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Freelancer public liability insurance

If you’re one of the 5 million self-employed workers in the UK, you probably think you’ve got enough on your plate without adding insurance to the list.

But arranging freelancer insurance could be the best piece of business you do all year, protecting your reputation and livelihood in the event of an accident or mistake.

If you’re one of the 5 million self-employed workers in the UK, you probably think you’ve got enough on your plate without adding insurance to the list.

But arranging freelancer insurance could be the best piece of business you do all year, protecting your reputation and livelihood in the event of an accident or mistake.

Written by
Mubina Pirmohamed
Business and landlord insurance expert
Last Updated
29 JANUARY 2024
7 min read
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Do I need freelancer insurance?

As a freelancer, you need to be confident in the quality of service you provide. But can you be sure of success 100% of the time?

Mistakes and accidents happen, but with the right freelancer business insurance in place, you’ll have the confidence that if they do, you’ll be able to keep your business afloat.

Why you need business insurance for freelancers 

Freelance or self-employed business insurance is there to give you peace of mind that if something unexpected happens, you and your livelihood are protected. 

There are lots of risks you face as a freelancer that business insurance can help cover you against, for example: 

  • A client thinks that your work has had a negative impact on their business, and they want to bring a claim of professional negligence against you
  • A member of the public gets injured when visiting you at work and they make a personal injury claim against you
  • You damage someone’s property while working
  • Your work equipment is damaged or stolen and you need to repair or replace it
  • You’re unable to work due to an illness or injury. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all freelancer insurance, it’s an umbrella term for the different types of business insurance that you might need as a freelancer. Consider the risks you face in your work and look for a policy that fits your situation and needs.

Is freelancer insurance compulsory? 

In some cases, you may be required to get business insurance to work as a freelancer. For example, if you employ anyone at all - even in an unpaid role - you’re required by law to have employers’ liability insurance.

This type of insurance covers you, the employer, against claims made by those working for you (employee or family member) for injury or illness as a result of working for you. It's a legal requirement if anyone working for you isn't an immediate family member.

And some professional bodies, such as those for accountants, surveyors and architects, require anyone working in that profession to have professional indemnity insurance, even when working independently.

What type of freelancer insurance do I need?

The type of self-employed insurance you need will depend on the nature of your work and whether you work alone or with other people. Here are the liability insurance options you can explore.

Professional indemnity insurance for freelancers

This is invaluable for freelancers who provide professional advice, design and various other services. Professional indemnity insurance protects you if a client accuses you of professional negligence.

You might be a freelance writer, whose inaccurate article lands the client it was published for in hot water, causing them financial loss. Or maybe you’re a consultant and your client is claiming you gave them bad advice. If they decide to pursue a case against you, this type of self-employed insurance will cover the cost of defending a compensation claim relating to professional negligence. If you’re found to be at fault, professional indemnity insurance can cover the cost of fixing the mistake and any compensation you’re ordered to pay by a court.

Even if you’re not to blame, you’ll still need to account for legal bills when defending a claim, so professional indemnity insurance is a useful way to cover your back.

Public liability insurance for freelancers

If clients or the public ever visit your place of work, public liability insurance protects you for accidental damage or injuries sustained in connection with your work.

Even if you’re largely desk-based, all it takes is for a visitor to trip over your computer power cable and make an injury claim, and you’re facing a pay-out and legal fees.

To make sure you’ll be covered, always give full details of the type of premises you work in, whether you’re involved in any hazardous activities, plus any sales trips or manual work activities away from your usual place of work.

Employers’ liability insurance

If you run a business as a freelancer and employ other people – even if they’re temporary, agency or unpaid – then you’ll legally need employers’ liability insurance, and you’ll need to display a certificate to prove you have it.

Employers’ liability insurance could cover you if one of your employees becomes ill or is injured as a result of working for you. If you employ one or more people or are a limited company with multiple directors, it’s a legal requirement to have cover. If you’re not a limited company, it’s not a legal requirement to have employers’ liability insurance if the employees are immediate family members, though if a policy is in place it would still cover immediate family members working for you.

Equipment cover for freelancers 

If you need equipment to do your job, whether that’s a laptop and office equipment, specialised digital equipment or an expensive set of tools, it’s important to make sure they’re covered. Equipment or tool cover can help cover the costs of replacing or repairing your tools and gadgets if they’re stolen or damaged so you can get back to work as quickly as possible.

Income protection insurance for freelancers 

As a freelancer, you’re often a one-man band, handling each and every aspect of your business by yourself. If you get sick or injured and you can’t work, you won’t have the safety net of sick pay to see you through till you’re back on your feet, or the benefit of colleagues to hold the fort.

With income protection insurance you can get regular payments to cover a proportion of your average income. You can choose to protect your income on a short-term basis for a set amount of time, or on a long-term basis until you’re able to return to work or retire.

Business interruption insurance for freelancers 

If a crisis stopped you from working for an extended period of time, would you be able to keep paying the bills and keep your business afloat?

Business interruption insurance could protect you in a crisis, such as a flood in your workplace, by covering the shortfall in your income while you get back on your feet.

How can I reduce the risk of legal action? 

Mistakes and accidents do happen. But there are a few simple steps you can take to try and protect yourself:

  • Always make sure your client’s expectations are clear and agreed in a contract, especially if you design or build for them
  • Be honest about what can be achieved, breaking your output down into set deliverables where possible
  • Record all contracts and sign-offs in writing and log them safely
  • Keep work areas as tidy as possible, completing risk assessments for activities and processes where possible
  • Keep clients and the public well away from dangerous areas when you’re working

Get the right freelancer insurance

Any insurance premium is based on a number of factors specific to you, such as your claims history, the size of your business and how much cover you need.

Get a freelancer insurance quote now and see if you could save.

Frequently asked questions

What is cyber and data security insurance for freelancers?

If you handle any sort of personal or sensitive data, you have a legal responsibility to protect it. Cyber and data security insurance can help you with the technicalities and cost of recovering any data that’s been stolen or lost, and help defend you against any related claims.

What is product liability insurance for freelancers?

If you make and supply products to clients, whether you’re a hairdresser, selling your own products, or a coder designing an app, product liability insurance can help defend you if someone claims that your product injured them or damaged their property.

What is legal protection insurance for freelancers?

What happens if a client refuses to pay you for work you’ve done? If you need to take a client to court to get them to pay up, legal protection insurance can help cover your legal costs.

What is personal accident cover for freelancers?

If you get injured and are unable to work, personal accident insurance could provide you with a lump sum to keep your business afloat while you’re out of action. It could also cover the cost of hiring or training someone to fill your role while you concentrate on getting better.

Will my contents insurance cover me for working from home?

If you’re working from home, it’s important to check your home contents insurance policy carefully to make sure you’ll be covered for any work equipment you store there. You’ll want to make sure any gadgets, tools and equipment you need to work are covered by your policy and that you’ve declared them to your insurance provider if they’re worth more than the single item limit - the most a policy will pay out for a single item not listed separately.

If you’re not covered, you may be able to add extra cover to your home contents policy or add business contents cover to your freelancer policy.

If you work outside of your home, make sure you’re covered for any tools or equipment you carry with you. This is sometimes called portable equipment cover on business insurance policies.

Remember, you may need to inform your home insurance provider that you’re working from home. For more information, read our guide to working from home.

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