Basics of public liability insurance for the self-employed

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For small businesses and those who are self-employed, business insurance is a necessity. Public liability insurance covers the costs of damages resulting from negligence, inaccuracy and misrepresentation, and relates specifically to bodily, property or advertising damage.

The costs incurred from accidents and oversights that larger businesses can absorb have the potential to seriously affect a smaller businesses solvency. Public liability insurance protects a business and the customer in the event of an accident, covering medical, legal, structural and other costs that a business would otherwise have sole responsibility for.

There are two main types of public liability insurance to consider: standard liability insurance for tradespeople and Professional Indemnity Insurance for those whose businesses trade in advice or consultation rather than material goods. Despite both being a form of public liability insurance, they are different and you should have a clear understanding of the damages you need to insure against.

Public Liability Insurance

Personal Liability Insurance protects customers, and your business, if they are injured on your property. If someone slips on a wet floor that doesn’t have the appropriate warning sign, then you will likely have to pay expensive medical and legal costs. It also covers damage done to other people’s property while you are working on or near it.

Despite all reasonable precautions, accidents can happen. For example, you may be installing a new kitchen counter and while doing so you accidentally severe some electrical wiring. Without public liability insurance you would be responsible for covering the costs of contracting an electrician to repair the damage. Or you may be re-wiring an old kitchen, and in doing so you puncture a concealed water pipe. You would then be responsible for contracting a plumber.

Whatever your trade, chances are that you’ll need public liability insurance. From plumbers to electricians, kitchen fitters to joiners, to painters, decorators, plasterers, and alarm fitters, all tradespeople take this sensible and necessary precaution. Although it’s not a legal requirement, many larger businesses will not offer you contracts without it, and if you are subcontracting you’ll want the peace of mind that comes with cover for the negligence of others than you have responsibility for.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

If you provide advice that directly leads to financial loss, there may be no physical damage to a person or property but you can still be liable for misrepresenting the quality of your service. Products that fail to perform, that require redesigning or substitution, can warrant a claim on behalf of a third party for the same reasons. This is a particular concern for professions such as software development, financial planning and freelance consultancy, and estate agents, architects, engineers and interior designers regularly obtain professional indemnity insurance.

The difference in the rational between the two types of insurance is minimal, but in practice they cover very different scenarios.

Choosing a Policy

Whichever type of insurance is most suitable to your business, you will need to review the details of your policy very carefully to make sure important aspects are covered. Those offering cheaper insurance are often able to do so through excluding certain aspects of cover, such as working at heights. If you’re regularly on a ladder, having insurance that only covers working on the ground will not be very useful. Insurance firms like AXA Business that provide a range of different policy options are more likely to be able to tailor a policy to your needs.

As with all other insurance, you should compare policies and prices from at least 4 different companies, and make sure that the company you go with has a sound reputation.

Comments: 13

  1. Janetta July 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I am attempting to start my very own Market Stall but I am discovering it challenging the data which i need.

    To date My studies have shown which i require a to cover a couple of licenses for example Public liability,Defective products etc which i must purchase pitch etc, but there’s still many details that needed for example so how exactly does Tax work and just how do to locate a warehouse near me that sells in my experience cheap to be able to match other market stall prices. I’ve got a couple of family people who are curious about helping me and selected who’s the correct one to become my lady is difficult, after i do can there be any benefits will be able to claim just just in case I haven’t got a great month ?.

    I am fully aware that’s is effort managing a market stall , I understand that ill be getting out of bed at 3am and going to a warehouse for stock, then ill load my goods into my van, then heading lower towards the market and being designated a pitch and setup my stall, then all day long selling which after ill clean up mind home after which begin to sort the debts and eat sleep then repeat although the week. Lengthy hrs yes but I am willing allow it my favorite shot until i understand it properly.

    I’ve much research to complete still, but could anyone point me inside a stronger position for information that’s in additional dummy terms as I am not the wisest of individuals around, a great deal off the details are in very difficult to understand sentences .#

    Please are only able to those who have know age on running company’s please answer, I am greatly seriously interested in this. I am thinking about what financial options are for sale to me and requesting information in the Job center with my own agent come in a few days.

  2. Donny August 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    yeah im in science and i have to understand how old you need to be to possess public insurance assist me … QUICK !!

  3. Joe August 29, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I am 17 and I’m wondering if it might be useful beginning my very own small company to employ out a jumping castle within my neighborhood.

    (Victoria, Australia)

    The only issue is i am unsure how to begin and i am concerned about public insurance (Just how much would that cost?) because the last factor I would like is perfect for anyone to harmed.

    Has anybody had experience in this region and have any tips/advice for me personally?

    Much appreciated.

  4. Carmen August 31, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Hi all,

    My pal and that i are joinly establishing a promotions agency for brand promotion jobs etc. How can i find public insurance with this and just how much does it cost approximately?

  5. Georgine October 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    I’m leasing a studio inside a large mill building. The galleries for rental are suitable for business reasons only, not for residential reasons. I have to be covered for $1,000,000 public insurance based on my lease. I’ve been searching around, however it appears i’m able to only find regular tenants insurance, generally for leasing a location where you reside. I do not fully realize much about insurance, so any information could be useful.



  6. Margorie November 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I wish to exhibit in a gallery that has proven my work before. I would need to pay a charge to effectively rent the area for any period. The gallery would have a 25% commission on any sales. It’s run like a business but has charitable status.

    The very first time they’re asking me to supply proof of public insurance. Shouldn’t this maintain place, supplied by the gallery, because the proprietors/companies from the premises? Surely I haven’t got to insure against someone being shocked with a colour combination or upset with a painting.

    I realize which i have obligations like a maker of objects available however this is dissimilar to safeguarding 3rd party interest although viewing my operate in a gallery.

    I’ve showed within this gallery two times before without needing to remove insurance . There’s been no alternation in management since that time.

  7. Despina January 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Hi, so my buddies and that i are getting a celebration inside a month and we are thinking about holding it in a local school hall. I known as the individual responsible for organizing the hall hire plus they stated which i need public insurance to employ it for that evening. How do you start obtaining the insurance and roughly just how much does it cost? We would have liked to employ the area for around four hrs and employ it to support about 15 people. Simple solutions might be best since I’m not sure all of the fancy words explaining finances and Insurance. Thanks!

  8. Ivory January 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    What’s companies liability and public insurance?

    Just how much does they often cost?

    Are each of them cover all employees?

    Should i buy per worker?


  9. Devon March 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    im searching for a great, cheap insurance provider for any one-time event in leicester U.K. anyone are conscious of a business?

  10. Marylynn March 23, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Hi all,

    I have just lately setup my very own entertainment agency. Just wondering where a good option is to buy public insurance from for the artistes on the books? Any specialist insurance brokers?

    Also…will i need companies insurance if im only gonna “subcontract” artistes (i.e. they work with me within contract that states they’re self-employed)?

    Thank you,


  11. Cherlyn March 24, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    3weeks ago I’d reserved a task day, that was for tomorrow.

    Today, i get a message from the organization proclaiming that the entire day has become cancelled because of an excessive amount of wind and will also be harmful.

    I reserved 2 train tickets early today and since now i have to cancel them i’ll lose half the quantity of the tickets, as many as £20

    Should not the game company be prone to pay this given that they cancelled?

    There’s nothing online which states such liabilities and just states: our teachers have full public insurance

    exactly what does that even mean? and when nothing, then how about my train ticket costs?

    How do you handle this case?

  12. Amanda March 30, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Hunting/pest management with my air rifle is my hobby and i’m searching for land to shoot on,i hear that getting Public Insurance will improve my likelihood of locating a spot to shoot since many landowners dont want the danger,so basicly i just have insurance for just about any damages/injurys etc? from hunting,anybody be aware of best (much less costly) spot to have this is? thanks

    P.S – No wise ass remarks please,in case your against hunting/pest management then fair enough,this isn’t a debate,only a question from the law abiding citizen,thankyou.

    im within the united kingdom,pest management could be bunnies,pidgeons corvids,rats etc,i am not sure why landowners need it but i have to have it to up my likelihood of locating a shoot

  13. Brinda June 4, 2014 at 12:42 am


    I’m presently establishing an IT Support business to help individuals within my area using their computing needs.

    One factor I am searching at now’s insurance

    i’m 14 years of age and that i cant really find anywhere that is going to do it.

    i understand there most likely is not one around nevertheless its worth a go.


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