What is public and product liability insurance?

A brief summary on why these voluntary policies could save your business considerable money in the long-term

Both product and public liability insurance are voluntary for most businesses, but these policies could save you a lot of money in the long term.

What is product liability insurance

If you manufacture or supply goods, there's always the possibility that your product could cause damage to a third party – that could be property or another person. A small defect could open you up to massive claims, so this cover is vitally important for product manufacturers.

Look for a policy that guards you against safety claims, manufacturing quality, spoilage and indemnity costs (medical bills and so on). And remember product liability is designed to cover you against unforeseen circumstances, if you simply make an inferior product or supply bad services then you're not going to be able to make a claim.

You can reduce your premiums by taking quality control measures beforehand, and you should make sure your insurer knows of any measures you've taken – it could affect your premiums.

What is public liability insurance

Public liability insurance covers you against any claims made against your business – for example if you were held legally liable for personal injury, or for damage done to property. The insurance will also cover you for any legal costs associated with defending claims against your business.

Even if you work from home it may be that you need public liability insurance. If clients often visit you at your home office then this policy will cover you if they injure themselves while they're on your premises (it could be something as daft as tripping over the carpet!). And don't forget if you regularly work off-site your policy should apply to off-site as well as on-site jobs.

The premiums will depend on the type of business, your turnover and the number of employees. The problem is working out what level of protection you think you need. The key is not to underestimate – £1m may sound like a lot of cover, but if you find yourself facing a series of claims from a group of people the legal fees will be large.

It's also vital to keep your public liability policy up-to-date to reflect any changing circumstances in your business. As your business expands you're likely to find your risks grow too.

For more about insuring your business, read our guide on what insurance you need here.  


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