The Public Liability Insurance Blog

The public liability insurance guide

Taking out public liability insurance isn’t always something that small businesses think about doing straight away, but more often than not it’s invaluable to the smooth running of a company. There’s enough to worry about in your day-to-day activities without having to stress about the possibility of a public liability lawsuit crippling your financial position.


If that’s all you need to hear to kick you into action and start looking for public liability insurance quotes, then head over to the YOUR Insurance site and start comparing quotes online, or have a chat with one of our team of friendly experts who will happily direct you towards an appropriate policy. If however you’re looking to read up on the matter, let’s have a look at the core aspects of public liability insurance.

What exactly is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance covers a business’ legal liability to pay damages out to third parties you have wronged during the course of your business operations. It covers two main things:

1) Other people getting injured as a result of your business operations
2) Other people’s property getting damaged as a result of your business operations

Some policies can also cover legal or medical expenses that you might rack up as a result of these incidents, but all policies will cover the basic costs associated with each.

Injuries and property damage can become very costly and accidents are so often out of your control through a mixture of careless visitors, staff that aren’t completely on the ball, or sheer bad luck.

Public liability is amazingly not required by law, but it is one of the most basic packages that all businesses should at the very least consider. If you are a tradesman, you may even find that several clients demand that you have some level of public liability cover before they even consider hiring you.

The elements of public liability cover

So what are the basic elements of public liability insurance?

Public liability

1) Amount covered: This is the big headline figure or exactly how much indemnity you have. Although the minimum amount is generally £1 million, limited companies shouldn’t really consider anything less that £2 million. If you have a particularly high interaction with the public, it is likely that £5 million would be more appropriate. Larger amounts of £10 million plus are also not unheard of and the larger your company gets, the more public liability cover you may need. If finding the right amount for you on quote comparison engines is proving problematic, talking to an expert advisor might open a few more doors for you.

2) Areas covered: Different insurers cover different territories which could be important to your business. If you work overseas at all, it is important to make sure your insurance policy comes with an adequate passport. You might struggle to find policies that cover you if you do a lot of work in the US due to its different legislation, but again, an advisor should be able to help you find something that’s appropriate.

3) Excess: Just like many other forms of insurance, you may be required to pay a certain amount in the event of a claim. Common excesses are relatively low and are between £250-£500.

4) Profession specific extras: Public liability insurance is often sold as part of a larger package, bundled with extra features relevant to your trade. As a completely impartial example, YOUR Insurance offers policies specific for office-based businesses, pubs, restaurants, builders and musicians, all of which are built around a core public liability policy and add on trade specific cover. This can include computer breakdown for offices, insuring tools for builders and instruments for musicians.

Who is it for?

Public liability insurance is appropriate for practically every profession and trade with very few exceptions. The only businesses that do not need to worry about it are companies that have zero interaction with the public, no visitors to their premises, and do not do work on other people’s property, which is an incredibly limited subset of the small business community.

Lots of businesses will have specific needs, but the public liability insurance policy sits at the core of all of that.

What affects your premium?

Premiums for public liability insurance can be affected predominantly by the company’s annual turnover. The basic rule is that the larger the company gets, the higher the premiums will get. Other trade-specific things like working at height or in high temperature environments can also have an affect on your premium.

Some businesses may find it difficult to get quotes for their cover, for example if workers do a mixture of manual and clerical work. If this is the case, an advisor might still be able to source an appropriate policy for you based on your requirements.

Common objections

Not everyone can immediately see the point in taking out public liability insurance. As mentioned above, there is a small group of people in the business community who will not benefit from it, but it is a small group.

If anything that you do as part of your business could in any way risk a third party, you will benefit from having this cover in place. It is no slight on your workmanship or competence to have public liability cover. You are completely at the mercy of members of the public and people you can’t always trust to be as careful as you would hope.

Accidents are often beyond your control, and public liability insurance can give you one less thing to worry about in running your business.

The consequences of not having public liability cover in place can become a real headache and could easily result in toppling a smaller company. Thankfully, not only is public liability an uncomplicated policy, there are plenty of providers operating in the market and it is straightforward enough to get hold of a quote (did I mention YOUR Insurance has access to the entire public liability market and can get you a public liability quote?). It’s rare that a company will be unable to find appropriate cover.

A common statistic that’s thrown around is that somewhere between £1 billion and £5 billion is paid out on public liability claims every year in the UK. Additionally, the nature of an increasingly litigious culture thanks to the rise of no-win-no-fee law firms makes public liability an increasingly popular area for the courts.


Accidents in the work place happen, regardless of how competent you might be. I’m sure that anyone can think of at least one person that they know who could be considered somewhat of an accident waiting to happen, so throw in an element of the unknown and the thought of having to clear up that mess without some sort of financial support could get rather unsettling.

Taking out public liability insurance is a sensible choice for any business and commonly comes in tailored packages for individual trades and industries. There are plenty of things to worry about as you run your business, so for an appropriate fee, this policy allows you to cross something off that list.

YOUR Insurance specialises in public liability insurance for small and medium sized businesses involved in several trades and professions. You can compare quotes for your business online, or call one of our advisors on 0800 107 8949.