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What is public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance covers your legal liability for bodily injury (or worse) to third parties and damage to their property. Notice we said third parties - PL insurance doesn't insure you against claims by your own staff..
When might I need it?
That depends on your trade or profession. Here's a few general examples:
An accident at your commercial premises
You have a salesman in and he trips over a loose network cable injuring himself and destroying his laptop. Assuming there's negligence involved on your part, he's got a claim.
An accident at someone else's premises
You go out to visit a client and knock over the 50" plasma in the conference room with your projector bag. Public liability policy documents better be available for that property damage!
It's not a legal requirement to have this type of commercial insurance (unless you're involved in horse riding!) but if there's any chance you could cause injury or damage to anything / anyone that isn't "owned" by your business, the peace of mind PL provides against threat to your financial assets in the event of a claim is something worth protecting. One slip by a public customer without a warning sign and you could be in for some unexpected expense..
Local authorities will always require proof of at least £2m cover and few clients will take you on without asking to see your PL certificate in case they end up needing compensation.
The amount you can cover seems enormous on public liability, but in truth claims can be very large too. Most brokers have a panel that will cover standard limits of £1m, £2m, £5m etc. Remember you could have multiple claims against you, so be careful not to under-insure. The brokers will be able to tailor a quotation to your needs based on your type of business, turnover, number of employees and level of activity (they'll take into account previous claims history and so on as you'd expect too).
What's covered under PL?
Apart from the above, public liability insurance policies may have various extra options available.
Sometimes underwriters create "business insurance" packages that might also include employer's liability for example.
A big proportion of PL policies are sold to tradesmen (building and allied trades - dryliners, plumbers, roofers, joiners, carpenters for example) so tools cover is quite often available.
Loss of earnings, loss of future earnings, legal costs (for you and a claimant) and legal expenses cover are all typical and you may also see options for cloakroom cover, car parks, data / consumer protection risks and defective premises.
This is where finding public liability quotes can get trickier. If you work with heat or at heights over 10m you're going to find yourself instantly in a higher risk category and may require more specialist underwriting.
If you deal directly with the public or local authorities, or are concerned in any way that you or your business could cause loss, damage or injury to third parties or their property on or off site - get a public liability insurance quote today!