The majority of business owners will require public liability insurance to operate legally and to offer some protection to both them and their customers. Cover will vary between policies and providers, so you should always check your policy documents carefully and direct any queries to your insurer. In general, public liability insurance policies will cover the following:
Third Party Personal Injury
Accidents can happen regardless of how careful you are or what health and safety practices you put in place for your business. Public liability insurance covers claims made by a third party relating to a personal injury they have sustained either within your business premises or due to your business practices. Customers, members of the public and suppliers can all be considered third parties. Examples of events that may cause a personal injury include tripping over a cable or box or using beauty/hair treatment products that cause a negative skin reaction.
Damage To Third Party Property
Public liability insurance will also cover damage to a customer's personal property. This damage has to occur on your premises or be a result of your business practices. For example, a hairdresser may spill hair dye on a customer's clothing, you may knock over a customer's phone and damage the screen or a customer may damage their clothing on wet paint within your premises. If your business involves working in a customer's home, such as is common with tradespeople, your policy may cover damage to the customer's home as a result of an error in your working practices, such as a burst pipe or hole in the wall.
Legal And Defense Costs
Public liability insurance will also cover some or all of the legal costs involved in settling a claim. Complex claims that require court appearances or lengthy legal intervention can be expensive and take your time away from your business for extended periods. So, consider how much legal cover your business may need and consult with a solicitor when selecting your level of legal cover if you feel unsure about the potential costs involved in a claim that could arise relating to your specific business.
Public liability insurance is invaluable but doesn't cover damage to your own property or injury to you and your employees. So, if you're unsure about what types of insurance you should have for your business, consult with your insurer before you begin trading to ensure any problems that may arise are covered.