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What is public liability insurance and what cover is required?

Whether you’re operating as a sole trader or are the director of a limited company, having the correct business insurance in place is vital. Insurance cover to consider includes professional indemnity insurance, employers’ liability insurance, and – as we explain in more detail here – public liability insurance.


Public liability insurance definition


Simply put, public liability insurance protects you, the business owner, against claims from members of the public. It’s also there to protect the public should any accident or injury be caused by your business (either by you or one of your employees).


Do I need public liability insurance?


If you or your employees interact with members of the public on behalf of your business, it’s generally a good idea to have this in place.


This insurance can protect you in scenarios such as:



  • A member of the public being injured in a shop you own

  • A client being injured while visiting your office

  • People being injured during an event you’ve organised

  • A passing member of the public being injured by tiles falling off your office’s roof


In all these examples, public liability insurance would protect the business if a claim was made.


What if I work from home?


Public liability insurance might not seem like a requirement for someone who works from home. However, even if you don’t have regular day-to-day contact with the public, it’s still worth considering getting this cover in place.


For example, you could find yourself being sued for damages if a client calls by to drop off a package and, in the process, trips over a stray wire in your home. Having public liability insurance ensures you’re protected from this type of claim.


Will public liability insurance protect my employees?


If you employ any staff, they won’t be covered by your public liability insurance. Instead, you’ll need to have employers’ liability insurance in place. Read our guide on employers’ liability insurance to find out what it covers and what the legal requirements are.


Am I legally required to have public liability insurance?


There’s no specific legal requirement to have public liability insurance in place. However, having this insurance cover shows you’re aware of your responsibilities as a business owner, which can be particularly valuable when pitching for new work. You may also find some clients demand you have it before they engage with you.


How much cover do I need?


The level of cover you require ultimately depends on your type of business, but most public liability insurance policies provide cover for a minimum of £1 million. As with other forms of insurance, you may find your clients require you to have a set level of cover in place. It therefore pays to check your contracts carefully before taking on new clients.


At Crunch Insurance, we offer public liability from £1 million right up to £5 million.


When should I have cover in place?


Public liability insurance won’t cover you retrospectively, so you should have it in place as soon as you start to interact with members of the public.


If you’re a freelancer, contractor, or small business owner, Crunch Insurance can provide business insurance tailored to you. Get an instant quote today.


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