Public Liability Insurance Explained: Self Employment Isn’t Always a Risky Business

Being self-employed can be a risky business; especially when you come in to contact with customers.

Unfortunately accidents do happen and if a third party becomes ill or injured as a result of your actions you could face an expensive personal injury claim. Courts can order sole traders and partnerships to pay damages to full the limit of their assets. And that could include your home and your car.

Public liability insurance is an affordable way of covering your costs and safeguarding your business and private finances.

What is public liability?

Public liability is an umbrella term covering the dangers that your business might pose to the public. For Example: if you work in the catering trade and someone becomes ill after eating one of your products; they have a right to sue you for compensation. Similarly if you are a tradesman and accidentally cause damage to a property that you are working on; then you could end-up in court.  In fact, list of potential liability and legal action is as broad as your imagination

What does public liability insurance cover?

Public liability insurance will pay the legal costs of defending a claim made against you. If you lose the case against you the insurance will also compensation and the claimant’s legal costs. Many public liability claims are settled out of court to avoid bad publicity, but insurance companies still pick-up the bill.

Public liability insurance is sold at differing levels of cover. Basic cover typically allows provision for £1 million and moves upwards depending on the riskiness of your business. So, if you are a roofer working at height or with heat; you can expect to pay more than a plasterer.

Limiting your liability

Like most insurance products, public liability is cheaper if you do not make a claim. So it makes sense for businesses to manage their risks, and that means working sensibly and considerately when you are on someone else’s premises.

As a minimum, the self employed and small businesses should:

  • Assess and minimise any risks arising from their activities,
  • Train employees on good health and safety practice and ensure they follow your safety code
  • Regularly review health and safety policies to ensure they are up to date
  • Keep all equipment regularly serviced and maintained
  • Ensure workers are qualified to carry out the tasks you give them

Accidents involving the public can result in criminal charges for negligence and public liability insurance will not cover criminal compensation or fines. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call one of our experienced consultants on Tel: 0844 888 4094


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