What you need to know about Public Liability insurance

Blogs 30 Jun 2021

FSB Insurance Service explains the important things to know about Public Liability insurance, including what it covers and when you might need it.


Public Liability insurance is an important type of business protection for many small businesses operating in the UK. But what is this form of cover, what does it protect, does your business need it, and what level of cover should you consider?

Our insurance experts from FSB Insurance Service answer your frequently asked questions. 

What is Public Liability insurance?

This form of protection covers your company if members of the public or your clients suffer an injury, or their property becomes damaged, because of your business. In the event of your business causing such an incident, the insurance covers:

  • Legal costs and expenses, as a result of defending a claim
  • Payments of compensation for an injury to a member of the public
  • Compensation payments awarded for damage to a member of the public’s property

What businesses should have this insurance?

Public Liability cover is important business insurance to have if your company is public-facing. However, it should also be considered for a company that might, at any time, come into contact with members of the public. This includes:

  • Companies where customers visit your business premises, such as a high-street shop, a cafe, or a beauty and hair salon
  • Businesses that work in people’s homes, such as a builder, electrician, or plumber
  • Companies that work in public, such as a construction worker, a shop window cleaner, or a firm carrying out repairs on a public building

While it isn’t compulsory, it’s important to mention that some clients might require Public Liability cover as part of conditions set out in a contract. Some membership bodies and regulators might also request their business members have it.

It’s worth mentioning that there’s only one type of cover that’s legally required in business, which is Employers’ Liability insurance

When might your company need Public Liability cover?

There are many situations when your business might need to protect itself with this insurance. Some examples include:

  • A customer injuring themselves after tripping over a step in a shop
  • A customer slipping and falling on a wet floor in a restaurant
  • A passer-by who’s injured by falling scaffolding, which has been erected for construction work
  • Property damaged by flooding because of a plumber incorrectly fitting a set of taps
  • A parked car that’s damaged because of a roofer, working above, accidentally dropping their equipment

What level of cover should you have?

When thinking about the level of cover that’s right for your company, it’s important to make sure that it protects both your business financially, and the interests of the public or your clients. 

The level of cover you need can depend on the daily level of risk your business undertakes. For instance, a construction worker doing dangerous jobs that, if they went wrong, could cause serious injuries to people walking by each day, would pose a high level of risk.

Also, depending on the business sector you work in, or if your company is part of a membership body, there might be a minimum level of cover you have to take. Some clients might also request that you have a specific level of cover when doing business with them. Businesses working on government contracts, for example, are usually required to have a minimum level of cover of between £5 million and £10 million.

Is your business protected?

Public Liability insurance is just one of many key types of cover that should be considered in business, especially if you’re a company that regularly comes into contact with the public.

When it comes to any type of business insurance, there’s a lot to think about to make sure it’s the right choice for your company, from types of policy to levels of protection. Check out our handy guide to setting up small business insurance to learn more

Business insurance that makes sense

FSB Insurance Service is designed by small businesses for small businesses. An award-winning full general insurance broking service with exclusive discounts, tailored support and a dedicated insurance advice line.

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FSB Insurance Service Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA Registration No: 788654 ) Registered Office: 20 Fenchurch Street, London, United Kingdom, EC3M 3AZ. Company Number: 10831430