What is business insurance?

Business insurance gives you protection from everyday business risks to large, unexpected compensation claims. It can protect your work, your people, your reputation, and ultimately, your future livelihood.

Business insurance is typically made up of public liability, employers’ liability, professional indemnity, and buildings and contents insurance. But that’s not all. Depending on what your business does, you can also add protection for terrorism, defamation, equipment – and much, much more. Because your business is unique, so your insurance needs to be too.     

Small and micro businesses are often most at risk, as many couldn’t afford to face a hefty compensation or damage claim or without having business insurance in place.  From mistakes to trips and slips to flooding, accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. So it doesn’t matter if you’re selling cupcakes on the side, vintage clothes online or you’re building up your established plumbing firm over time – you’ll need business insurance to protect you from the things that could go wrong, from the get-go.

Insurance as unique as your business

When you run a business, you don’t have time to spare working out what insurance you need. You’re too busy to work out the ins and outs of public liability or professional indemnity insurance. We get it. So we’re spending our time in keeping things as simple as possible – so you can get properly protected, pronto.

We provide cover for SMEs online and over the phone to:

  • Micro businesses (0-9 employees)
  • Sole traders
  • Self-employed people

With our business insurance you can easily combine different covers and choose from a list of add-ons. So you only pay for the cover you need. You’ll leave with business insurance unique to your business, no-one else’s.

Business Insurance Wizard

Four steps to the cover you need

You don’t need magic powers to find the right insurance. Answer four quick questions and we’ll tell you what’s required. No tricks. 

What are you waiting for? Let the wizard be your guide.

Ready to get a quote? If you’re still not entirely sure what business insurance you need, that’s okay. When you get a quote, we’ll ask you some specific questions up-front that’ll help guide you in the right direction – no matter what your business does. Easy peasy. And if you buy online, you’ll save 10% too. 

What insurance could I need for my business?

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance protects your business against accidental injury and property damage claims from your customers, visitors or people you visit.

Professional indemnity insurance

Professional indemnity insurance protects you from compensation payments and defence costs if a client thinks you’ve made a mistake or given bad advice (that's resulted in a financial loss) and makes a claim against you.

Employers’ liability insurance

Employers' liability insurance covers you against work-related injury or illness claims from employees. And in most cases, if you have someone working for you, it’s required by law.

Contents cover

Whether your shop is online or on the high street, we’ve got you covered with our contents insurance for businesses.

What level of business insurance do I need?

It’s a fine line to tow – you only want to buy and pay for the cover your business needs, but you also want to make sure that you’re properly protected should the worst happen.  

The higher the level of protection you choose, the more protected you’ll be if you’re faced with a claim for compensation. Choose too low a level of cover, and you’d be personally liable for any shortfall should a large claim be made against you.

When thinking about the level of cover you need, consider what risks your business is exposed to – do members of the public frequent your premises? Do you give advice that could result in financial loss for a client? Do you have several employees under your care?

With AXA’s public liability insurance, you can choose to take up to £5 million cover. Remember, some clients or contracts might expect you to have a certain level of cover before working with you. For example, if you’re working for a large organisation or council authority, they’ll likely need you to have a higher level of cover.

Depending on what you do, you can also choose up to £5 million professional indemnity insurance. The same rules apply – the bigger your client, a higher the level of cover needed.

Professional indemnity insurance is also available to trades that also offer professional advice, like electrical contractors or heating engineers. With AXA, you can add a standard £1 million of professional indemnity cover to your business insurance.

Employers’ liability insurance is there to protect your staff. By law, you need to have cover of at least £5 million. At AXA, we’ll give you £10 million as standard, for complete peace of mind.

If you have premises – like a shop or an office – our business contents insurance will protect you up to the level of cover you choose. Remember to take into consideration, the value of your stock, shop front and contents.

And remember, with AXA, you can increase your level of cover at any time in your online account – for no additional fee.

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Is business insurance a legal requirement?

In some cases, it can be. If your business has staff – even if they’re volunteers, apprentices, contractors or temporary – then employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement under the Employers’ Liability Act 1969. The law doesn’t apply if you only employ family members. But it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

By law, you need £5 million employers’ liability cover. At AXA, we’ll give you £10 million cover as standard. So if someone is injured or becomes ill as a result of working for you – even years down the line – you’ll have confidence in knowing you’re covered.

While not required by law, bear in mind that some clients might ask for proof of certain types of insurance, like public liability insurance, before giving you work.  Some professional regulatory bodies will also require your professional indemnity insurance to be in keeping with their requirements – let us know when you get a quote, and we’ll provide you with the right proof in your documentation.

You can add employers’ liability insurance to your business insurance policy when you get a quote online.

How much does business insurance cost?

Your business is unique. So as you might expect, the cost of your business insurance will be unique too. It’ll reflect a whole host of things, like the size of your business, what your business does, and what type of activities you undertake.

To give you some idea of what it could cost, 10% of our customers pay £81 a year*, or less, for their business insurance – so it can be cheaper than you think to get the peace of mind you need. Buy online, and you’ll also automatically save 10%.

With AXA, you can tailor your business insurance, meaning you only choose – and pay for – the cover you need. Putting you in control. And if you’re confused about what to choose, don’t worry, our Business Insurance Wizard can help.

And when you’re ready to buy, you can pay annually, or to help spread the cost, you can choose to pay monthly (subject to acceptance criteria).  

The best way to find out how much it would cost to insure your business is to get a quote online – it only takes a few minutes.

Can I get business insurance before registering my business?

Yes, you can. You can get business insurance before you’ve started trading – and before you have even registered your business.

We don’t need your company registration number or any business registration information. All we need are details on your business address, trade type and your actual/projected turnover.


Why choose AXA Business Insurance?


We protect over 645,000 businesses like yours1


We’ve got a 92% customer satisfaction rate on Feefo2

About us

Keep your company up-and-running no matter what with AXA’s business insurance. We offer flexible, tailored cover to help sole traders, self-employed people and small and medium-sized businesses grow.

Landlord? We’ll protect your commercial or residential property. Use a van? Stay on the road with our comprehensive van insurance.

Running a business is hard work. That’s why we keep insuring one simple.

* 10% of our customers paid this or less between October and December 2021.

1 Based on the number of businesses insured by AXA across the UK and Ireland as of October 31 2019.

2 Based on AXA Business Insurance claims made between July 2018 and June 2019. Figures based on business insurance policies purchased direct through AXA Business Insurance online or over the phone.

3 Based on 14,903 reviews. Accurate as of 28 Apr 2022.

Underwritten by AXA Insurance UK plc. Terms, conditions, limitations, eligibility and exclusions apply.