Behind the jargon: a no-nonsense guide to public liability insurance

Understanding the ins and outs of business insurance can be a struggle. Learn the lingo with our guide.

Safety and insurance

5 February 2019

Ever felt lost when someone talks about blue-sky thinking or low-hanging fruit? You’re not alone. A study by Londonoffices.com found that instead of inspiring workers to ‘run their ideas up the flagpole’, cliched office jargon such as ‘joined up thinking’, ‘forward planning’ and ‘low-hanging fruit’, had the opposite effect of driving them up the wall.

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*10% of our customers paid this or less between January and March 2019.

Not all claims are eligible – each claim is assessed on a case by case basis (see how you can increase your chance of getting your claim paid in 24 hours here). In 2018 we paid 8% of claims in 24 hours and 22% in 48 hours – and we’re working to improve that.

We know that understanding business insurance can be just as confusing. And we think choosing the insurance that’s right for you should be straightforward, not stressful. That’s why we’ve taken things back to basics with our 6 Ws of Business Insurance, where we explain the who, what, why, where, when and hows of business insurance products.

Think concise detail over long-winded definitions. Plain English over jargon. Clarity over complexity.

So, make sense of public liability insurance with our guide and get back to what you do best: working hard for your customers.

What is public liability insurance?

If someone is accidentally injured in your workplace, or if their property is accidentally damaged due to your business’ activities or because of the products you supplied, your business could be responsible by law. Public liability insurance can protect your business against claims to cover damages and legal costs that people may make against your business.

So whether it’s a trip and slip or a serious accident that could wreak havoc on your bank balance, public liability insurance gives you the extra peace of mind you need.

Why do I need public liability insurance?

Risk comes part and parcel with running a business. But no matter how safety-conscious you are, accidents can happen to anyone. And when they do, you want to make sure you’re covered. That’s where public liability insurance can help.

But public liability insurance isn’t just about protecting your business against the accidental missteps of the past and present. Some of your current and future customers may require businesses to have public liability before signing contracts. AXA provides proof of public liability cover to our policy holders, so having this cover in place might prove that your business is professional and responsible, which could help your business gain this work in the future.

Still on the fence deciding if public liability insurance is right for your business? The average settlement cost can run into the thousands, so ask yourself this simple question: ‘Could I afford to pay this if my business was sued and I didn’t have public liability cover under my belt?’. If the answer is no, then public liability insurance could be something to consider.

Who needs public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance is bought by any business that sells a product, provides a service or undertakes a trade. In fact any business that interacts with the general public in any way. This can include shop owners, tradespeople, professionals or small, home-based entrepreneurs.

So if your business interacts with the public in any way, then public liability insurance should be on your radar. And although it isn’t a legal requirement, the security public liability insurance can provide lets you concentrate on keeping your business going without the extra worry of a compensation claim or legal fees.

Many small businesses take out public liability, but if you’re not sure if you need it, either as a legal requirement, as demanded by a contract or simply as best practice, click here to find out more.

When would my business need public liability insurance?

Say you accidentally spill a cup of coffee over a client’s laptop and destroy their strategy documents for the year ahead. Or you forget to put a wet floor sign down and a customer takes a nasty tumble on a floor you’ve just cleaned. Both are examples of businesses failing to provide safe environments for the public, customers or clients, which could result in a claim.

Accidents come in many shapes and sizes, and without public liability insurance, the associated compensation costs and legal fees would come directly from your business, which could be financially devastating.

Find out more about public liability claims on our Making a Claim page.

How much public liability insurance do I need?

When choosing your level of cover, it’s a good idea to bear in mind the size of compensation demands your business could potentially face.

With AXA, you get up to £5 million of cover for compensation payments and the costs of defending a claim. You can also get 50 days’ free cover for temporary employees and £250 court attendance fees per day. AXA also gives you access to our 24-hour legal helpline. Plus, we understand that there’s no business quite like yours, which is why we offer a range of optional extras so you can choose the flexible, tailored protection you need.

Public liability insurance with AXA costs from just £60 a year* – a small price to pay for the protection you need and the peace of mind you want.

Where can I get public liability insurance?

With AXA, getting public liability insurance couldn’t be simpler. Get a free quote online today and you’ll get 10% discount as well as the tailored protection your business needs. Or, if you’d prefer, give us a call on 0330 159 1520 and get a quote from one of our experienced advisors who’ll give you the price that’s right for your business.

Business insurance should be accessible, not alienating. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to make business insurance simpler. Because life’s too short to get bogged down by complex insurance jargon – your time’s better spent running your business.

Work hard, insure simple with AXA

Running a business is hard work. That’s why we’re doing all we can to make insurance simpler. Get a public liability quote from as little as £60* with AXA – simple.

* 10% of our customers paid this or less for public liability insurance between January and March 2019.