Public liability insurance comparison



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Business insurance is different to home insurance

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Protect against claims from customers or clients

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What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance protects you in case someone is injured, or dies, or damages their property while on your business premises (or while you go about your business somewhere else).

Technically, it covers the costs of any compensation claims, legal fees or medical bills if your business is found to have caused the problem.

It’s worth noting that public liability insurance doesn’t cover your employees - this is covered by another policy called, you guessed it, employers’ liability insurance.

What does Public Liability Insurance cover?

Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that accidents will happen from time to time and, as a business owner, you're responsible for your firm's activities. Having public liability insurance cover can provide the peace of mind that you’re insured against the following:

Compensation costs

Public liability insurance can cover you against compensation claims for injury or death of a ‘third party’ (like a customer or a member of the public). It can also cover you if you’re held accountable for damage to their property. You can get protected whether an incident happens on your business premises, a customer’s premises, or anywhere your business operates.

Legal expenses

If a claim is made against your business, your public liability cover could foot the bill for the cost of defending your business against the claims and pay compensation if your business is found to be at fault.

Repair costs

If your business is held liable for damaging a third party’s property, your public liability cover can pay for the cost of the damage caused. If, for instance, a painter and decorator ruined a rug by spilling paint on it, the cleaning costs would be covered by their public liability policy.

Medical fees

Public liability insurance can also cover the cost of a claimant’s hospital treatment, should they include this in their claim against you. It might include the cost of an ambulance call out, and NHS or private treatments.

Faulty products

Product liability insurance sits alongside public liability insurance to protect your business if a product you make or supply causes illness, injury, damage, or death. Customers can make faulty product claims under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, and dodgy food and drink claims under the Food Safety Act 1990.

Does my business need public liability insurance cover?

Although public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement, you should consider it essential if you mix with members of the public while at work, whether at your own premises or elsewhere. Even homeworkers should consider cover if they have business visitors coming to their home.

You may even find it impossible to do business without public liability insurance - some clients insist you have cover in place before they’ll do business with you. This is often the case with public sector contract work and councils often need you to have public liability insurance to have a stall at their local market.

Who needs Public Liability Insurance?

If your business brings you into contact with people who aren’t employed by you, you should consider public liability insurance. It offers cover if claims are made by people you’ve dealt with in the following ways:

  • Customers visit your business premises, such as a shop, pub, restaurant or hairdressing and beauty salon.
  • You work on client sites, such as a tradesperson working in people’s homes or gardens.
  • You work in public places, such as on building sites or in any place where your work could cause injury or damage to passers-by.

This is the case whether you’re a sole trader, self-employed, run a small business or a blue-chip enterprise.

If you work in any of the following trades, you should consider getting a public liability insurance quote and taking out cover:

  • Builders
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Gardeners
  • Painters and decorators
  • Plumbers
  • Sign writers

How do I get my business a public liability insurance policy?

The simplest way to take out a public liability insurance policy is to speak to the tech-enabled team at Bionic. We compare public liability insurance quotes from a range of providers to help ensure you get the cover you need, with no hidden costs and no unnecessary extras.

To make sure your cover is exactly what you need, we’ll check the levels of protection alongside the cost of cover and any excess payments before talking you through your options.

Although price is important, getting the right level of protection should always be the main consideration - if your policy doesn’t provide the right level of protection, it could be useless if you ever need to make a claim.

Be aware that public liability insurance won’t cover you against accidents that happen to you or your employees, or damage to your property or that of your employees. But if your business deals with anyone that isn’t employed by you, public liability insurance is essential.

Speak to the Bionic business insurance team to get business insurance that is tailored to suit your exact needs and cover against the real risks to your business. No more. No less. No faff.

Things to consider

Although public liability insurance in the UK isn’t a legal requirement, some level of cover should be considered if a claim against your business could put it in financial difficulty. When arranging cover, it’s worth answering the following questions:

  • How often do you come into contact with third parties?
  • What type of contact do you have with third parties?
  • How could the type of work you do affect third parties?
  • What would be the financial impact of a claim made against your business?

If you need to be part of an industry body to carry out your work, you should also ask yourself the following:

  • What’s the minimum level of cover required by your industry body?
  • Do clients or customers demand you have a minimum level of cover before working with you?

How much does Public Liability Insurance cost?

The average UK public liability insurance policy will cost £118, but cover can range from £50 a year to £450 or more, according to Nimblefins, the data-driven personal finance website.

The cost of any public liability insurance policy will depend on things like the amount of cover you need, the type of business you run, and where it’s based, profession. To find out how much it will cost to cover your business, speak to the tech-enabled team at Bionic.

Public liability insurance

What is public liability insurance?
What does Public Liability Insurance cover?
Does my business need public liability insurance cover?
Who needs Public Liability Insurance?
How do I get my business a public liability insurance policy?
How much does Public Liability Insurance cost?

Public liability insurance FAQs

To help you understand more about public liability insurance, here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions

Is it a legal requirement to have Public Liability Insurance?

No, public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but certain industry bodies might require you to have cover and some clients might insist you have cover in place before they’ll do business with you.

Does public liability insurance cover your employees?

No, public liability insurance doesn’t cover employees. If you have one or more employees, you’re legally obliged to have employers’ liability insurance in place.

Does public liability insurance cover product liability?

Product liability insurance is a subset of public liability insurance that covers you for claims relating to faulty products, including food and drink. It doesn’t always come as standard with public liability cover, so you’ll need to make sure it’s added to your cover if you need it.

How much public liability Insurance do I need?

The amount of public liability insurance you need depends upon the type and size of your business and the possible risks it poses to the public. For example:

  • A large construction company that works in crowded city or urban areas will pose a bigger risk to the public in terms of the amount of people that could get injured and the type of injuries they could sustain, than a local cafe. So, it will need a great level of public liability cover.
  • But, in turn, that cafe will need more public liability cover than a shoe shop. This is because the risk of customers getting burned or coming down with food poisoning is greater than any risk associated with being in a shoe shop.

Speak to the insurance team at Bionic to find out exactly how much public liability cover your business needs.

What is a PLI certificate?

This is simply a certificate that proves you have public liability insurance in place and outlines the key details of your cover.

Will I get a PLI certificate if I take out public liability insurance?

Not necessarily. Unlike employers’ liability and motor insurance, public liability cover isn’t a legal requirement and so many insurers won’t provide a certificate. Speak to your insurer if you need a PLI certificate.

What is not covered by public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance only applies to injury and property damage claims made by people who don’t work for you. It doesn’t cover workplace personal injury, injuries your employees suffer, or damage to your property.

Is public liability insurance tax-deductible?

Yes. Public liability is tax-deductible as it is classed as a business cost that’s included in HMRC’s definition of allowable expenses.

What’s the difference between public liability insurance and employer’s liability insurance?

Public liability insurance covers you against damage claims made by members of the public, while employers' liability insurance covers you against damage claims made by your employees. Another difference is that public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but employers’ liability insurance is required by law if you have employ one or more people.

What other types of insurance might I need for my business?

How Bionic public liability insurance comparison works

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Friendly, professional agents

Our team speaks your language and won’t waste your time. We use secure smart data to find out more about your needs and only ask questions relevant to your business.

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We’ll talk you through the quotes

Once we know more about your needs, we’ll work with you to find the right cover. We’ll cut through the insurance jargon and answer any questions you might have.

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Renewals remembered for you

With your cover arranged, you need never worry about missing an insurance policy renewal date, as we’ll keep you updated for complete peace of mind.

Your Bionic comparison is free.

If you decide to switch, we’ll be paid a commission by the new supplier that is included in the prices we quote.