information from you. Or, if it's small, our team may be able to settle it within a couple of days (or hours, in some cases).
Either way, we'll keep you regularly updated and you'll be able to see the status of your claim on our customer portal.
Your claim is settled
After it's been assessed, we'll let you know if your claim has been successful or not.
If items have been lost, stolen or damaged, we might arrange for the items to be replaced or make a payment to you.
Public liability insurance FAQs
Public liability insurance is an important cover for most businesses. We've tried to answer the most common questions surrounding PL below, but if you have any more please don't hesitate to contact our customer success team via the web chat in the below right-hand corner, email or phone on 0333 772 0759+31 10 8080 889.
Public liability covers claims of injury and property damage to a third party. A third party can be anyone who doesn't work for your business, such as customers and clients. Public liability covers claims that are a result of your businesses activities and services, including the actions of you and your employees.
Public liability isn't mandatory by law in the UK. However, the unexpected costs of a claim against your business could be devastating, so it's important to weigh up the relatively small cost of public liability versus the potentially devastating costs associated with a claim.
Purchasing public liability insurance is easy. Simply click 'Start your quote' and work your way through the questions. You'll be asked to disclose your business type, the type of work you do, your turnover and whether you have employees working for you.
Our quote builder will then display the covers that are most applicable to you, including public liability cover.
This process takes only a few minutes and you could be covered with public liability insurance in just 10 minutes.
You may often see public liability insurance and liability insurance used interchangeably. That's because they mean the same thing, but public liability insurance is the term most widely used in the UK, while liability insurance is generally used in the US and occasionally in the UK.
Both terms refer to insurance that protects against claims of accidental injury or property damage to third parties.
Accidents happen. Whether it’s a slip, trip, fall or someone injuring themselves using your equipment – it could lead to a lawsuit. There are many ‘no win, no fee’ services these days, which means you can still face a liability or compensation claim even if it wasn’t your fault. Public liability protects you should a claim be made.
Check your client contracts to see whether they require a minimum level of cover before you choose your plan. When you’ve found an insurer you’re considering signing with, make sure they are aware of the risks that employees face while working with you (heavy lifting, working with chemicals, etc.).
Public liability does not cover employees - it's designed to cover third parties and members of the public. Basically, anyone who isn't an employee. To cover employees, you'll need to have employers' liability insurance, which is a legal requirement in the UK if you have one or more employees.
These two covers are similar in what they cover, but with a few key differences. Liability insurance covers injury and property damage claims made by a member of the public (e.g. anyone from a customer to a complete stranger) as a result of your business.
Employers' liability insurance covers injury claims made against you by an employee as a result of your business.
Another key difference is that employers' liability is a legal requirement in the UK for any business that hires people, while public liability is not a legal requirement, but protect businesses from large legal and compensation costs if a claim was made against them.
Yes. Public liability insurance is considered a business cost which counts as an 'allowable expense'. This means that you can deduct it when calculating your taxable profit and therefore tax-deductible in the UK.
When calculating your taxable profit, you should keep a record of your business income and expenses, not only so that you can calculate it accurately, but also as evidence in case HMRC wants to check on your business. For business insurance, this means your invoices and policy documents.
My business doesn't involve much interaction with members of the public - do I need public liability insurance?
Even if your business is office-based, you’ll no doubt have clients or members of the public visiting you from time to time, or your staff will spend time out and about at events. And if an accident happens, either on your premises, or as a result of your activities elsewhere, you could be held liable, with serious financial repercussions for your business.
While there is no set time that you might buy PL cover, if you work with customers, clients or professional bodies, some may insist that you have public liability cover before you can work together. This may mean you might think about buying public liability cover when you are setting up your business.
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