If you work in a setting whether members of the public, clients or customers visit your business premises, it is important that you consider the benefits to public liability insurance. This type of cover is designed to protect you should someone become injured on your premises, or by you and your property. Public liability insurance will cover the costs of any legal fees, expenses and compensation which might result from a third party making a claim against you. However, it is very important that you realise that this insurance does not provide protection for your employees; you would require employers’ liability insurance.
Public liability insurance is not legally required in the UK, but it provides your business with essential protection. The law states that businesses or individuals are responsible for paying the losses caused by their business or employees, and without insurance cover, you are solely responsible for paying these costs at a loss. If you are not protected, you are open to paying for compensation awards, which can be significant lump sums, and very high legal defence costs. Before risking trading without public liability insurance, it is imperative that you consider how you would cover these costs. For small businesses, this could lead to you having to sell your house or other assets.
The amount of cover you require will depend on the size and nature of your business, but it is standard for small businesses to obtain up to £1 million of public liability insurance. Although large amounts of cover are required compared to other forms of insurance, the annual premiums are generally reasonable. When you consider the millions of pounds you could be paying out in the event of an accident, the annual premiums are very affordable.
Unfortunately many businesses in the UK decide to chance operating without public liability insurance as they do not see the risk involved. An example of an unexpected incident could be if you run a hairdressing business and when a customer comes in to book an appointment, they trip on a piece of flooring. Without public liability insurance, you could end up paying for the following:
• Evidence collection by your solicitor
• Solicitor, barrister and court fees if there is a court hearing
• Compensation, medical costs, legal fees for both parties if you lose the case
It is in the interest of your business to invest in public liability insurance before it is too late.