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

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.

You can choose public liability insurance as a standalone policy or bundle it together with employers’ liability insurance, to give you an extra layer of protection. Click here to find out more about employers’ liability.

What’s covered by public liability insurance?

Here’s what you’ll get with AXA’s public liability insurance:

  • Up to £5 million cover for compensation payments
  • £250 court attendance costs per day to defend a claim
  • Access to a 24-hour legal helpline
  • Legal costs of up to £1 million for claims of accidental bodily injury, loss or damage to third party material property, or wrongful arrest in connection with the business
  • Legal costs/expenses of up to £1 million in connection with alleged breach of statutory duty under health and safety, consumer protection or food safety legislation
  • Legal costs in connection with criminal inquiry into manslaughter/corporate manslaughter, culpable homicide or corporate homicide

Does public liabilty insurance cover my employees?

Public liability insurance won’t cover you for any claims that are made by your employees or including volunteers, temporary workers or borrowed workers, as it’s designed to cover 3rd party claims from your clients, suppliers, or the general public. So, if an employee is accidentally injured as a result of working for you, public liability isn’t going to cover you for that claim.

For your employees to be covered, you’ll need to have employers’ liability insurance which is a requirement of the Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 and a requirement for all businesses with employees.

How does Public Liability Insurance work?

No matter how careful you are, accidents happen – and that means sometimes a claim can happen too. But that’s where public liability insurance comes in.

From just £56 a year*, it can help protect your small business against accidental injury and property damage claims made by your customers, members of the public or people you visit.

When the worst happens, and you need to make a claim, we’ve got your back. We recommend keeping getting photographs of where the accident happened if you are able, so that if we need you to provide them, you have them to hand. This will help make your claims process easier.

How much does public liability insurance cost?

When it comes to the cost of your insurance, there’s no one size fits all. There are many factors that go into determining the price you pay – from where you work, to the type of work you do, and the number of staff you have.

On average, our business insurance customers paid £56* for public liability insurance in 2021.

Our cover is tailored to your business’s needs, meaning you’ll only ever pay for the cover you need. The quickest way to find out your price? Get a quote online today.

What factors affect the cost of my public liability insurance?

The price of your public liability insurance is dependent on a whole range of factors. For example, the following are just some of the factors an insurer will consider when it comes to deciding your quote price.

  • Your occupation can affect the cost of your insurance, because trades that use lots of equipment in their day-to-day operations, or use or dangerous machinery are consider higher risk
  • Where you complete your work can affect your premium because business that are in areas with heavy footfall, or who interact more consistently with members of the pubic, are at higher risk of accidents occurring.
  • How many staff you have will affected your premium as more employees opens to up to more possibilities of claims resulting in negligence or accidental injury.
  • Your turnover affects your policy price as a higher turnover suggests that you work with a large volume of clients, expensive contracts, or a combination of both. This means your risk factor for an insurer is higher.

Getting a quote – need to know

With our straightforward business quote process, it’s easier than you think to get a quote online.

You’ll need to answer a few questions about the type of work that you do, so have a think about the type of work your business carries out.

What will we ask you when you get a quote?

Take a look at this handy checklist and get prepared.

  • Your business name and address
  • How many employees you have (both full-time and part-time staff)
  • How long you’ve been in business
  • Contact information
  • Details of any previous claims you’ve filed

Paying for public liability insurance

Whether you purchase your public liability insurance on its own or combine it with another type of cover, you can pay your public liability insurance by direct debit, in yearly or monthly instalments. To pay monthly, remember that you may have to meet specific eligibility criteria.

Is Public Liability insurance tax deductible?

HMRC has included your insurance covers as an allowable expense, meaning that public liability insurance is tax deductible. So, when you’re calculating your taxes be sure to deduct the costs of any business insurances.

When it comes to calculating your taxes, it would be wise to consult an accountant who can help you determine what is and isn’t tax deductible.

Do I need public liability insurance?

While public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement, you may need it to be able to deal with your client contracts, and some companies are obliged by their supervisory or membership body to take out certain levels of business insurance. Many small businesses take out public liability, but if you’re not sure if you need it, either as a legal requirement, contractually or as best practice, click here to find out more. Or, give us a call and chat to one of our friendly and experienced advisors who’ll keep you right.

How much public liability insurance do I need?

At AXA, we have varying levels of public liability meaning that you can choose the level of cover you need to suit your business and nobody else’s. Our cover goes up to £5 million protection - that way, you’re in control.

Need to change your level? No problem! You can change you level of cover online at any time through your AXA account, so that you can rest assured that you always have the most up to date cover.

Occupations that need public liability insurance

There are many instances where a business may need to rely on public liability insurance to protect its interests. All businesses who interact with clients and/or the general public is any capacity should consider investing in public liability insurance.

Some of the occupations that might consider public liability are:




Event managers


Small restaurants/cafes



Do I need public liability insurance if I'm self-employed?

Whether or not you need public liability insurance when you’re self-employed is going to depend on a few things, most importantly what type of business you are running. Public liability is focused on accidental injury or illness caused to others as a result of your business and its activities, so if you come in contact with customers or clients, then you should consider this cover even when you’re self-employed.

What’s a typical example of a public liability claim?

While you do your best to get everything right, a minor accident can lead to claims costs that run into the thousands. Of course, the type of public liability claim you’re likely to face depends heavily on the industry that you’re working in.


Possible public liability claims for office workers/professionals 

Even if you’re working in what seems like a humdrum office, there are still risks that you face and as a business owner, need to insure against.

Maybe you invite a client into the office for a meeting, and they’re injured by tripping over a loose cable. Perhaps a spilled coffee causes someone to slip and hurt their wrist. Or a promotional stand injures someone by falling over at an event that you’re organising.


Possible public liability claims for retailers/hospitality/services 

In retail, hospitality or services? When you’re dealing with the public all day, you know all about the unpredictability of people – and the inevitability of accidents.

You could be a café owner who accidentally injures a customer by spilling scalding hot coffee over them. Maybe someone is injured by tripping over a step into your boutique, or one of your event staff damages a conference hall floor when dismantling a stand. 

Whether small or serious, each of these accidents would be less financially harmful to your business if you were covered with public liability insurance. It’ll help you with compensation costs and legal fees related to claims made against you for third party injury and damage.

Curious about different types of public liability claims? Find out more here.

Possible public liability claims for tradesmen

When you’re working as a tradesperson, you’re travelling from job to job – whether that’s in an office or in and out of client’s homes. Such close contact with third party property and risk of injury means it’s important for you to consider public liability insurance to protect your business.

A few examples of possible public liability claims:

  • A joiner who fits a shelving unit incorrectly, which falls – damaging expensive ornaments
  • An electrician whose trailing cables are tripped over by a customer, causing injury
  • A plumber who fails to fit a pipe properly, resulting in flood damage to the home
  • A groundsman who trips burst watermain

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What’s covered?

Get the level of cover and optional extras you want to suit your business – not someone else’s.

Making a claim

Public liability claims can happen to anyone. And when they do - we're here to help.

Is AXA Public Liability Insurance right for you?

Most businesses need public liability insurance these days. And most of those businesses can get a quote quickly and easily online.

But for some larger businesses with more complex needs, we may need to speak to you to make sure we’ve got you properly protected.

We won’t be able to cover you online if your business:

  • Has more than eight people 
  • Has an annual turnover of more than £500,000 
  • Is based outside Great Britain (England, Scotland or Wales)

If your business is or has any of these things, we’ll need to get some more details from you to make sure we can give you a quote that meets your needs.


Why you should choose AXA Public Liability Insurance

We know public liability insurance can sometimes be hard to get your head around – and that’s why we make it as easy as possible for you.

When you need to protect your business, you can go ahead and do it quickly online. While you’re there, you can pick and choose the covers you need. And once you’re insured, you can then rely on one of the world’s largest insurance companies. Simple, isn’t it?

Eight great reasons to choose AXA Public Liability Insurance

  1. The choice is yours
    You can choose the level of public liability cover you need – and any optional extras you need too. You can also take it on its own or as a package with employers’ liability and professional indemnity insurance. That way, you’re in control.
  2. Make changes online – when and where it suits
    When you get public liability insurance from AXA, you can make a number of changes online when it suits you. Want to change the level of cover? Go ahead. Add a new employee? That’s cool. Add new tools? Why not?
  3. Easy access – at any time
    We think your policy documents should be as simple, secure and accessible as possible. That’s why we’ve provided you with an online My AXA Account, where you can access your important documents as soon as you’ve purchased public liability insurance.
  4. Get 10% off when you buy online
    When you buy public liability insurance online, you’ll benefit from a 10% discount. It’s the protection you’d expect from AXA – for less.
  5. Need to make a claim? Go ahead
    We all know accidents can happen at any time. And that’s why there’s no limit to the number of times you can make a public liability claim in any one period of insurance.
  6. Now you’ve made a claim – track it online
    Once you’ve made your claim, our award-winning claims service1 are on hand to help – and you’ll be able to track the whole thing from start to finish online.
  7. Award-winning customer service
    When you need to speak to us, we’ve got a team of advisers waiting to help at our award-winning UK-based call centre.2 And you can use our live chat system to chat to them online too.
  8. Cover you can trust
    We’ve got a 96% customer satisfaction rate on Feefo3 – and we’re part of the AXA Group, one of the world’s largest insurance companies. Now that’s cover you can rely on.

Getting covered with AXA

Does public liability insurance cover accidental damage? 

Public liability can be used to cover accidental damage to a third party –e.g. damage to a site that a tradesperson is working on, or in an office that a professional is working in. 

Public liability insurance does not cover accidental damage to your own property, fixtures or fittings. 

Does public liability insurance cover loss of earnings? 

If you damage a third party property and this damage prevents them from earning money, public liability insurance will cover loss of earnings as part of an accidental damage claim. 

Does my insurance cover employees? 

If you’re looking to protect your staff in case they’re injured or fall ill as a result of working for you, then you need employers’ liability cover. 

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.

** Based on public liability settlements made by AXA in 2013.

Our claims team have won leading industry awards at the British Insurance Awards 2012, The Claims Awards 2012, CII Public Interest Awards 2015 and The British Insurance Awards 2015.

In October 2013, AXA Business Insurance won Medium Contact Centre of the Year at the European Call Centre and Customer Service Awards.

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