Public liability Insurance

A public liability policy covers the insured’s legal liability to compensate third parties for personal injury, loss of or damage to property. Primarily, the policy covers risks damage to property. Primarily, the policy covers risks relating to the premises and activities of the business. Unlike Employers Liability, this type of cover is not compulsory but is well advised. It is often a pre-requisite in trading with other organisations.


This is normally expressed as an amount for any one occurrence but unlimited in any one period of insurance. The limit of indemnity would be inclusive of claimant’s The limit of indemnity would be inclusive of claimants costs (incurred with insurers consent) and legal expenses.


Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man. Non–manual workers are covered for offshore installations in territorial waters around Great Britain and its continental shelf. Cover is also provided for elsewhere in the world for non-manual activities whilst the employee is on a temporary visit or journey.  Insurers may insist upon a UK jurisdiction clause in these circumstances and any action be brought in the UK.

Synopsis One Liner - Public liability - blue -01YOUR DUTY

The business description should fully describe all the activities. Any changes in the risk must be notified immediately. Ensure that the limits of indemnity are adequate. Any significant increases in turnover or wage roll must be reported to insurers. Some policies work on a ‘head count’ basis and limit the number of employees/operatives covered. Make sure this is accurate and constantly updated. All claims or potential claims must be reported immediately. You should never admit liability or attempt to deal with any third party without your insurers consent.


Reasonable Precautions

  • Wordings vary, some require the insured to take reasonable care to prevent accidents and to comply with statutory and local authority requirements. Others require care in the selection of competent employees and remedial and precautionary steps in relation to discovered defects and dangers.

Non-admission of Liability and Procedure

  • Failure to comply is a breach of a condition precedent to liability. Your insurers reserve the right to full conduct and control of the claim. You must assist as required.

Claims Notification

  • Liability policies require that Insurers are notified immediately or as soon as reasonably possible to ensure indemnity is secured. Failure to comply may result in the claim being disputed.

Discharge of Liability

  • If a claim is likely to exceed the indemnity limit, the insurer may choose to pay the limit and costs incurred and relinquish all further liability.


Businesses involved in working at or with height, depth, heat, manual ‘work away’ will have specific restrictive conditions applying to their policies which must be studied, understood and adhered to, otherwise indemnity may not apply.


Legal Defence Costs

  • Cover is provided for legal defence costs in relation to criminal proceedings under the Health & Safety at Work Act. Fines, deliberate acts or omissions are not covered. Separately, company directors and officers should consider the purchase of Directors and Officers insurance as individuals as the company policy does not protect them.

Retrospective Cover

  • An extension sometimes available where an Insurer may be notified of a claim that predates inception.

Motor Vehicle Contingent Liability

  • Vehicles not owned or provided by the insured, may be used on the insured’s business. In the event that the primary policy (that of the employee) fails, indemnity is provided to the insured.

Third Party Working Risk

  • Owners hiring out plant may also need this extension to safeguard themselves against failure of cover on policies effected by the hirer.

Financial Loss

  • This extension, when added, brings financial loss under the policy. Cover is on a claims made basis and within the existing liability limit. This is useful for security companies where negligence can have a wide impact beyond the incident.

Data Protection Act

  • Provided the insured is registered under the act, liability is extended to include compensation for damages, distress and defence costs in respect of prosecutions under the act.

Libel and Slander

  • The insured is indemnified in respect of liability for claims Products Liability made during the period of insurance due to acts of libel or slander.

Your policy may also contain additional extensions in respect to false arrest, discrimination, accidental obstruction, car parks, cloakrooms, and a limited ‘products’ cover in respect of food or drink served to employees, partners etc.

MAIN EXCLUSIONSPublic Liability Insurance

  • Injury to Employees
  • Motor Vehicle Risks
  • Aircraft and Waterborne Craft
  • Products Liability
  • Advice or Treatment (Professional Indemnity)
  • Property Belonging to the Insured or in his 
  • Custody or Control
  • Property Being Worked Upon
  • Contractual Liability
  • Pollution
  • Directors & Officers Liability
  • Offshore Work

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