what is public liability insurance

Public liability is a business insurance policy offering companies of any sectors and sizes cover against injury or damages claims. Such claims can arise if your customers or members of the public come to your premises to do business with you. If they should suffer personal injuries or damages to their property whilst on your premises, you might well find yourself faced with a claim against you.

When referring to your premises, this also includes self employed people who work from home. If you fall in to this category, your home constitutes your workplace in the same way as an external office would.

Public liability cover also covers reverse situations, when you are working at the premises or sites of your customers. If your lack of due diligence causes injury to any of their personnel or customers, or damage to their property, they are likewise entitled to bring a claim against you.

Do I Need Public Liability Coverage?

The necessity and legal obligations for businesses to have a public liability policy can differ dependant upon your individual circumstances and the sector in which you operate.

If you are a self employed trader, providing products or services to either other businesses or the public, you are not obliged by law to have the insurance. You are, however, advised to give the matter serious consideration, as your business would be liable to cover the full costs of any claims successfully brought against you. In the cases of many self employed people, the business is often you personally.

As an employer, you are required by law to have employers liability insurance (ELI), which covers you in cases of your staff suffering injuries in the workplace or as a direct result of work resulted duties. This does not, however, extend its cover to members of the public, for which public liability is additionally recommended.

Most types of event insurance policies available include public liability cover. If you are an event organiser, you have a plethora of things that could go wrong to take in to consideration, such as cancellation, equipment, inclement weather, travel, technical issues – but to name a few and in addition to the generally understood cover provided by a public liability policy.

For tradesmen, the stakes are also potentially higher than in other sectors. Due to the physical nature of the work, coupled with the use of potentially dangerous equipment, accidents frequently occur in this sector. If you own a business carrying out work related to building, electrics, plastering, plumbing or roofing, you are strongly recommended to take out a public liability policy.

It exists to protect you against potential claims made by your customers, members of the public, staff and sub-contractors. Many customers also require proof of certification when awarding work, making public liability a matter of commercial savvy besides purely insurance cover.