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Public liability insurance covers you, your business and its employees. Especially the clumsy ones.
If there's an accident and someone's injured or their property's damaged (and it's deemed your fault), you could be held liable.
And it doesn't take much: a client tripping over an ill-placed briefcase; a coffee-soaked laptop; or someone slipping on a loose carpet can all spell painful trouble. Ouch.
It could mean a claim against you for bodily injury or property damage and, potentially, a very big bill for legal costs and compensation. Defending yourself is necessary, time-consuming and very expensive. Ouch indeed.
Public liability insurance covers your legal costs and any awards paid to your client. Having it means your business won't slip up – even if someone else does.
It’d be great if we could say that and mean it. But we can’t.
Accidents happen, accusations are made, solicitors get involved and people want compensation. Rightly or wrongly these things happen every day and, sooner or later, you could be on the receiving end.
A claim won’t go away if you ignore it. And there are no shortcuts. You have to Do Something About It.
So, you need public liability insurance because you have a business to run; because you have limited funds; because you’re not legally trained; and because your reputation matters.
What else is there?
This decision is made a little easier by the choices given to you by insurers. Most only offer £1m, £2m, £5m and £10m levels of cover. But every contract is different and if you've never had public liability before, what should you go for?
Well, you have to decide what level of cover is enough for you. Consider what you do, who you do it for and what damage you could do (accidently, of course). Think about worst-case scenario, your work environment, and what could really go wrong. What’s the most expensive mistake you could make (or be accused of making)?
For example, the possibility of catastrophic damage to people and property is less likely if you're solely an office-based business than it is if you work on or around construction sites.
Always bear in mind that you can’t have too much cover. Your legal defence can cost many tens of thousands of pounds – and that’s before the compensation bill from your client arrives. Your level of cover has to be enough to cover all of this.
Professional indemnity insurance is for claims and allegations of negligence, mistakes and things you've failed to do. Essential if you provide specialist services to paying clients.
Employers’ liability insurance covers your business if an employee sues it for damages. Claims are usually because they’ve suffered injuries and illnesses as a consequence of working for you. It’s a legal requirement for UK businesses with employees.
Office and property insurance covers the things in your office (furniture, plants, fixed IT equipment etc) and portable insurance covers gadgets and technical equipment away from the office (laptops, tablets, projectors etc). If you’re not sure it’s worth insuring, add it all up – it’s probably worth more than you think.
Business interruption insurance means you can still work when your office is out of action. Be it flood, fire or flea infestation, you’re covered for the costs of setting up elsewhere and for any lost revenue in that time.
Directors’ and officers’ insurance covers your company bosses. Anyone from regulators to shareholders to competitors can accuse you of not running a business with due care. Worse, directors are personally liable for their actions. The good thing is this insurance covers your defence costs and any compensation you have to pay. So you can put away your chequebook.
Glad you asked.
The simple answer is: we know what we're doing. Professional insurance is all we do so we know what you need, even if you don't.
We also know that buying insurance can be, well, a bit of a pain. So we make sure getting yours is quick and hassle-free.
We do all that while treating you like a human being, too. You won't find a call centre here. Or a phone menu. And we've banned nonsense insurance jargon.
Plus, every insurance-related question you can think of is answered in our School of Risk, and you'll get our quarterly risk advice email – 'The Waggle' – to help you avoid problems in the first place.
If you're after a second opinion, have a look at our customers' feedback. They're the ones you should really listen to.