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Comparing public liability insurance

You’re probably here because you’re self-employed or running a small business, and you’ve heard that you should get public liability insurance.  If you want to find out what exactly this insurance is, why you might need it or how to buy it, you’ve come to the right place.


So what is public liability insurance, anyway?


Basically, this kind of business insurance is there to protect you if members of the public make a claim against you for something bad that happens in connection to your business.  As the owner, you’re responsible for making your workplace as risk-free as possible, but unfortunately accidents do happen.


The kind of thing this might involve could be an injury that happens to someone while they are at your business premises, or if their property is stolen or damaged there.


Say you own a shop, and it’s a wet day. A customer comes in and slips on the floor near the doorway and breaks their arm. They see this as your fault for not keeping the floor in a safe condition, and put in a personal injury claim against you.

Your liability insurance means that if someone is injured at your premises or their property is damaged, you can claim on your insurance to cover any compensation due to them, or legal costs if they take you to court.


Policies do vary according to the insurer, but most public liability policies cover you for incidents that occur on your business premises. They also cover incidents that take place elsewhere, at events or activities organised by your company.


So how do you do tell if you need this kind of insurance?


Well, first of all, do members of the public, customers or clients often visit your home, office, shop or other premises? Or does your business organise events or activities that are attended by members of the public? If you can answer yes to either of these questions, it’s worth looking into buying a policy. Use comparethemarket.com to get an idea of what it will cost.  Your premium is usually calculated based on the kind of business you run, the number of people you employ and your insurance claims history.


It’s important to note that public liability cover does not cover employees, temporary staff, students or people on work placements – for these you need employers’ liability insurance – we’ll talk about this in a minute.


And how do you buy it?


Hopefully you should now have a good idea of whether a public liability policy would be useful to you. If so, we can help you compare policies. Just request a callback above. An expert from our business insurance partner ‘YOUR Insurance’ will give you a call to talk about what you might need and provide you with quotes from a panel of insurers.


While we’re at it though, are there any other kinds of business insurance that you might need for your SME?


Other important kinds of business insurance


If you have one employee or more, or freelance staff, even volunteers or at your office, you need to have employer’s liability insurance – it’s a legal requirement. Again, this protects you if someone has an accident or their property is damaged at work and they claim for compensation. The minimum level of cover in the UK is £5m.


Professional indemnity insurance


Another kind of insurance you might need is professional indemnity insurance. This is designed to cover the cost of paying compensation to your clients because you have given them poor service or advice. It’s sometimes called PI insurance.


You would need PI cover if your advice has gone on to cause damage to a client’s reputation, or lost them money in sales or a corporate partnership.   The client in question could be a company or a member of the public – and you could even have given the advice for free.


It’s not an insurance that every company will need. It applies to businesses that offer knowledge, skills or advice as part of their work. It might be needed by a self-employed individual like a consultant, an accountant, or a company.


The kinds of business that might need PI insurance include marketing agencies, PR consultancies, management consultants, web agencies and design companies. These are all organisations whose advice could lead a company to change its strategy. If the move is a bad one, it could upset customers, cause sales to nosedive or bring the company into disrepute.


Avoid red herrings


Another term that you might come across is public indemnity insurance – this sounds like a mixture of all of the types of insurance we’ve already talked about. You’ll be pleased to hear that this definitely isn’t a policy you will need… because there’s no such thing.


It’s just one of those red herrings where people get the names mixed up. If someone mentions public indemnity insurance to you they probably mean public liability.


Buying insurance products for your business certainly isn’t the most fun side of being your own boss, but it really is important, so let comparethemarket.com help you find good value cover that could just save the day.