About SME Insurance


Single package policies

A range of liability risks for SME covered in a single package policy


24/7 insurance support for SMEs

24/7 commercial and legal hotline


Indemnity cover

Liability up to £10 million indemnity cover

Direct Debit

Pay for your SME cover by Direct Debit

You can split your payment into instalments

Features of SME Insurance

Standard cover

SME insurance to suit your business

Our business insurance for SMEs can be tailored to suit your business. We cover sole traders, partnerships, contractors, limited companies and limited liability partnerships. The level and type of cover will depend on the risks faced by your business. Policies are flexible and we will build your policy around your specific needs, including workplace injuries, digital threats and compensation for legal defence costs. Our core business insurance products include public liability, employers’ liability, professional indemnity and property insurance.

SME insurance with public liability cover

Third-party public liability cover with £1m, £2m, £5m or £10m limits is available, so you choose the how much you need to protect your SME. We can provide guidance on the amount of public liability insurance you need, depending on the nature of your operations and interaction with the public.

Professional indemnity insurance for your SME

We have a range of professional indemnity insurance options to suit your SME needs, with variable policy limits from £1 million to £10 million. This protects against the cost of compensation claims running into millions of pounds, and includes legal costs and a 24 hour legal advice helpline.

Business cover and buildings insurance for SMEs

Our SME insurance can be tailored to offer a range of liability and property damage covers in a single insurance package policy, including protection for stock, contents, buildings and business interruption cover.

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

SME Insurance FAQs


Is your SME insurance available straight away?


Liability cover for your SME is available in just one call, so you can start trading quickly. We can quote by phone following a full review of your requirements. This means your SME insurance will be valid instantly, with documentation emailed the same day and paper versions within 24 hours.


Can you cover my SME for seasonal changes in stock?


Yes. If the amount of stock you possess fluctuates substantially in different seasons, we can allow your ‘sums insured’ amount to be increased by an agreed percentage for your busy times of the year (25/30%). Typically, we can cover for periods over bank holidays such as Easter and Christmas. We recognise that not all SMEs are the same and can tailor your cover to meet your needs. Just let your adviser know if you wish to add this into your SME insurance package.


Can you cover money kept on my SME's premises?


Yes, we can add cover for holding money in your SME's premises during and outside of business hours, as well as while you are carrying it to or from your bank. The cover available will depend on the amounts involved, your security and type/model of your safe, should you have one. Please ask your adviser for details.


Do I need professional indemnity insurance for my SME?


While professional indemnity insurance is not a legal requirement, most businesses giving a design or advice service for a fee need it, as having a compensation claim raised against you can be very costly. Our business indemnity insurance, if it includes professional indemnity cover, will not only cover the cost of a successful claim against you, but also pay for legal and defence costs where allegations of negligence for wrongful advice have been made.


What happens if my SME stops trading?


Whether you need any ongoing cover after this really depends upon your circumstances.

If you have stopped trading, have you actually shut up shop and closed your business completely down, or do you still have assets such as stock, goods and contents owned by you whilst you are winding down? Unforeseen property damage claims can still occur, so you shouldn’t cancel your cover until you have closed down and moved out completely.

If you are a professional giving advice for a fee – such as an accountant, surveyor or management consultant - claims for wrongful advice can still occur at any time in the future. This will include after you have shut up office, closed your doors, ceased trading or retired. An unhappy customer won’t be concerned as to your personal situation. If they allege wrongful advice against you, all they will want is for their wrongs to be compensated. If you have cancelled or lapsed your professional indemnity (PI) insurance, then you will not have any cover in place, should new circumstances giving rise to a claim be alleged.

Forewarned is forearmed, and PI protection is available in these circumstances, called ‘run off’ cover. This is highly recommended, as professional indemnity cover is generally arranged on a ‘claims made’ basis, meaning that any claims for breach of professional duty should be claimed off your PI policy in force at the time the claim is first made against you.


How does professional indemnity insurance 'run off' cover work for me and my SME?


It is important to understand that your past PI cover, which may have been effective at the time when an error occurred, will not cover you for a claim made once that cover has finished. Once a PI policy period of insurance has expired, its effectively closed to any new claims that may arise.

For this reason, if you are considering ceasing to practice, you should have discussions with your colleagues to see if anyone is aware of any circumstances that could give rise to a potential claim. If yes, report it: not doing so is the wrong thing to do, and you will not have any protection if the matter escalates in the future.

Professional bodies will often require chartered accountants and surveyors to arrange PI run-off cover for periods up to six years after you have closed your practice.


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 height or depth above/below ground level
  • The processes involved, particularly if these are of a high-risk nature involving any application of heat-work
  • The increasing court awards being made for personal injuries.
  • Minimum Customer requirements - When you are contracting with individuals, companies or local government and authorities, please check with them to find out if a minimum amount of public liability insurance is required.


How much does public liability insurance cost?


The cost of your public liability insurance will depend on a number of aspects including:

  • The size and type of your business
  • The activities you perform
  • Number of staff – split clerical or manual
  • Larger businesses premiums are based on annual wages and turnover estimates
  • Types of premises, properties, locations worked at or upon
  • The activities you perform and if any of these are considered as hazardous
  • Any work at height, depth or involving the application of heat
  • Geographical location of work or supply goods and services
  • How your overall work activities are split worldwide
  • Your experience and past claims history
Specific factors that affect public liability insurance cost:
  • 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


Is public liability insurance required by law?


Public liability insurance is not usually a legal requirement like employer’s liability insurance. However, this doesn’t mean that accidents won’t happen, and all businesses large and small are potentially open to allegations of negligence.

While risk management is very important in all businesses to reduce risks and the chances of accidents happening. It won’t stop the unforeseen happening. No matter how many processes and precautions are implemented accidents can and will happen. Being vulnerable to a lawsuit can spell disaster for a growing business.

Public liability insurance can provide cover up to £10 million or even higher on request and the importance of having this protection is clear. Customers and reputable firms will only work with likeminded individuals, firms or organisations and it is very common for customers and local authorities to insist on proof of your public liability insurance before appointing, sub-contracting or working with you.

While public liability insurance is not a legal requirement. It is highly recommended and likely to be necessary for your business to operate successfully.


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?


While public liability insurance provides cover against claims from members of the public for accidental personal injury or damage to their property, employers' liability insurance protects you against claims from employees alleging accidental bodily injury, illness or disease whilst working for you. Employers’ liability is a legal requirement and businesses will typically have both insurance covers.


What happens if I do not have employers' liability insurance?


If you employ staff, you're are legally required to take out employers' liability insurance but if you fail to do so you may be fined up to £2,500 for any day which you are without suitable cover. This is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive. If you do not display the certificate of insurance or refuse to make it available to HSE inspectors when they ask, you can be fined up to £1000.


Do I need to tell my employees that I have employers' liability insurance?


When you take out or renew a policy, including employers' liability insurance, with us we will provide you with a certificate of employers' liability insurance that will state the companies covered by the policy. This must be displayed where your employees can read it. You may display your certificate electronically but if you choose to do so you must ensure that your employees know how and where to find it and have reasonable access.


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
  • 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
  • Pass all correspondence on to us unanswered


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


We recommend that you:

  • Report all accidents to your insurers
  • Meet your legal obligation to record accidents in your accident book
  • 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 contacting your insurers, then you could prejudice your and your insurers' ability to deal with any claim made against you.


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.


Are there any exclusions?


We have provided a summary of the key features of the policy, above. For details of the terms and conditions applicable, please refer to your insurance product information document and policy wording, which are available during the quotation process.