If your business has customers on its premises or it operates in people’s homes or in public areas it is advisable to take out public liability insurance to financially protect your business from any claims for injury or damage to property.
Many businesses will be asked to provide this cover if operating in a public space and many contracts may stipulate a minimum level of cover.
Public liability insurance is a common type of insurance that many providers combine with other insurance products as well as offering it as a standalone product. We have examined both standalone and combined cover to see what is available.
The table below gives a quick comparison of the top UK providers for public liability insurance.
|Company||Minimum cover||Maximum cover|
|Aviva||£1 million||£5 million|
|AIG||Not stated||Not stated|
|RSA||Not stated||Not stated|
|AXA||Not stated||£5 million|
|Direct Line for Business||£1 million||£10 million|
|ACE||Not stated||Not stated|
|Ageas||Not stated||Not stated|
|QBE||Not stated||£100 million|
|Lloyds Banking Group||Not stated||£5 million|
|Chubb||Not stated||Not stated|
|Covéa||Not stated||£5 million|
|HDI||Not stated||Not stated|
|Hiscox||Not stated||£10 million|
|AmTrust Europe||Not stated||£5 million|
|Markel direct||Not stated||£5 million|
|Travelers||£5 million||£10 million|
|Tokio Marine||Not stated||Not stated|
|NIG||Not stated||£10 million|
|Churchill||£1 million||£10 million|
|Glemham Insurance||Not stated||£10 million|
* The facts and figures included here come from each company’s website and were accurate at the time of writing (March 2022) but may have since changed. Also, please keep in mind these may not be apples to apples comparisons as each provider offers different solutions. This guide should be used as a starting off point for more research on your part.
Below we profile each of the companies’ services and features in a bit more detail.
Note companies are ranked in no particular order and this no way indicates one solution is better than another. Moreover, SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk is not regulated by the FCA and so we can’t recommend any particular product/company as being better than any other.
Some of the features and benefits of Aviva’s public liability insurance.
- Cover for injury or property damage claims from members of the public
- Provides protection for the cost the claims
- Includes legal fees, expenses and compensation payouts
- They will handle the claim for you
- Not a legal requirement but is often required by clients or other businesses
- Covers the public visiting your premises
- Also includes visiting customer’s home or other premises
- Covers you and your employees
- Flexible cover up to £5 million
- Offers some complementary cover for free
Aviva provides public liability insurance that gives businesses the protection they need to cover them for claims from members of the public for personal injury or property damage. Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, but it is advisable for all businesses that interact with the public, however, it may also be necessary when working on contracts or conducting business in a public space.
Aviva’s public liability insurance provides protection that will cover the cost of any claims which will include the legal fees, expenses and compensation payouts. It covers both you and your employees whilst on your premises and outside them whilst conducting business activities.
Some of the features and benefits of AIG’s public liability insurance.
- General liabilities insurance
- Covers public and products liability
- Also can include employer’s liability
- Offers excess liability
- Covers crisis containment
- Includes product recall
- Available to UK based businesses and those trading aboard
- Can also insure businesses that are based abroad but want UK based insurance
- Covers businesses trading in the US
- Multinational insurance solutions
AIG offers a wide range of business insurance products which includes business protection products that include liabilities insurance. They provide their liabilities insurance as a combined product called General Liabilities. This product combines public liability, product liability, employer’s liability and excess liability.
AIG’s General Liabilities insurance is available to businesses that are based in the UK, but they can also trade abroad in other markets including the US. They can provide insurance to businesses that are not based in the UK if they specifically want insurance from the London insurance market. Their cover also includes crisis containment and product recalls.
Some of the features and benefits of RSA’s public liability insurance.
- Managing risks through dedicated insurance
- Bespoke liability solutions
- Will work with you to create the most effective cover
- Covers accidental injury and damage to properties
- Also cover loss and interference as a result of trespass or nuisance
- Will protect against financial loss
- High level of technical expertise
- Offers crisis management response and support
- Available to a range of businesses including retail, transport, engineering and professional services
- Can offer global programmes covering 170 countries
RSA provides business insurance that includes risk managed insurance products which include general liability. They provide a combined liability cover which includes both public liability and product liability under a product called General Liability insurance.
RSA’s general liability insurance protects businesses from financial loss due to accidental injury, accidental loss or damage to property, interference with or loss of enjoyment of a property resulting from trespass or nuisance. They will work closely with you to understand your business and will create bespoke solutions that will give you the most effective cover.
Some of the features and benefits of AXA’s public liability insurance.
- Protect against claims from the public for injury or damage to property
- Covers for legal defence and compensation costs
- Tailor your policy with a choice of cover level
- Simple and quick insurance
- Cover up to £5 million
- Provides compensation for court attendance
- Includes cover for temporary staff
- Offers a range of optional extras
- 24-hour legal helpline
- Cover from £58 per year
AXA provides business insurance that can help you to protect your business from claims. Public liability insurance covers against claims resulting from work rated incidents in both the workplace or outside of it including in member of the public’s home. It covers both personal injury and damage to property.
AXA’s public liability will pay for your legal defence if a claim arises and any resulting compensation costs. They will tailor your policy to you with a choice of cover level as well as offering a range of optional extras. They state that their cover is simple to set up and they are quick to respond.
5. Direct Line for Business
Some of the features and benefits of Direct Line for Business’ public liability insurance.
- Cover for legal and compensation costs
- Protection against claims from customers and members of the public
- Covers for illness or injury caused by your business
- Includes damage to property
- Sector-specific cover
- Includes product liability
- Cover from £1 million to £10 million
- Not a legal requirement but makes good business sense
- Can add it to their other policies
- Guarantee to beat any quote or renewal
Direct Line for Business offers public liability insurance to their customers as part of other insurance products as a combined policy, they do not sell it as a standalone policy. All public liability cover includes product liability for added protection.
Direct Line for Business’ public liability insurance provides protection against claims for illness and injury as well as damage to property resulting from your business and employees’ activities. It provides cover for legal expenses and compensation costs. They offer sector-specific insurance that caters for industry needs. They offer cover from £1 million to £10 million.
Some of the features and benefits of ACE’s public liability insurance.
- Protection against claims from members of the public
- Covers personal injury and property damage
- Flexible policies
- Affordable quotes
- Claim to have a first-class service
- Insurance to give you peace of mind
- Combine with another complementary cover
- Provides product liability
- Offers employer’s liability
- Purchase direct from them
ACE offers business insurance that covers a range of liability insurances. Public liability protects your business against any claims from the public for injuries or damage caused to property as a result of your business. They also offer employer’s liability to cover claims from employees and product liability to cover injury or damage from your product.
ACE’s public liability insurance provides a policy that gives great flexibility and complete peace of mind for businesses that they can operate without worrying about claims from the public. You may be required to have public liability insurance as part of a contract or a condition for using a public space.
Some of the features and benefits of Ageas’s public liability insurance.
- Can be combined into all their insurance packages
- By combining cover you can benefit from savings
- Combined cover can create a more comprehensive cover
- Protection against public claims
- Cover for personal injury and damage to property
- Financially cover the costs of claims
- Tailored products
- Purchase through a broker
Ageas provides a wide range of business insurance that is tailored to specific needs and professions to deliver comprehensive insurance cover. They do not sell public liability insurance separately, but they offer as part of all their insurance packages alongside employer’s liability and product liability.
Ageas’s combined insurance could offer better value for money as you purchase all the insurance cover you need in a single package to create one comprehensive policy. The public liability insurance will cover claims from members of the public for personal injury and damage to property will cover the cost of these claims.
Some of the features and benefits of QBE’s public liability insurance.
- Peace of mind protection
- Fulfils your duty to your customers by having cover
- Assistance to mitigate the costs of claims against you
- Cover for injury and damage
- Tailored cover
- Cover up to the value of £100 million
- Fast payout once the claim criteria are met
- A dedicated team of claims professionals
- Access to loss adjusters and rehabilitation team
- International capabilities
QBE provides business insurance that can help protect your business against risks and claims which include liability insurance. They provide a broad range of liability cover that includes public liability, product liability and employer’s liability. These products are designed to give peace of mind and fulfil your duty to the public, customers and employees.
QBE’s public liability insurance will help you mitigate against the cost of a claim from a member of the public resulting from personal injury and damage to property. They will tailor the cover to meet your needs and you can combine it with another cover.
9. Lloyds Banking Group
Some of the features and benefits of Lloyds Banking Group’s public liability insurance.
- Protection from claims from the public
- Choice of cover options
- Cover from £53
- Designed for tradesmen and the self-employed
- Can tailor your policy to meet your needs
- Covers compensation costs and legal fees
- Includes your premises and working in other environments
- Can combine it will other insurance to create sector-specific packages
- Offers complementary insurance
- Access to specialist insurance providers
- Purchase direct from their panel of insurers
Lloyds Banking Group provides public indemnity insurance through a panel of insurers which gives businesses protection from claims from members of the public. They provide a choice of cover that is designed to meet the needs of tradesmen and the self-employed with cover from as little as £53.
Lloyds Banking Group’s public liability insurance provides cover that will pay the legal fees to fight any claims and any resulting compensation costs. The policy provides cover for businesses in their own premises and working on other premises and environments.
Some of the features and benefits of Chubb’s public liability insurance.
- Protection for your business against claims
- Standalone or part of a combined package
- Bespoke cover that meets your needs
- Offers high levels of indemnity
- Can combine it with another cover
- Appetite for insuring difficult to cover
- Global insurance provider
- Available through brokers
Chubb provides business insurance in the UK and worldwide to businesses of all sizes. They provide a range of liability insurance which includes public liability, product liability and employer’s liability. They offer public liability as either a standalone product or as part of their combined insurance packages designed for specific sectors or needs.
Chubb’s public liability insurance offers high levels of indemnity and they have an appetite for insuring difficult to cover businesses and products. Chubb provides international insurance products and can offer cover for the UK and abroad. They do not sell their insurance direct but through brokers.
Some of the features and benefits of Covea’s public liability insurance.
- Incorporated into most insurance products
- Combined products are designed for modern businesses
- Can be tailored to meet your needs
- Offers optional cover in a modular design
- Public liability offering extended cover to guard against more risks
- Covers liability for injury and damage to property
- Cover up to £5 million
- 24-hour claim helpline
- 24-hour legal advice line
- Award-winning claim service
Covea provides combined business insurance that offers public liability as a standard option to protect your business from liability claims from members of the public who have suffered from an injury or damage to their property as a result of your business. They design their cover to meet the needs of modern businesses which are built in a modular way.
Covea’s public liability insurance covers injury and damage to property which includes nuisance, trespass, obstruction and inference with cover that can be for up to £5 million. Their public liability cover has been extended to include environmental cleanup costs, Legionellosis, libel and slander.
Some of the features and benefits of HDI’s public liability insurance.
- Minimise the impact of loss and preserving your reputation
- Cover for injury and damage of property
- Pays for legal fees and compensation payments
- Bespoke insurance solutions
- Caters for their clients’ needs
- A professional and experienced provider
- Can be written at primary and excess of loss layers
- Offers a range of complementary insurance
- Highly experienced claims team
- International insurance cover
HDI is an international provider of business insurance products that include a wide range of liability insurance including public liability, product liability and employer’s liability that can be extended to include environmental risks, financial loss and professional indemnity.
HDI’s public liability insurance covers you against claims for personal injury and damage to property as a result of your business. It will pay for both your legal fees and any resulting compensation claims and minimise the damage and loss to your business. They tailor their products to meet their client’s needs and they can write it with primary and excess loss layers.
Some of the features and benefits of Hiscox’s public liability insurance.
- Protection against personal injury and property damage
- Covers legal defence and compensation
- Includes criminal defence costs
- Tailored cover
- Cover for up to £10 million
- No admin fees for amending your policy
- Cover from £55 per year
- Combined cover under their business liability package
- Immediate cover and documentation
- Can be purchased direct
Hiscox offers business insurance to a wide variety of business types and sizes which includes a range of liability insurance which includes public liability, product liability and employer’s liability. You can purchase public liability direct from Hiscox as either standalone cover or as part of a combined policy such as their business liability package.
Hiscox’s public liability insurance will cover your legal defence costs including criminal defence and any compensation payments for claims from personal injury and property damage. They will tailor the cover to meet your business needs with cover available up to £10 million. Their public liability policies can be as low as £55 per year.
14. AmTrust Europe
Some of the features and benefits of AmTrust Europe’s public liability insurance.
- Protection against third-party claims
- Competitive pricing
- Tailored cover
- Designed for businesses such as contracting, service industry and leisure
- Cover up to £5 million
- Can include primary and excess capacity
- Caters for small to medium-sized businesses
- Offers complementary cover
- Available through brokers
- Operates in the UK and internationally
AmTrust Europe provides a range of liability products for the business insurance market which includes public liability, product liability and employer’s liability. They provide protection against third party claims and public liability protects against claims from the public resulting from personal injury or damage to property.
AmTrust Europe target their liability insurance products largely to contractors, light manufacturers, service sector, haulage and leisure industries. Their cover can include primary and excess capacity with cover up to £5 million. They offer competitive cover to small to medium sized business that can be tailored to meet their business needs.
15. Markel Direct
Some of the features and benefits of Markel direct’s public liability insurance.
- Protect your business against claims
- Covers legal fees and compensation payments
- Combined cover with product liability available
- Includes third party injuries and property damage
- Suitable to professions such as consultants, IT, teachers, instructors and photographers
- Cover up to £5 million
- Instant cover and documentation
- No hidden fees or cancellation charges
- Cover from £5 per month
- Buy direct with a quote within 90 seconds
Markel direct provides business insurance that can help protect businesses from third party claims which include public liability, product liability and employer’s liability insurance. Their public liability insurance covers for the event any third-party claims for compensation resulting from injury and property damage.
Markel direct’s public liability insurance can be provided as combined cover with product liability which covers for harm caused by your products. It covers legal fees and any resulting compensation claims. They provide cover for up £5 million with cover starting from £5 per month. They provide quick quotes and instant cover with documentation and cover certificates being emailed straight away.
Some of the features and benefits of Travelers’ public liability insurance.
- Mitigate for legal liability risks
- Financial protection against claims from the public
- Will handle any claims efficiently and minimise disruption to your business
- Covers injury and property damage
- Includes legal costs and compensation
- Will help to minimise your risk exposure
- Suited to small and large businesses
- Increasingly litigious environments make insurance more essential
- Experienced and qualified underwriters
- Can be combined with either employer’s or product liability insurance
Travelers is a business insurance provider that offers a range of liability insurance which includes public liability, product liability and employer’s liability. Public liability is not sold as a standalone product but can be included in their sector-specific insurance products as well with either product liability or employer’s liability insurance.
Traveler’s public liability insurance is designed to help businesses minimise their risk as well as provide financial protection against any claims from members of the public for personal injury or damage to their property. They aim to minimise any disruption to the business whilst a claim is being handled.
17. Tokio Marine
Some of the features and benefits of Tokio Marine’s public liability insurance.
- Covers your legal liability for claims
- Protects against claims for injury, illness and property damage
- Financial cover for the cost and expenses of legal action
- Covers compensation claims
- Flexible cover that can be tailored to your needs
- Premiums vary depending on the cover selected
- A range of indemnity limit
- Option to extend your cover
- International provider
- Can be purchased direct or through an agent
Tokio Marine is an international insurance company that offers a variety of business insurance products that help businesses to mitigate against any liability claims which include public liability, product liability and employer’s liability insurance.
Tokio Marine’s public liability insurance covers businesses for their legal liability and financial costs for claims from members of the public. The cover protects against personal injury and property damage claims by covering the financial costs of legal fees and compensation payments. Their policies are flexible and can be tailored to meet your needs with the amount of cover and the ability to extend your cover to optional extras.
Some of the features and benefits of NIG’s public liability insurance.
- Financial protection to cover claims
- Covers claims for injury and property damage
- Bespoke policies tailored to your industry sector
- Includes court attendance costs for employees
- Designed for small to medium-sized businesses
- Cover up to £10 million
- Combined with sector-specific and comprehensive business cover
- Optional extra cover can be added
- 24-hour advice lines
- Can be purchased direct
NIG is an insurance provider that offers businesses comprehensive insurance cover that combines many essential and necessary products. They provide sector-specific insurance and business combined insurance which includes public liability insurance which can provide cover up to £10 million.
NIG’s public liability insurance will cover your business against the risk of any claims from members of the public for personal injury and damage to property as a result of your business. They will cover the financial costs of legal fees and compensation as well as paying court attendance costs for directors and employees at a fixed daily rate.
Some of the features and benefits of Churchill’s public liability insurance.
- Protects against claims from members of the public
- Covers injury or damage to property
- Minimise the stress and financial strain from accidents
- Includes legal and compensation costs
- Designed for tradesmen and self-employed professions
- Offers cover from £1 million to 10 million
- Will allocate a personal claims handler
- Free 24/7 legal helpline
- Offers a 10% discount to existing customers
- Can be combined into specific trades insurance packages
Churchill is an insurance provider that offers business insurance to tradesmen and self-employed business professionals to protect them from liabilities. They offer public liability insurance as a standalone product or as part of a combined package that is tailored to specific trades. If you are an existing Churchill customer, they will offer you a 10% discount.
Churchill’s public liability insurance aims to minimise the stress and financial strain from accidents and subsequent claims through providing cover for injuries and damage to property to pay for legal fees and compensation costs. They provide a free legal helpline and will allocate a personal claims handler to manage any claims against you.
20. Glemham Insurance
Some of the features and benefits of Glemham Insurance’s public liability insurance.
- Protect your business against third-party claims
- Covers injury and damage to property
- Also covers overseas business trips
- Includes legal costs and expenses
- Target businesses such as manufacturers, distributors, engineers and lifestyle products
- Cover up to £10 million
- Standalone or combined liability insurance
- Also offers employer’s liability and product liability
- Can add professional indemnity and excess layer liability
- Can be purchased direct
Glemham Insurance provides a range of business insurance products which includes liability insurance which can be purchased as a standalone or combined liability insurance product. Their combined liability product can include employer’s liability and product liability. You can also add professional indemnity insurance and excess layer liability.
Glemham Insurance’s public liability insurance will protect you from third-party claims from members of the public due to an injury or damage to property as a result of your business. Their cover will pay your legal fees and expenses. Their cover will also cover employees abroad when travelling for business.
What is public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance is a type of business insurance cover that protects any type of business – from a sole trader to a small business – in the instance where your business is taken to court by customers, clients or any members of the public.
If a member of the public tries to sue your business, then public liability cover will pay all the costs for the legal process, including any settlement money you may have to pay.
Public liability insurance cover will pay for any costs of injuries to someone due to your business activities.
Do I need to have public liability insurance?
Public liability cover is not legally required in the UK, however small business owners should consider this type of insurance (along with employers liability insurance and product liability insurance) if they deal with members of the public.
This type of cover will protect your business if anyone from the public takes legal action against your business for any injury or damages.
Any business that comes in contact with the public should consider business liability insurance.
To check whether you should consider getting public liability cover, ask yourself the following questions:
Is your business in contact with the public?
Do you offer a service or trade?
If you answered yes, it would be in your best interest to take out this type of insurance.
Can anyone take out public liability insurance?
Any business owner can take out public liability insurance. Despite it not being a legal requirement, a lot of trade associations require it before a business is allowed to trade.
What is the difference between personal and public liability insurance?
Personal liability insurance
Personal liability insurance will protect an individual if they are ever held legally responsible for injury or property damage to another person or business.
This type of liability covers legal fees or any damages that an individual is required to pay.
In the UK, not a lot of people take out public liability insurance, however, it is included in a lot of insurance offers.
Public liability insurance
Public liability insurance protects a business from any legal claims made against the business.
If someone from the public suffers personal injury or property damages due to the activities of the business, the insurance will cover the costs of legal proceedings as well as any payouts required.
Do I need public liability insurance if I have no employees?
Public liability insurance covers any legal expenses when a member makes a claim against your business, so even if you are a sole trader without employees, it will be a good idea to get this type of insurance if you deal with members of the public – although it is not a legal obligation.
If you do have employees, consider getting employer’s insurance, as it protects your business and will cover employees who make legal claims against the business.
What happens if you have no public liability insurance?
It is not a legal requirement to get public liability insurance, however, having this insurance policy will protect your business if there is ever legal action brought against your business.
But, what will happen if you do not have this type of insurance?
If a member of the public files a claim against you, you will be notified by the courts. You will have to hire a solicitor who will help to collect evidence for a defence against the compensation claims.
Any compensation costs related to the injuries or damages to the claimant, and any losses, will have to be paid by your business if the claim is successful.
Your business will also have to cover everyone’s legal fees, court fees and any medical fees.
If the claim was unsuccessful, then you can claim back any losses, however, you might not be able to claim them all back – thereby still losing money. The claimant might not be held responsible for your legal costs.
What’s the difference between public liability and legal liability?
Business Legal Liability is part of civil and criminal law. Protects a business from any financial losses if the business has to pay for personal injury or property damage claims.
Legal liability is a type of liability that is enforced by law on a person, business or other entity that has caused injury or damages. This type of liability forces the entity or person responsible to pay financial compensation – whether the acts that caused the injury were intentional or not.
Public liability is taken out voluntarily by a business to cover any potential legal fees and compensations in the case that a legal claim is brought against the business by a member of the public.
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