Public liability insurance is essential for any business, because it covers expensive claims made against you if third parties are injured by your work.

For example, if a passer-by is hurt or their property is damaged by your work tools.

You may also be legally required to get employers' liability cover if you employ:

  • Permanent and temporary paid staff

  • Contracted, casual or seasonal staff

  • Labour-only subcontractors

  • Interns or apprentices

  • Volunteers

  • Work experience placements

How does cover work?

  • Public liability insurance covers injury, illness and death of third parties, or damage to their property. It only covers claims where you are at fault, like not keeping your business premises tidy, which causes a customer to trip over.

  • Employers' liability insurance covers injury, illness and the death of your employees while they are at work. You are legally required to have at least 5 million worth of cover if you have paid or voluntary staff working for you.

While you can get separate cover for public and employers' liability, it is usually cheaper to get a combined policy.

How to find the right policy

The right policy for you is one that offers the cover you need at the cheapest price. Use this comparison to get as many online quotes as possible to find the best policy.

Most policies offer 10 million cover for employers' liability, but you can choose different limits of cover for public liability. Insurers offer limits between 1 million and 5 million; what you need depends on how high risk your business activities are.

If you are unsure what level of cover is best for you, use this comparison to contact an insurance broker who can help you work out what you need.

Public and employers' liability FAQs


Can I buy cover separately?


Yes, but it might be more expensive to take out separate policies. Get quotes for combined insurance and separate policies, to see which is cheapest.


Do I have to pay to make a claim?


You will have to pay an excess if you make a public liability claim, but not if your claim is for employers' liability.


Am I covered for work away from my business premises?


Yes, public liability and employers' liability insurance extends to cover business activities off site.


Can I be sued for accidents that are not my fault?


No, unless you have failed to meet your duty of care to members of the public or your employees, a valid claim cannot be made against you.


Will employers' liability insurance cover temporary staff?


Yes, it covers temporary and seasonal staff, and full time and part time workers. It also covers volunteers, interns and work experience placements.