Public Liability Insurance

Our public liability cover protects you and your business should a member of the public hold you responsible for accidental damage to third party or bodily injury due to your negligence. We can cover a huge range of professions from tradesmen to cake makers and lots in-between.

0344 892 1664

Mon-Thu 8:30am-5.30pm, Fri 8:30am-5pm

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About Public Liability insurance


Insurance from £8.72 per month*

Option to add more than one trade/profession to your policy.


Range of public liability cover limits

Choose from £1m, £2m, £5m or £10m cover limits to suit your business needs.


Legal defence costs covered

Cover for legal defence costs including any compensation you may have to pay.

Direct Debit

Pay by Direct Debit

You can choose to spread your payment into 10 monthly Direct Debit instalments.

Features of Public liability insurance

Standard cover

What is public liability insurance?

It’s fair to say that if you interact with the public on a daily basis or your business activities are performed in a public area, you’ll need this cover - but what is public liability insurance? It provides protection for your business if a third party is injured or their property is damaged due to your fault while at your business premises or when you are working in their home, office or business property. Damage to property being worked upon is normally excluded.

Do I need public liability insurance?

Each business is different, but for many, public liability insurance is essential as accidents can happen causing injury to members of the public or damage to their property. For smaller businesses who work on smaller projects or with less interaction with the public will often choose lower maximum indemnity limits. We can tailor indemnity limits to meet your needs: popular cover ranges are from £1m to £10m with higher amounts available.

Public liability insurance for a range of trades

We provide cover for a range of business types including tradesmen, shops, mobile businesses, health and beauty professionals, those who work with animals, delivery and removals - and many more. Tell us all about your business and we’ll do our best to find you suitable cover.

Cover from £1m to 10 million

Typically, our clients request cover from between £1m and £10m for any one event, but higher limits are available if required. If you’re unsure how much cover you need, tell one of our knowledgeable advisers about your business and they’ll be able to help you get the right cover.

Additional cover

Optional business liability cover

Public liability insurance is not generally brought in isolation. This is because most businesses require some other cover including employers' liability, products liability or property/stock cover. We offer a range of business insurance covers so can tailor your policy to suit your business' requirements.

Add extra trades to your public liability policy

If you offer a range of trade skills, you can add your multiple business activities or services to a single policy. If your different trades are under the same business name, you can tailor your policy to cover you for any work you do for your customers, or if it not already included on your policy, give us a call and we’ll see if we can add it.

Public Liability Insurance FAQs


How much public liability cover do I need?


Towergate can offer public liability insurance policies with cover from £1 million up to £10 million or higher. The amount you need will depend on several aspects:

  • Your business activities
  • The type of locations and environments you are working in
  • The processes involved, particularly if these are of a high-risk nature involving any application of heat-work i.e. blow lamps/torches or welding.
  • If your activities are of a hazardous nature or involve the use or supply of hazardous liquids or goods.
  • The value of properties you are working at: for example, if using blowtorches onsite in a large office building, how much would the building cost to rebuild in the event of a serious fire? What businesses are trading there and how long will their business be interrupted?

When you are contracting with companies, please check with them to find out if there is a minimum amount of public liability insurance required.




What factors affect my public liability insurance cost?


Your public liability insurance cost will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Your trade or profession and the hazards associated with your activities – e.g. work at height, depth, use of heat (blow lamps, welding equipment).
  • Whether you are you working on new or existing properties, domestic or commercial.
  • The type of locations worked at, any hazardous locations such as ports, airports, tunnels, gas/oil works etc
  • Where in the world you work and the activities carried out - e.g UK-only and/or Europe, or worldwide – including or excluding USA/Canada.
  • Number of employees, clerical or manual, and if you have any sub-contractors.
  • The limit of indemnity you require - £1 million, £2 million, £3 million, £5 million, £10 million or higher.
  • What is included in your public liability insurance quote (standard level or extra covers)
  • Your past claims history
  • For larger businesses, estimated annual payments to direct employees - clerical/manual, labour-only and/or bona-fide sub-contractors
  • The size of your business e.g. turnover (the more work you do, the greater the risk exposure and the higher the premium)

Your risk management and health and safety record


How much does Towergate public liability insurance cost?


Towergate offer a range of public liability insurance policies with cover starting from as little as £8.19 per month*. We offer a range of levels of cover up to £10 million to suit all sizes of businesses – whether large or small - and budgets that are high or cheap.

Get a public liability insurance quote today to see how much your policy would be.

* The monthly cost of £8.19 would be payable in 10 monthly instalments this includes an additional of 12% interest charge for the cost of instalments and 12% Insurance Premium Tax. Cover is for Public Liability cover with a £1 million limit of indemnity. A sole trader carpenter with no employees or subbies. Working on residential and small commercial properties excluding the use of fixed woodworking machinery. Details correct as of 22nd February 2021


Why should I buy public liability insurance?


Public liability insurance is important for many reasons, so we’ve broken them down to explain each one in detail.

  • Protecting yourself with public liability insurance means you can focus on your day-to-day business, safe in the knowledge that you’re covered if anything goes wrong.
  • Not only will your insurance policy give you peace of mind, but it’ll boost your customers’ confidence in your services too. We all like to know we’re dealing with a reputable person or company with the appropriate insurance.
  • Contractors have a duty to of care to operate within stringent quality requirements, taking reasonable care to assess risks and operate under strict safety guidelines. However, accidents can still happen, so It is common for the main contractors and/or principal customers to request evidence that public liability insurance is effective as part of the contract terms, before work commences.
  • Typically, the contract will specify that Public Liability insurance will need to be arranged for a specific minimum financial amount, known as the Indemnity Limit.
  • The amount of Indemnity limits can vary according to the type of work being undertaken and the location. Public liability limits can vary with a base minimum amount of £2million any one claim, being common these days in view of the size of recent court awards being made.
  • You can choose amounts of £3m, £5m, £10m or higher. Ask your broker to provide a quotation for what is known as an increased limit of indemnity or an Excess of Loss policy.
  • Where increased cover levels are required, its often financially beneficial to increase the limit for all of your business activities, rather than arrange a special for a one off for a specific contract. The higher cover may assist you in winning new contracts.
  • The contract clause may also go on to require that the cover must be underwritten by a reputable insurer, with an acceptable financial credit rating provided by one of the main independent rating agencies i.e. Standard and Poor's (S&P), Moody’s Investor Services, Fitch or AM Best.

All business owners and tradespeople have a duty of care for those they work for, and to the general public at large. If things go wrong and an accident occurs, then there is the chance you may be alleged to have been at fault. This is where Public Liability will be particularly useful to you, as it will initially protect you by paying your legal defence costs. In the event that you are found to be at fault and responsible. Then a Public Liability policy will pay compensation for the damages arising from the accidental third-party bodily injury or accidental damage caused to their property, up to limit of indemnity under your policy.

it is important to understand that Public Liability insurance is not a guarantee of your work. The cover provides for the accidental consequences of defective workmanship, not the rectification of the defective work itself., the latter is your risk and known as a ‘trade risk’.

For example, if you install radiators at strange angles, your customer may reject the work and ask for it to be redone. If this is the case, then the associated time and costs to correct the fitting will be entirely down to you.

However, if due to your poor installation, a pipe fitting accidently leaks, causing damage to third party property then these are the likely costs to be covered by your public liability insurance. Commonly you would be responsible for the first part of any damage claim called a Third Party Property Damage excess. The excess amounts do vary between policies, typically ranging from £50 to £100. It is not uncommon for the more hazardous activities to attract a £250 excess or higher. You must check your policy for the excess and any terms, conditions or exclusions that may apply.

Another example of a trade risk would be where a glazier is fitting a glass window and the glass pane cost £1000. If the glazing contractor accidentally breaks the glass causing injuries to members of the public below, the compensation costs for the injuries will be covered under a public liability policy, but the glazier would not be covered for the replacement cost of the broken window pane itself.


Is public liability insurance required by law?


Public liability insurance is not usually a legal requirement like employer’s liability insurance, but there aren’t many businesses that can safely operate without this protection.

Despite all the precautions under the sun, accidents can and will happen, and being vulnerable to a lawsuit can spell disaster for a growing business. As our public liability insurance can cover up to £10 million, the importance of having this protection is clear.

Given this, it is likely other organisations will not work with you unless you have public liability insurance, and local authorities often require businesses in their area to have the cover in place before trading.

While public liability insurance is therefore not required by law, it is likely to be necessary for your business to operate successfully.


Is general liability the same as public liability insurance?


General liability insurance is a broad term widely used in the US, rather than here in the UK. This term tends to describe general claims involving accidental bodily injury or damage to property arising from work performed or from the supply of a faulty or defective product by your firm. These types of insurance cover are commonly known as general, public and products liability insurance.


When should I take out public liability insurance?


When starting a new business, you should have public liability insurance in place before you start trading. In fact, it should be a key consideration during the planning stages of your venture. Let’s say for example that you’re planning to open a café and you’re showing a surveyor around the building before the official opening. If the surveyor slips and sustains an injury, you need to be covered.

It may be tempting to cancel your insurance policy as soon as you cease trading, but don’t be too hasty. You’ll need to ensure that any stock or property is covered in the event of accidental damage or fire.

If you’re providing advice, you may wish to consider opting for run off cover. This covers your business from claims even after you cease trading. For example, if you provide a client with advice just before you retire, you can still be sued for providing bad advice even after you’ve stopped working.


Is public liability insurance tax deductible for business insurance?


Yes, public liability insurance is tax deductible when calculating taxable profit, as an 'allowable expense' (an expense you can deduct when calculating taxable profit for your tax return). It is included in HMRC’s definition of allowable expenses.

When you buy your public liability insurance, be sure to keep your receipt and your policy documents safe so that you can show your tax calculations if your business is checked by HMRC. Also, if you have an accountant that does your tax return, you will need these documents to show them the cost of your cover so they can calculate it correctly and ensure your public liability insurance is tax deductible.


What's the difference between public liability and employers' liability cover?


While public liability insurance provides cover against claims from members of the public for damage to their property or bodily injury caused to them due to your negligence. Employers' liability insurance protects the business from allegations of accidental bodily injury or illness to employers sustained whilst engaged in business activities for you. If you are at fault the policy will initially cover your legal defence costs and then will pay any court awards for injury.


I have heard that someone wants to make a claim against me - what do I do now?


As soon as you become aware of a claim or potential claim being made against you for injury or damage:

  • Notify us so that we may alert your insurers.
  • Pass all correspondence on to us unanswered.
  • Do not ignore or dispose of any letters from any representative of or anyone making a claim against you. The claim is unlikely to go away and the situation will only get worse if not attended to promptly.


One of my employees had just had an accident at work, what should I do?


We recommend that you:

  • Meet your legal obligation to record accidents in your accident book.
  • Report all accidents to your insurers.
  • Do not accept responsibility or agree to pay compensation even if you think it is obvious that it is your fault.
  • Allow your insurers to investigate and advise you of the best course of action to be taken.

If you accept liability before referral to your insurer’s then you could prejudice you and your insurers' ability to defend any claim made against you.


Can you get public liability insurance for one day?


Temporary covers are available, usually under specialist schemes for special events, exhibitions, weddings and concerts. The premiums vary according to the size of the event, the type of activities and the number of person involved.  There’s often a minimum premium attached to temporary policies, so it can be more cost-effective to choose a policy for the year rather than a short period.

It’s possible to take out insurance for special events. For example, the forthcoming celebrations to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 will trigger a huge demand for short-term insurance to cover street parties, local festivals and one-off public events.

Public liability insurance is also required for firework displays. The terms of the policy will depend on the size of the event, numbers in attendance. Whether you’re an individual, a local community association, a school, or a church. Councils will very likely need to see evidence of the minimum level of cover.


What happens if I have no public liability insurance?


If you don’t take out public liability insurance, you won’t be protected if you or your business are sued by a member of the public for accidental damage caused by you or your firm to their property, or accidental bodily injury arising from allegations of negligence from your work activities.

This may be potentially expensive for you, as you would have to fund your own legal costs. Even worse, if you are sued and found to be at fault and guilty, you’ll have to find the money for any compensation payments yourself.

Without public liability cover, your assets, your professional reputation and your business could be at risk.


Can I pay in instalments?


To help you spread the cost of your premiums, we offer a quick and easy direct debit scheme for spreading payment over ten months. Please visit our dedicated Direct Debit page to find out more.

How do I make a claim?

When you need to make a claim, we’ll guide you through the process and get your claim settled as quickly as possible.


Find your insurance documents

and make sure you have all your information at hand, including your policy number


Call the claims team

on 0344 892 1384 and explain exactly what happened


Provide photos if requested

to help us understand what happened as quickly as we can

Relaxed Person Making Claim

* The monthly cost of £8.72 would be payable in 10 monthly instalments this includes an additional of 12% interest charge for the cost of instalments and 12% Insurance Premium Tax. Cover is for Public Liability cover with a £1 million limit of indemnity. A sole trader carpenter with no employees or subbies. Working on residential and small commercial properties excluding the use of fixed woodworking machinery. Details correct as of 22nd February 2021