A guide to public liability insurance

What is public liability insurance?

A momentary slip, a lapse in concentration. It can all go wrong in an instant. But if an accident does happen, and you or any of your employees cause injury or damage to a member of the public or their property, you could face a lawsuit. And if that happens, public liability insurance (PL) could save you a lot of time, money and hassle.

It's pretty straightforward. 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 – PLI will cover you for the resulting legal and compensation costs.


What does it cover?

Public liability insurance covers legal and compensation costs in relation to a claim against your business from a member of the public - whether it's a customer, supplier or contractor (basically anyone who isn't an employee). It's an important cover for all businesses to consider - freelancers included. Find out more about what PL covers.


Do I need it?

Although public liability insurance isn't a legal requirement in the UK, it's something that most businesses consider, as most SMEs can't afford the risk of paying a large claim.

Furthermore, if you're working with other companies, many will insist on you having public liability cover. So you could also be at a competitive disadvantage if you don't have it. Some bigger clients, particularly government contracts, may request a minimum of £5 million or even £10 million in cover. Find out whether you need PL.


How much cover do I need?

This is entirely up to you, but it's worth checking with your clients and potential clients whether they have any restrictions on this. They may require you to have a minimum level of cover.

With Superscript, our monthly public liability cover gives you the option of £1 million, £2 million or £5 million cover - and you can update this if your needs change, through your online account, no admin fees. If your business requires a higher level of cover, you'll need to speak to our SuperscriptQ team.


How much does it cost?

As with all insurance, the cost will depend upon the amount of risk you need to insure. With Superscript, public liability cover starts from £5.00 per month. Find out more about the factors that influence the cost of PL.


Does it cover employees?

Public liability does not cover claims from employees against your business. To cover yourself for these, you'll need employers liability insurance, which is a legal requirement in the UK, for all companies with employees. Find out more about employers liability insurance.


What's the difference between public liability and professional indemnity?

While public liability covers compensation and legal costs if you're sued by a member of the public for injury or damage, professional indemnity insurance covers compensation and legal costs if you're sued by a client for a mistake that you make in your work. Find out more about professional indemnity insurance.

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