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Public liability insurance

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Compare public liability insurance quotes

Get a public liability insurance quote and find a policy that fits your individual business needs. It’s quick, easy, and specific.

Accidents do happen from time to time – that’s the nature of running a business. Having public liability insurance in place can help set your mind at rest.

Cover from £6.77 a month, get insured in minutes. (10% of direct debit customers repay their annual policy in 10 monthly payments of £6.77 or less across all our trades insured. Based on data from 1 Jan 2021 - 31st August 2021, for comparison only. Cancellation charges may apply, please refer to our full terms & conditions.)

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What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance is a fundamental type of business insurance, particularly if you have visitors to your premises or carry out work on client sites. It can cover legal expenses or compensation claims if clients, suppliers, or members of the public suffer personal injury or property damage because of your business.

Here's an example public liability insurance scenario: a plumber installed a plastic push fitting which failed and caused a leak. It also affected neighbouring houses. The claim was settled for £160,000, of which the plumber only paid £500.

For more information check out our public liability insurance FAQ pages.

Other covers

See also

We insure a wide range of businesses

At Simply Business we insure all kinds of trades, from hairdressers to builders and even fortune tellers. Check out our list below to read a bit more about some of the businesses we insure.

Don't worry if your trade isn't listed above. When running a quote you can choose from over 1,000 trades.

Things to consider before buying business insurance

You should give accurate information when building your quote. This helps make sure you get the right cover for your business. These are some of the questions you should answer when buying insurance:

  • are you a sole trader or limited company?
  • does your business deal with members of the public?
  • do you have a business premises?
  • does your business hold any stock, equipment or tools?
  • does your business employ any other staff?

If you're not sure about the information you need to supply, you can always give us a call on 0333 014 6683 and one of our team can help you with your quote.

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How to check that your business insurance policy suits your needs

Have a think about the answers to these questions to make sure your policy suits your business:

  • do you have employees? If you do, it's likely that you’re legally obliged to take out employers’ liability insurance (not doing so could lead to a heavy fine)
  • is your business insured for the right things? For example, if you work at heights above 10 metres, are you covered?
  • have you chosen the right level of cover for your business, and a level that’s acceptable to your clients?
  • have you checked your policy documents - do any of the exclusions or excesses mean you won't be properly covered?

Can I see some real examples of public liability insurance claims?

Below is a real-life example where a customer has saved themselves thousands of pounds having insurance through Simply Business. Can you afford to go without public liability insurance?

Business insurance saved him more than £19,000

Imran (not his real name) had been spraying some cladding, and managed to get paint on some cars from a nearby car dealership. Luckily, his legal costs were covered because he had public liability insurance.

Claim settlement: £19,380

What the business owner had to pay: £100 excess

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Public liability insurance FAQs

This is a key cover for most businesses – our comprehensive FAQs answer some of the most popular questions about public liability insurance.

What does public liability insurance cover?

Public liability insurance covers your business against compensation claims and legal costs if a third party suffers injury or property damage while on your premises, or while you’re working on their property.

Typically, public liability covers:

  • compensation payments for third party injury (or even death)
  • repair or replacement costs, for damaged property or possessions
  • medical fees, if the NHS decide to claim for hospital treatment, or an ambulance call out
  • legal expenses, while you’re defending any of these claims

Read more

How much public liability insurance do I need?

Simply Business offers a minimum level of £1 million public liability insurance. Depending on the nature of your business and client demands, you may need a higher level of cover.

It’s a good idea to check your policy when you take on each new job or contract. For example, companies working on government contracts are usually required to be covered for a minimum of £5 million or even £10 million in public liability insurance.

Read more

Do I need public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance reassures your customers that you – and they – are properly protected in case things go wrong. While it isn’t a legal obligation under UK law, your clients, industry regulator, or membership body may require you to have it.

Here’s where public liability insurance can be useful: a furniture fitter needed to claim on his insurance while working on a house. A cabinet he had installed fell off the wall and knocked a fellow contractor off a step ladder, causing injury to the contractor’s wrist and back. The claim was settled at £25,235, but the furniture fitter only had to pay the £250 excess.

Check out more public liability claim examples.

Read more

What’s the difference between public liability and general liability insurance?

Public liability insurance is a UK cover, which protects against claims from members of the public who are injured or suffer a loss and blame your business. General liability insurance is the name used in the USA for public liability insurance. Learn what the difference is between these two terms.

Read more

Is public liability insurance required by law?

If you have staff, it's likely that getting employers' liability insurance is a legal requirement. But while public liability insurance isn't required by law in the UK, it's worth considering and is an important cover for many businesses. It protects against claims and legal action for injury and property damage.

Read more

What’s the difference between public liability and employers’ liability insurance?

These two covers have similar names but there are important differences. Public liability insurance protects against claims from members of the public, who are injured or suffer a loss and blame your business. Employers' liability insurance protects against claims from employees, who are injured or get ill as a result of working for you.

Read more

How much does public liability insurance cost?

This depends on a number of factors, like the type of business you run and the level of cover you choose. It's easy to find out how much it might cost by running a quick quote online. Usually, businesses who insurers see as risky will pay more for their public liability insurance.

Read more

Is public liability insurance tax deductible?

Businesses can deduct costs when calculating taxable profit. These are known as 'allowable expenses' – and business insurance is an allowable expense. Make sure you keep records of income and expenses, including receipts and invoices, for HMRC. This also means keeping your policy documents safe.

Read more

When do you need public liability insurance?

If you deal with the public on a regular basis, you should seriously consider public liability insurance.

Public liability insurance protects you if a member of the public sues you for injury or damage. While it's not required by law, it can protect you from crippling compensation costs. It's a popular choice of cover with tradespeople, hairdressers, restaurant owners and shopkeepers.

How do I get public liability insurance?

Getting public liability insurance for your business is easy.

First, you'll need to get a quote from us. Just answer a few questions about your business, and we'll present you with a selection of insurers who offer the kind of insurance you're looking for.

Once you've settled on the cover that's right for you, you'll be able to buy your insurance online in a matter of minutes. Or if you'd prefer, you can speak to someone in our contact centre who'll walk you through the process.

Once you've bought your insurance, you'll be covered straight away and we'll email your policy documents over on the same day.

Does public liability insurance cover my business for the actions of my employees?

This will depend on whether you have employers' liability insurance in place. Public liability insurance is designed to protect your business against the consequences of legal action brought by members of the public for injuries or damage to their belongings. But when it comes to your employees causing injury or damage, this protection only activates if you also have employers’ liability insurance.

If you employ people, you’re required by law to have employers’ liability insurance.

There’s one exception here. Family businesses that aren’t incorporated as a limited company are not legally required to have employers’ liability insurance. The government defines a “family business” as one where all your employees are closely related to you (as a spouse, civil partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, step-parent, stepchild or half-sibling). So if you run an unincorporated family business and you choose not to get employers’ liability insurance, it’s important to know that your public liability insurance wouldn’t cover you against damage or injury caused by your team.

What’s the difference between paying by Direct Debit and paying in one lump sum for public liability?

You can choose the payment type that suits your business and cash flow best. Some customers prefer to pay in one go, while others prefer to pay a regular monthly amount, like you do with lots of other bills. Simply Business offer three ways to pay for your policy:

  • one-off credit or debit card payment
  • BACS payment
  • Direct Debit

If you choose to pay by Direct Debit, our credit provider, Premium Credit, pays Simply Business the full amount for your policy up front. You then repay Premium Credit in 10 monthly installments.

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It is a very good and easy to use service. I've been a customer for several years and the renewal system is very straight forward. I've always found the quotes competitive too. I'd definitely recommend Simply Business.

R Matthews, Handyman

Public liability insurance

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© Copyright 2021 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.