Public liability insurance for small businesses

Accidents by their very nature are unpredictable, but you can still protect yourself and your business by ensuring you have appropriate public liability insurance in place.

What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance can cover you if a member of the public makes a claim against you because they’ve had an accident, sustained an injury or had their property damaged because of your business activities. Most public liability policies can cover you for incidents that happen on your business premises, but they might also cover accidents that happen elsewhere – such as at an event organised by your company. Public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but if you deal with the public then it’s a good idea to consider it. 

Public liability for small businesses
do I actually need public liability insurance

Does my small business need public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance is certainly worth considering, especially if:

  • You have an office or business premises where members of the public visit
  • Your business organises or hosts events and activities
  • You work from home and customers come to see you there
  • You work anywhere the general public has access to, such as the street or in someone’s house.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you’re a small business, you don’t need public liability insurance. Accidents could be as simple as spilling paint on someone’s carpet while working as a painter and decorator. You’d be deemed liable for putting this right, which could involve the cost of replacement carpets, the labour to fit them and compensation for any inconvenience. If you drop equipment onto someone’s foot and cause an injury, consider the cost of legal fees, specialist medical treatment and any after care that might be required. Having public liability cover in place could save you a lot of time and money.

Public liability insurance should also cover you if you take your business on the road, say you host events or activities in connection with your work. And if you want to set up a market stall or become a regular at a craft fair, then you might need public liability insurance before you’re given a pitch.

Be aware, though, that if a member of your staff (full-time or temporary) or someone on work placement makes a claim against you, this will fall under your employers’ liability insurance.

What should I look for in small business liability insurance?

Some points to look for when choosing public liability insurance include:

  • Level of cover This is the maximum amount your insurance provider will pay out.Typically, the lowest standard level of cover is £1 million and, for most small businesses, this should be enough. However, if the type of business you do means you have considerable exposure to the general public, you might want to consider a higher level of cover. Some insurance providers will offer up to £10 million.
  • Your contract requirements Check whether any of your clients require a particular level of cover. Local council authorities usually ask for a minimum cover level of £5 million before you can tender for work.
  • Business activities covered Always check exactly what activities are covered by the policy. For example, if your business involves you working at height or in high temperatures, check there are no exclusions relating to this.
  • Compensation for loss of work This could prove invaluable if you have to go to court and miss out on a few days of work.

What’s the average cost of public liability insurance for small businesses?

Cost will vary depending on the insurance provider, the nature of your business and your previous claims history. Your provider will need to assess the likelihood of you making a claim and how much of a risk you are based on the information you’ve provided. Premiums tend to be higher if your business involves more risk – such as working at height or in high temperatures. It’s important to be honest and upfront with your provider – if you give false information you may find your insurance is invalidated.

How can I find public liability insurance for my small business?

Finding the right kind of business insurance doesn’t have to be hard; start a quote with us today and we’ll help you compare public liability insurance. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to talk about your options in more detail, you can request a call back – an expert from our business insurance partner YOUR Insurance will call you to discuss your needs and provide you with quotes from a panel of insurance providers.

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