Business insurance is a way to protect your company against financial risk due to things that go wrong. The three most common types of business insurance are called:

  • public liability insurance

  • professional indemnity insurance

  • employers' liability insurance.

You might want to find business insurance to cover you for:

  • Claims made against your business's products or services - also known as indemnity insurance

  • Flood, theft and fire affecting your tools and equipment - this is called commercial property insurance

  • Damage your business causes to a third party, or a third party's property - this is your public liability insurance

  • Claims made if an employee dies or is injured while working - known as employers' liability insurance.

There's more information about these in the next section.

Generally, business insurance covers your legal costs and compensation claims if you're sued. It may also cover the cost of replacing your damaged or lost property.

You might need small business insurance or you might be from a large corporation.

But whether you need shop insurance, restaurant insurance, or something else, we're here to help. You can compare business insurance and get business insurance quotes to help you find the right policy for your needs.

What business insurance do you need?

Whether you're a small or large business, you may legally be required to take out certain types of business insurance. This is to protect people who come into contact with your company or its services.

The types of insurance business owners might be legally required to have include:

Employers' liability insurance, if you have staff working for you. This covers compensation claims if your staff are injured or die while in your employment. The minimum legal limit of cover is 5 million, but most policies include 10 million. You'll need this even if you only have one employee. The fines for not having employers' liability insurance can be huge - as much as 2,500 per day that you don't have it.

Commercial vehicle insurance, if you use a car or van in connection with your business. You'll have to have third party vehicle business insurance as a minimum. But you can choose to have more comprehensive cover to protect against fire, damage and theft as well.

Is public liability insurance a legal requirement?

Public liability insurance - or 'public indemnity insurance' - isn't a legal requirement.

This kind of insurance covers third party injury and property damage caused by your work. If your business inadvertently injured a member of the public or damaged their property, they could take you to court. Having public liability insurance means you'd be covered for legal costs and compensation claims if you were sued.

Some clients might ask for a copy of your public liability insurance before they do business with you. So it might be essential for you, even though it's not legally required.

Sometimes, it is a requirement of an industry body that you have business liability insurance or product liability insurance in place.

Public liability insurance is also needed for some professions. for example, you might need it if you're a:

  • private doctor

  • private nurse

  • personal trainer

  • contractor

  • recruiter.

Before you start in any profession, it's best to check what you need and then make sure you have the right insurance in place. If you don't know, you could check with your professional regulator, professional body and clients. Discuss the guidelines and requirements before you start work so you're covered from the outset.

Then you can get a public liability insurance quote using our comparison.

Our comparison includes package business insurance. This includes all the cover you need in one policy. Use the comparison table to find the cover you need at the cheapest price.

What other commercial insurance should you think about?

You might like to get some additional business insurance to help out if your company ever needs it.

These types of insurance aren't legally required. Equally, clients aren't likely to demand these insurances before working with you. But you might want to have extra insurance as a way of protecting your business.

These types of business insurance might include, for example:

  • Commercial property insurance - to rebuild or repair your building if it's damaged by something like a fire, flood, burst pipe or vandalism

  • Business interruption insurance - which pays lost income due to property damage

  • Business contents insurance - covers you for the things in your workplace, such as furniture, tools or equipment

  • Goods in transit insurance - which protects stock or equipment on the move

  • Professional indemnity insurance/professional liability insurance - which protects advice-giving businesses

  • Landlord insurance - protects you against damage to your rental property and sometimes loss of earnings too

  • Key person life cover - cover for if someone critical to your business dies or develops a specified illness

  • Cyber risk insurance - protects your business if you're subject to a data breach or email scam

  • Credit risk insurance - protects you against losses if one of your customers refuses to pay, or doesn't pay you due to insolvency.

Here's how to find the right business insurance for you.

How does business insurance cost?

When you get a business insurance quote, cost will be a factor in which policy or policies you choose. The most important thing is not to find cheap business insurance, but to make sure you have the right level of cover for your business. But you'll of course want to find it for the best price possible.

Some of the factors that might affect the price you're offered include:

  • where your business is based

  • what your business does

  • how long your business has been up and running

  • how big your business is

  • how much cover you need

  • what kind of cover you want

  • your claims history.

Here are some tips on getting the best deal you can on your business insurance:

  • Compare as many policies as possible: Use our business insurance comparison to get lots of quotes. This lets you find the cover you need at the best price, and can help you haggle the price of your insurance.

  • Pick a higher voluntary excess:: Your excess is the amount you have to pay when you make a claim. Choosing a high voluntary excess can bring your business insurance cost down, but make sure you pick an excess you can afford.

  • Buy your insurance online:: Some companies offer discounts for buying business insurance online. But you may need to speak to them on the phone or in person if you run a large business.

  • Pay for your policy up front:: Paying by monthly direct debit helps you split the cost of your insurance, but you could end up paying more in interest. That's because when business insurance companies offer monthly payments, they're essentially giving you a form of loan. If you pay up front in full, most insurers give you a discount.

  • Give accurate values to insure: Take an inventory of what you need to cover with your business insurance. For example, this could include stock, equipment, or your premises. You don't want to overestimate and therefore overpay for your policy.

How much business insurance cover do you need?

This depends on your situation. The size and type of business you have are important factors in this decision. Some businesses are more high risk than others when it comes to what might go wrong.

As mentioned above, you don't want to overestimate how much cover you need and pay more for your business insurance than is necessary. But if you don't get enough cover, you could find yourself in trouble if the worst happened and you needed to make a claim.

Sometimes, your customers or professional body - or even the law - might specify how much business insurance you need. This could be based on factors such as turnover, income, number of employees, the value of a contract and so on.

Spend some time thinking about what kind of things could go wrong in your company and how much it'd cost to sort it out. Then think about legal fees and compensation claims in relation to these things.

Also consider what you could stand to lose. For example, how much stock do you hold in your business? How much would your premises cost to rebuild? Questions like these can also help you come to a decision on how much cover you need.

You could talk to business insurance brokers to help with your decision.

What information do I need to share to get business insurance?

After you compare business insurance and choose which policy you want, you'll need to share some details about your business.

These might include:

  • your business address

  • what your business does

  • who you employ

  • what kind of cover you want

  • how much cover you want

  • where you trade

  • details about any previous claims or ongoing legal disputes.

Business insurance FAQs

Q

Can I choose not to get business insurance?

A

You are legally required to have some business insurance, if you employ staff or use commercial vehicles. Here is more on how to insure your business.

Q

Do I need business insurance if I work from home?

A

Yes, even if you do not own a business premises or employ staff, business insurance can cover expensive legal costs and lost income.

Q

How much does business insurance cost?

A

It depends on the type of business you run; your turnover; the size of your business; and what cover you need.

Q

Can I insure more than one business premises?

A

Yes, but you only need to cover the building if you own it. You can also protect your rental payments if you lease a building.

Q

Can I claim if I go bankrupt?

A

No, you cannot claim for lost funds due to bankruptcy. But business insurance can help prevent bankruptcy by offering financial protection.