Public Liability Cover – What Is It & What Does It Do?

Public liability insurance provides protection for businesses and organisations against legal claims arising from injury or other types of damages.

All types of accidents can arise when a business or organisation has a building or an event that is open to the public. For example, if someone should slip on a banana peel in a restaurant, that individual may be able to win a claim against the owners if the latter were negligent in any way.

With public liability cover, a business or organisation has financial protection for legal expenses and for possible compensation payments.

Who needs public liability insurance?

The law in the United Kingdom generally does not require that businesses have public liability insurance.

However, those businesses that are open to the public should have this type of protection. Some examples of these types of businesses include:

  • Restaurants
  • Nightclubs
  • Shops
  • Salons
  • Gyms & Health Clubs

Additionally, public liability insurance is highly advisable for workers in the trades and for event organisers. Even if your business is only an office that only meets with clients by appointment, such cover is generally a good idea for maximum protection.

What does public liability insurance cover?

The main reason for public liability insurance is to provide benefits in case of claims against your business regardless of whether the damages occur on your property or whether they occur elsewhere.

With this type of cover, you will not have to worry so much about running out of capital in case of a large claim. The insurance allows you to keep running your business as you have protection against such financial shocks.

We live in a highly litigious society when it is common for people to file legal claims whenever they believe they have a chance of making money.

How much cover do I need?

The amount of public liability insurance that any company will need depends on a variety of factors. Ultimately, it comes down to the amount of risk that your business poses and also the amount that you could possibly lose in a legal claim.

Larger companies will generally need more cover than smaller ones since they will generally have more opportunities for accidents and other problems occurring. One way to find out the proper range for your business is to see what other companies like yours are paying for public liability insurance.

The minimum policy will cover limits of indemnity of £1 million. Companies with higher risk including those that take on government contracts will need higher cover. For some government contracts, there may be minimum cover requirements of £5 million or £10 million in public liability insurance.

What to look for in a policy?

In addition to the cover limits, there are some other items to check for when comparing insurance policies:

  • Exceptions and exclusions – Make sure that your business has the rights types of cover. Some policies may exclude claims for certain types of activities. For example, the policy may not cover work done in dangerous situations like working on high buildings or poles.
  • Premiums – How much will you have to pay in regular payments?
  • Term – How long does the policy provide you with cover?

Remember that the lowest quotes may not mean much if the policy only provides weak cover for your business. Check the details clearly and ask questions of the agent if there is anything that is unclear.

Finding public liability insurance

Many different companies offer these types of policies and consumers should shop around and compare before making a decision on a particular product. Many Internet websites provide comparison services that will allow you to check different policies side-by-side.

At these sites, you will usually be able to sort and filter quotes based on specific criteria that you choose. In general, it is good to do some research on the company before choosing a policy. Comparison sites will often offer customer reviews and ratings for different insurance plans.

Some sites also provide their own ratings and reviews but it is a good idea to watch out for conflict of interest in these cases. Make sure that the company reviewing an insurance provider does not have the latter as a sponsor or advertiser

Additionally, you can ask people in your personal network like family, friends and co-workers whether they can recommend a good public liability insurance plan.

Conclusion

Public liability insurance is advisable for businesses that are open to the public including shops, restaurants, pubs and salons. With this type of cover, the company has protection against any injury or other damage claims that may occur in connection with the business.

The insurance provides financial resources to cover claims that could otherwise cause hardship on your business. While generally not required by law, most businesses would still do well to have such protection.