Public liability insurance

Covers you for injury or property damage to your clients, suppliers, contractors or members of the public.

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You can't control everything in business, but you can insure against the worst. Unfortunately, accidents are part of life - and often outside your control. That's why we have public liability insurance.

In 2013/2014, the UK government's Compensation Recovery Unit recorded over 103,000 public liability claims, up from 94,000 in 2010/2011.

Meanwhile, last year liability insurers paid out around £6m every day to protect businesses from these types of claims.

From £5.13 per month

Covers legal costs
Liability for bodily injury
Liability for damage
Court attendance costs

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Why public liability insurance?

Accidents happen

Slips, trips, smashes and crashes – accidents are part of life. But if you or one of your employees causes an injury or property damage to a member of the public, the legal fees and compensation could be crippling.

If the worst happens, public liability insurance will pick up the bill.

Clients expect it

Many companies now insist that their suppliers have public liability insurance, so you could be at a competitive disadvantage if you don't.

Some bigger clients could request a minimum of £5 million or even £10 million in cover, so you'll need a policy that matches their requirements.

Compensation culture

The rise of 'no win, no fee' services has made the chances of a facing a claim more likely, however real or spurious it may be.

It only takes an allegation that you've done something wrong and these services make it easy to claim against you.

Why you may need to review your public liability insurance?

You should keep an eye on your PL cover over time, as the level you need is likely to change as your business grows and evolves. This means reviewing your needs on at least an annual basis, or you could be in for a nasty shock if anything does go wrong. Find out more

Public liability insurance guide

What is public liability insurance?

We've all been there. You doze off for a second or leave something in a precarious position, and all of a sudden - crash! Mistakes and accidents happen in business, however much you try to avoid them. But, if the actions of you or one of your employees cause injury or property damage to a member of the public, then the fall-out for your finances and reputation could be catastrophic - particularly if you're a startup or small business.

Lawsuits, compensation claims and spiralling costs, not to mention the stress and worry on top. But with public liability insurance it's all taken care of, as any compensation and legal costs will be picked up by us. So, you can relax and stay focused on growing your business.

Who needs public liability cover?

Public liability cover provides vital protection to any business that comes into contact with members of the public – that includes clients, suppliers, contractors or anybody else not employed by you.

It's particularly important if you're involved in managing events, organising photography or filming, or hosting customers and clients at your premises.

And while it isn't a legal requirement, a certain level of cover is often stipulated by some industry bodies, plus you may find that clients request it, so it could help you win business (or not lose it!)

What risks does public liability insurance address?

Potential hazards are everywhere, from a box left where it shouldn't be,to equipment coming loose at an event, or wires left trailing by your film crew. One false move or a bit of bad luck, and in the blink of an eye, you're on the phone to a lawyer.

Even if it wasn't your fault, ‘no win, no fee' services mean you can still face liability and compensation claims. And with payouts running into the hundreds of thousands, or even millions, the right PL protection is more than worth the investment.

What to look for in a public liability policy

Before committing to a public liability policy, check whether your clients, potential clients, or your industry body has any requirements regarding the level of cover you hold. Some organisations, particularly government contracts request a minimum cover limit, such as £5 million or £10m.

Also ensure your PL cover incorporates all the activities you're involved in, by disclosing any relevant details to your provider, For example, if your employees are involved in working at heights or heavy lifting, your insurer needs to be aware of this.

Other covers to consider

Professional indemnity insurance

Covers your liability to customers for professional mistakes, errors or omissions in services you provide.

Employers liability insurance

Covers your liability to employees for bodily injury or work-related sickness.

Cyber insurance

Covers your liability for failing to protect data, as well as penalties for not complying with data protection law.

Contents and equipment insurance

Protects your property against theft, loss or damage.

Management liability

Covers you for negligence in media content and advertising, including website, blogs and social media.

Commercial legal protection

Covers compensation awards, professional fees and legal costs associated with a range of legal disputes.

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Award-winning insurance

We're the British Insurance Awards 2018 Insurance Start-up Winner - recognised for our innovative range of covers, online customer experience and flexible subscription model, which make buying and managing insurance easy and accessible for businesses in the digital industries.

Public and product liability insurance FAQs

What is public liability and what does it cover?

Public liability insurance, much like employers liability, protects your business in the event of any personal injury or property damage claims made by a member of the public, picking up the cost of legal fees and/or compensation payments.

What is product liability and what does it cover?

Unlike public liability cover, this policy protects your business against claims for personal injury or property damage caused by a product your business designed, sold or supplied. It will cover prospective legal fees and potential compensation payments, so you have one less thing to worry about.

What kind of businesses do you provide cover for?

Digital Risks covers a broad range of business types. Whether you’re an established company, a small startup, or you work as a contractor or freelancer, we can certainly take care of you. When you start an online quote, just start typing the first few letters of your business activity and our system will do the rest. And if it’s not on the list, give us a call and we’ll sort you out with a tailored policy.

Is it mandatory to take out public and product liability insurance?

Though it’s not a legal requirement, you may find that clients and suppliers require PL as a condition of working with them, so it should be a serious consideration.

Even if your business is office-based, you’ll no doubt have clients or members of the public visiting you from time to time, or your staff will spend time out and about at events. And if an accident happens, either on your premises, or as a result of your activities elsewhere, you could be held liable, with serious financial repercussions for your business.

It’s also good to have the assurance that any damage caused by your products, if they fail or malfunction, will be taken care of, both in terms of legal fees,compensation payments and reputational damage that could result.

Do I need a public and product liability certificates?

Public and product liability certificates prove to your customers that your business is insured for potential risks. Unlike an employer’s liability certificate, you aren’t legally required to display a PL certificate but it can help to give your customers peace of mind and reassure them that you’re a responsible company.

What is not covered by public and product Liability insurance?

Though it covers a lot of bases, public and product liability insurance will not protect you from claims for the following:

Mistakes or professional disregard (this can be covered by professional indemnity insurance)
Injuries or damage to your own employees (for this you need employers liability insurance)
Damage inflicted as a result of data breach (which can, of course, be covered by a separate cyber liability cover)

What are the levels of this cover and how much will it cost me?

This, like with most of other policies, depends on the nature of your business. With Digital Risks, you can choose a limit cover between £1m, £2m or £5 million.

How can I pay for my cover?

At Digital Risks, we don’t like to put constraints on anyone, especially our customers. All of our policies are sold as flexible pay-monthly subscriptions, helping you to manage your cash flow, and giving you the freedom to change or cancel your cover at any time.

How do I get an invoice?

Invoices for your monthly payments are available on request, so all you need to do is give us a call (or drop us a line), and we’ll get the requested dates sent out to you as quickly as possible. Alternatively, we can set your account up so you automatically receive these on a monthly basis.

How can I make changes to my public and products liability policy or make a claim?

Our monthly subscription model gives you ultimate flexibility, with the option to cancel or change your cover at any time. A small business can grow and change quite frequently, which is why we made it incredibly easy to amend your policy - just get in touch with us by phone, email or webchat in the bottom right corner of this page.

Same goes for making a claim. We won’t burden you with loads of process and paperwork. All you need to do is let us know what happened and we’ll sort everything out for you as soon as possible.

What excess would I need to pay?

Our online public and product liability cover has a standard excess of £250 per claim. All other expenses and costs will be covered on our side. Please be aware, however, that for offline advised clients who have tailormade policies, the excesses do vary depending on the risk.

What kind of claims does public and product liability cover?

Whereas employer’s liability protects you from accident or injury claims from your employees, public liability does the same for the members of the public, including your customers.There’s plenty that can go wrong, but no matter what happens, you can rest assured that you’ll be covered with a public and product liability policy.

  • Spilling a coffee over your own laptop is devastating enough, but imagine you do it to somebody else’s. That person would be well within their rights to make a property damage claim against you, in which case, public liability insurance would pick up all the costs involved.
  • If your building doesn’t comply with health and safety standards and a customer has an accident or falls ill, you could face a legal claim, compensation payments and fines to the Health & Safety Executive - not to mention damage to your reputation. If that happens, public Liability insurance will cover all the costs involved in a claim.
  • In the event that a product your business has designed, produced or supplied causes physical damage to one of your customers, negative online reviews will be the least of your worries. Any affected customers will also have grounds for a legal claim against your business, and costs could run into the hundreds of thousands of pounds, or more, not to mention reputational damage and the cost of communicating the risk with other customers. If this happens, a watertight product liability policy will help you to fulfill all your responsibilities and get your business back on its feet.

What else do I need?

If you employ one or more people, your must-have cover is employers' liability, which is a legal requirement and you could face hefty fines if you don’t have it. Luckily at Digital Risks, we make it easy with a package including employers', public and product liability. So you’ve got all bases covered.

In addition, you may also want to consider taking out professional indemnity insurance, which covers you if one of your clients suffers - or claims they suffered - financial losses due to your profes

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The 12 risks of Xmas: on the seventh day of Xmas...

Sore heads after festive shenanigans can be a big information security challenge. It’s easier than ever to accidentally copy in the wrong email addresses or wrongly attach confidential files.

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The 12 risks of Xmas: on the sixth day of Xmas...

The modern workplace movement - encouraged by the Silicon Valley tech giants - has worked wonders for the work environment. But with many workplaces holding office-based parties, the potential for injury is much higher.

6 Dec 2019
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The 12 risks of Xmas: on the fifth day of Xmas...

With office parties in full swing, the festive season is a peak time for property damage. Whether dancing on the tables, or trying to perform gymnastic feats around the pot plants, at Christmas, no computer, table or chair is truly safe.

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Excellent value at an affordable monthly cost. I have not needed use the services. But its good to know I have the insurance there to allow me to get on with my work.

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Flexible. simple, easy, immediate. As a busy freelancer I need flexibility to potentially change the policy month by month - very handy and a feature I didn't find with other providers.

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Excellent service, and really lovely people. Completely understanding of small or start up businesses, and a willingness/ability to be flexible. I'm very happy.

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A super slick interface and all around great experience. Thumbs up Digital Risks! Having spoken to a number of "large" insurers, the pricing I received from Digital Risks was much more competitively priced for "like for like" cover. Highly recommended.

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The FCA supervises UK financial services firms to protect consumers. We are directly authorised and regulated by the FCA and our Firm Reference Number is 656459. These details can be confirmed on the Financial Services Register at www.fca.org.uk or by calling the FCA on 0845 606 1234.

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Our insurance products are underwritten by Standard & Poor’s A-rated financial strength or higher. This means the underwriter has been independently assessed by the world’s leading credit rating provider and found to have a strong capacity to meet financial commitments (pay claims).

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If you are a business with an annual turnover under £1m, charity with an annual income under £1m, or trust with net assets under £1m, then you will be entitled to compensation from the FSCS in the unlikely event we cannot meet our obligations. Full details and further information on the scheme are available at www.fscs.org.uk