Public Liability

Protect your business from legal action should an accident occur on your premises with Public Liability Insurance.

What is Public Liability Insurance?

Public Liability Insurance (PLI) is a type of insurance that protects you in the event your business is held legally responsible for an injury to a member of the public or damages to their property. If you’re taken to court, having a Public Liability Insurance policy means your insurer will pay the legal costs on your behalf, up to a pre-agreed limit.

While Public Liability Insurance protects business owners from claims made by members of the public, it can also cover claims from contractors and clients. However, PLI does not extend to any injuries to business owners or employees.

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What does Public Liability Insurance cover?

A typical Public Liability Insurance policy will cover your business for third-party injury or death, compensation claim payments, and potential repair or replacement costs for possessions or property that are damaged by your business's activity.

Who needs Public Liability Insurance?

Any business that works with customers or clients may want to consider investing in Public Liability Insurance. Even LTD companies and partnerships might wish to have some form of PLI in place.

Below are some examples of how businesses can benefit from PLI:

Self-employed and sole traders 

  • Plumbers - Stay covered if a leak you’re trying to repair causes someone to slip.
  • Gardeners - Covers you if someone trips on stray tools.
  • Window cleaners - If someone is injured by an item you drop from a height, PLI will cover you.
  • Hairdressers - Stay covered if someone cuts themselves on a pair of scissors that are left exposed on a countertop.

Small businesses

  • Cafes - Scalds or burns from hot drinks and plates can be severe. Stay protected when someone makes an injury claim against you and your staff.
  • Shops - Trip hazards in doorways or heavy items not shelved correctly can cause injury to members of the public coming in and out of your shop.
  • Offices - Something as simple as loose carpeting can cause a visitor to trip and fall, Public Liability Insurance aims to protect your business in these instances.

How to determine whether you need Public Liability Insurance

If your business doesn’t fit into these examples, you should ask yourself the following questions to help you determine whether you need a PLI policy:

  • Does your business come into frequent contact with members of the public?
  • What type of activity does your business carry out, and how could it impact customers or members of the public?
  • Could your business afford to pay any legal fees or a compensation payout if a claim was made against you for injury or damage?
  • Does your industry regulator or trade body require a minimum level of cover for membership?
  • Do your clients or customers require a minimum level of cover before they will commission work with you?


Call us now or get a quote online

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How could Public Liability Insurance protect my business?


Our team of experts are here to help you understand how Public Liability Insurance works, with our variety of cover options.

Why choose Swinton for your Public Liability Insurance?

There are several reasons why you might like to consider Swinton for Public Liability Insurance:

  • A wide range of cover - Our Public Liability Insurance policies are available for a range of job titles and trade sectors, from builders to accountants.
  • Tailored policies - We can tailor your insurance with additional cover to suit your business needs.
  • Vast experience - We’ve been providing insurance for more than 65 years, so you know you can trust us to try and help you find the right cover.

How much does Public Liability Insurance cost?

The cost of Public Liability Insurance varies depending on a number of factors, ranging from the risks associated with your line of business to your claims history — but with Swinton, you could pay as little as £32 a year. 

10% of new tradesman insurance customers paid £32 for annual Public Liability cover. Based on policies sold between 1st August 2023 and 30th November 2023. Premiums are based on individual circumstances.

Public Liability Insurance FAQs

While having a Public Liability policy isn’t compulsory under UK law, many businesses have one in place should the unexpected happen. A customer or client could ask that you have cover in place before they work with you. Plus, it may be an obligation of your industry regulator or trade bodies you want to join.

The amount of PLI you take out should be sufficient to cover a worst-case scenario. If you work across multiple sites and frequently encounter third parties, it could be worth increasing your amount of cover under your Public Liability Insurance policy.

You should also check with your clients to find out the level of PLI they expect you to have. Some clients, such as governments and local authorities, will only grant contracts to suppliers that have between £5 million and £10 million of Public Liability Insurance in place.

A Public Liability Insurance certificate is an official document that provides proof of coverage. Businesses with a PLI certificate may choose to publicly display it for their clients’ peace of mind, though it’s not compulsory to do so.

PLI certificates list who is insured, the insurance company, the policy number, and the insurance period. They also detail the policy’s terms, including the indemnity limit: the maximum that the insurer will pay in the event of a claim.

Sometimes — it depends on the insurer with which you take out your policy. Where a certificate is not provided, though, a ‘Schedule’ is issued in its place, which serves the same purpose as evidence that you’re insured.

No — our PLI policies are for 12 months of cover. However, you can cancel before your renewal date (fees apply).

Public Liability Insurance does not cover injury to you or your employees. If an employee claims against your business, it will be covered by an Employer’s Liability Insurance policy. With Swinton, you have the option to get both Public Liability and Employer’s Liability Insurance under one policy.

PLI won’t cover damages to your business property, whether accidental or malicious. However, our Commercial Property Insurance will cover damage to your property.

Finally, a Public Liability Insurance policy won’t cover all the costs of a payout. It includes an excess; that is, a payment you need to make before the insurer covers the rest of the claim. If you faced a claim worth £4,000 and your excess was £300, for example, you would need to pay £300 yourself before your insurer paid the remaining £3,700.

Yes, PLI is tax-deductible. Public Liability Insurance is a business cost that meets HMRC’s criteria for allowable expenses.

Public Liability Insurance covers you for claims made against you by people outside of your business, while Employers' Liability Insurance protects you from claims made by your employees. It covers the cost of compensation, plus any legal fees that you are liable to pay.

It’s worth noting that, if you have any employees, it is a legal requirement that you have an Employers' Liability Insurance policy in place.  At Swinton Business, we can arrange Employers’ Liability Insurance alongside your Public Liability Insurance under one policy with a single renewal date.

Other types of insurance for your business

Employers' Liability Insurance

A legal requirement for most businesses, this will help cover any compensation costs if your employee claims due to injury or illness caused by the work they do for you.

Business Equipment Insurance

Business Equipment Insurance offers protection against theft and malicious or accidental damage of your valuable tools or business equipment.

Useful guides for business owners

Secure your business

Advice on how to secure your business premises.

While you can’t completely remove the risk of your business premises being broken into or damaged, there are some steps you can take to protect it as best you can. How can you improve your business premises’ security?