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Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance covers the cost of claims made by members of the public for incidents that occur in connection with your business activities.

Public liability insurance covers the cost of compensation for:

  • personal injuries
  • loss of or damage to property
  • death  

Policies vary from insurer to insurer, but most public liability policies cover you for:

  • incidents that occur on your business premises
  • incidents that take place off-site, at events or activities organised by your company

Do I need it?

You should consider public liability insurance if:

  • you own business premises that members of the public, customers or clients visit
  • your business organises off-site events or activities that are attended by members of the public
  • you run a business from your home and people visit your home for professional purposes

If you own a horse riding establishment you are legally obliged to have public liability insurance. For more information contact your local authority – contact details for your local authority can be found through the GOV.UK website.

Public liability insurance covers anyone, apart from employees, with whom you interact as part of your business operations such as:

  • people visiting your business
  • customers
  • clients
  • people taking part in events or activities you have organised
  • people watching events or activities you have organised

Public liability insurance does not cover employees, temporary staff, students or people on work placements – for this you need employers’ liability insurance.

Buying public liability insurance

You can buy public liability insurance directly from an insurer or from a specialist broker through the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA).

The cost of your premium is usually based on:

  • the nature of your business 
  • the number of people you employ 
  • your insurance claims history

For more information on business insurance see the ABI guide to insurance for small businesses (pdf 466kB).

Last updated 13/11/2014