Employers’ liability insurance


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Frequently asked questions

  • Why is employers’ liability cover important?
  • What is employers’ liability insurance?
  • How often do work-related injuries happen?
  • Do all businesses need employers’ liability insurance?
  • How much cover do I need?
  • What happens if I don’t have employers’ liability insurance?
  • How can I compare employers’ liability insurance?

Why is employers’ liability cover important?

If you employ people who aren’t direct family members, even if it’s just one person, you’re legally required to have employers’ liability insurance. It covers you against an employee making a claim for injury or illness as a result of working for you.

Here’s a more detailed look at employers’ liability insurance and why you need it.

What is employers’ liability insurance?

Employers’ liability insurance is designed to protect employers against claims should an employee injure themselves or become ill as a result of working for them.

It also applies to former employees who have become ill as a result of something they did in the workplace, as long as they can prove it was a direct result of their employer’s negligence.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) states: “It is an employer’s duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other people who might be affected by their business. Employers must do whatever is reasonably practicable to achieve this.”

How often do work-related injuries happen?

Work-related injuries are still alarmingly high. There are around 64,000 non-fatal injuries to workers, and 80,000 workers suffering from work-related illnesses each year in the construction industry alone. There are 1,860 workplace injuries per 100,000 workers across all industries. So, it’s vital that you, as an employer, are covered – whatever your business.  

As an employer, you need to keep up-to-date with current Health and Safety at Work regulations. If you don’t, it might invalidate your employers’ liability cover. 

Do all businesses need employers’ liability insurance?

You need it if you employ staff and you:

  • deduct income tax and National Insurance from employees’ salaries
  • control where, when and how they work
  • supply their work materials and equipment
  • have a right to any profit your workers make
  • require them to carry out the service you employ them for, and they cannot employ a substitute if they are unable to work
  • they do the same work under the same conditions as other people you employ

The exceptions are:

  • if you are a sole trader
  • if all your employees are direct family members
  • if all your employees are based abroad and aren’t ordinarily resident in Great Britain
  • most public organisations and government departments and health service bodies


And in some cases, you will not need employers’ liability insurance for:

  • volunteers
  • students who work for you unpaid
  • people who are not employed, but are taking part in a youth or adult training programme
  • school students on a work experience programme


For a more detailed guide check out the HSE website. If you’re not sure about anything, seek advice as there can be serious implications if you get it wrong. 

How much cover do I need?

Your policy must cover you for at least £5 million. 

You’ll need to assess the right level of cover based on the type of trade you’re in. For example, a catering or construction business might need higher cover than an office-based business. The higher risk business you’re in, the more expensive your policy is likely to be, but it’s essential that you’re adequately covered. 

What happens if I don’t have employers’ liability insurance?

Failing to take out adequate employers’ liability insurance is against the law and can have serious implications. 

You can be fined £2,500 for every day that you’re not insured. You can also be fined £1,000 if you don’t display your ELCI (Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance) certificate or don’t make it available to inspectors when they ask.

But it could cost you even more. In 2016, a takeaway shop was fined £4,360 in fines and legal costs for failing to produce an ELCI certificate. 

How can I compare employers’ liability insurance?

Just tell us a bit about you and your business and we’ll help you compare employers’ liability insurance quotes. Once you've found the one that’s right for your company, you can apply directly from our website. If you prefer, you can speak to an expert.

What other types of business insurance might I need?

Public liability insurance

Get cover against claims if someone is injured or property damaged as a result or your work.

Employers’ liability insurance

You are legally required to have this insurance even if you employ just one person.

Business interruption insurance

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Business life insurance

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Commercial property insurance

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Business contents insurance

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