Public liability vs. product liability

What's the difference between public liability and product liability insurance?

Both product liability and public liability insurance covers claims of injury and property damage, but public liability covers claims relating to your business activities and services, including the actions of you and your employees, while product liability insurance covers claims relating to any products you sell, supply or manufacture.

What does public liability insurance cover?

Public liability insurance provides cover for legal and compensation costs relating to any claim made against your business due to injury or property damage inflicted on a non-employee.

If your business causes an injury or property damage to a member of the public – that includes clients, suppliers, contractors or anybody else not employed by you – PL will cover you for the resulting legal and compensation costs.

An example of a public liability claim would be: a customer is walking through your shop and trips on a loose wire that’s on the floor, breaking their arm.

What does product liability cover?

If your business sells or manufactures products, and a customer is injured or has their property damaged as a result of the product or its packaging, you could be liable. Product liability covers your business against the legal and compensation costs involved in such a claim.

Product liability can cover claims involving defective products, contaminated food products and products that don't meet UK standards.

An product liability insurance claim example could be: a hairdryer that you sell from your salon is faulty and causes a small fire in a customer’s house, damaging their property and injuring them.

Are you legally required to have both public liability and product liability cover?

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.

Some of your clients or customers may also require you to have public liability insurance in order to work with them.

Similarly, product liability cover isn't a legal requirement in the UK, but if your business sells products, you may want to seriously consider this type of insurance. Without adequate insurance, a product liability claim could cost thousands if not millions in legal and compensation fees, so it's worth asking yourself if you could personally afford to take the risk without a policy.

To learn more, find out if your business needs public liability cover.

Can I buy public liability and product liability insurance together?

Yes, if you need both, our product liability and public liability are offered under the same cover, so you can buy them simultaneously. Simply click ‘Start your quote’, select your industry and follow the steps to add the level of cover you need.

Find more information

Our insurance 101 guides break down what each type of cover is, what they cover and the types of businesses that may need them in more detail.