Employers' liability insurance

Essential cover for your employees from £5 a month*

  • Fast, easy online quote in just 90 seconds

  • Interest free direct debit

  • No hidden fees or cancellation charges

Employers' liability insurance is a legal requirement if your business employs people on a full or part time basis. It safeguards your business against compensation claims made by employees if they are injured or become ill as a result of the work they do for you.

With over 25 years’ experience offering employers’ liability cover, we can offer specialist cover designed to protect your business and its employees.

What is employers' liability insurance?

As an employer, you are responsible for the health and safety of your employees whilst they are at work. If they suffer an injury or illness due to the work they do for you, they may try to claim compensation.

Employers’ liability insurance, or EL insurance, is there to protect you in these circumstances.

The requirement for employers to purchase this type of insurance was introduced under the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. This Act ensures that employers have a minimum level of insurance to cover any EL claim for the cost of compensation awarded to employees.

It’s important not to get public liability insurance and employers’ liability insurance mixed up. Public liability insurance provides financial protection for claims made against you by members of the public or customers, whereas employers’ liability insurance relates solely to your employees.

Click here for more information on what is employers’ liability insurance.

What does employers' liability insurance cover?

Employers’ liability insurance protects you if an employee sues you as a result of a work-related injury or illness. It’s an employer protection insurance that covers the legal costs in defending the claim as well as any compensation payments due.

The most common claims tend to be slips, trips and falls. An example would be if an employee tripped over a computer cable or loose floor tile and broke their arm. They are unable to work for several weeks and decide to seek compensation for their injury from you. Apart from slips, trips and falls, other examples of accidents and injuries that can result in employers' liability claims include:

Accidents caused by defective tools or machinery

Manual handling accidents

Repetitive strain injuries

Occupational diseases such as occupational dermatitis or occupational asthma

Need to know more about what’s covered? Read our employers liability insurance - what does it cover information here.

Why is employers' liability insurance important?

Employers’ liability insurance cover is a legal requirement in the UK for most businesses that employ at least one member of staff. So, unless you are exempt from this requirement, it is essential cover for any business with staff.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can fine businesses up to £2,500 a day if they don’t take out the necessary cover. It can also fine businesses £1,000 if they fail to display their employers’ liability insurance certificate.

Employers' liability insurance can play an important part in protecting your business’ finances from the risk of potentially large compensation claims. No matter how careful you are when it comes to safeguarding the wellbeing of your employees, there is always the possibility that someone will be injured or suffer an illness due to the work they do for you.

If this happens and the injured party takes legal action, you could find yourself facing significant costs unless you have employers’ liability coverage in place.

Do I need employers’ liability insurance?

If your business is located in the UK and you have one or more employees, it is very likely that you need employers’ liability insurance. There are a small number of exceptions to this, as outlined below.

How much employers’ liability cover do I need?

Most businesses are legally required to have employers’ liability insurance of at least £5 million. However, some businesses opt for more cover than this. Our employers’ liability coverage provides £10 million worth of cover. When deciding how much financial protection you need, you should consider the specific risks and liabilities that your business faces.


How much is employers’ liability insurance?

Employers' liability insurance from Markel Direct starts from only £5 per month*, and we give you the option of paying your premium over 10 interest-free monthly instalments. When you buy cover from us, you can rest assured you won’t be hit with any hidden fees. Also, if you want to cancel your policy, you won’t face any cancellation charges.

Is employers’ liability compulsory insurance?

You are legally required to get employers’ liability insurance unless you are exempt from the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.

Examples of those who are exempt from employers’ insurance include:

• Businesses that employ only their owner
(where that employee also owns half or more of the issued share capital of the company)

•  Family businesses where all employees are direct family members
(excluding family businesses that are incorporated as limited companies)

•  Businesses whose only employees are based abroad

•  Certain public bodies

If you are not sure if your business is exempt, you can find more in this HSE guide.

How can I buy employers' liability insurance?

First of all, you’ll need an employers’ liability insurance quote. Simply fill in our quick and easy online form today to get a quote that you can tailor to your individual needs. Receive an online quote in less than two minutes.


Why choose employers’ liability insurance from Markel Direct?

Here are just some of the reasons to purchase your cover from us:

Specialist employers’ liability insurance for small businesses
Our policies are designed to provide you with the protection you need, with premiums starting at just £5 a month*.

Cover you can trust
We are a division of Markel International, a Lloyd’s and London market insurer..

Get a quote in seconds
Simply fill in our quick and easy online quote form today to get a employers' liability insurance quote that you can tailor to suit your businesses’ individual needs. It takes just 90 seconds.

Sector-specific insurance
We provide employers’ liability for small businesses, employers’ liability insurance for contractors, and employers’ liability insurance for sole trader, freelancers, charities and community groups.

Positive customer reviews
We are highly rated by our customers on Feefo.com.

* The £5 a month referenced is based on a business with less than five employees and a £10 million limit of cover.

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Cover starting at £5 a month

Frequently asked questions

  • Does employers’ liability insurance cover staff working from home?

    Your employers’ liability cover must extend to wherever your employees are working, and this includes their homes. Most policies should include this cover automatically, but check the details of your policy with your insurer.

  • What’s the difference between employers’ liability insurance and public liability insurance?

    Public liability insurance covers against allegations of injury or illness suffered by third parties (such as members of the public or clients), or damage to third party property, because of your negligence. Public liability insurance doesn't cover your employees.

    Employer's liability insurance, however, covers against allegations of injury or illness suffered by employees arising from their employment with you.

    Both covers are essential if you have employees and interact with members of the public or clients.

  • Do I need to tell my workers that I have employers’ liability insurance?

    When you purchase or renew an employers’ liability insurance policy, your insurer will provide you with an employers’ liability certificate that states the companies covered by the policy and the minimum level of cover. You must make this certificate accessible to your workers and to the HSE.

  • Do I need employers' liability insurance for volunteers?

    You have a duty of care to any volunteers who work for you. Insuring them against injury or illness generally falls under either employers’ liability insurance or public liability insurance – depending on the terms of these policies. Markel Direct’s employers’ liability insurance provides liability insurance for volunteers as well as employees.

  • Do I need employers’ liability insurance for temporary workers?

    Yes. You need this insurance any time you are responsible for members of staff, regardless of whether they are temporary, permanent, part-time or full-time.

  • Do company directors need employers' liability insurance?

    If you’re the sole director of a limited company and have no employees, you do not need this cover. However, you may find that clients require you to hold employers' liability insurance cover as a contractual requirement. If you do not have any employees, it's worth checking with your client whether they require you to hold employers' liability insurance.

  • What is an ERN number, and where can I find it?

    If you’re registered as an employer with HMRC, you’ll have an ERN number (also known as your Employer PAYE Reference). You’ll find this in your HMRC welcome pack, on your P60 and on most HMRC correspondence.

    We’re required to collect this number by our regulators. ELTO (the Employer's Liability Trading Office) have a database which enables employees to identify their previous employer's insurers should they need to make a claim in the future.

    If you are not registered as an employer with HMRC, you are exempt from holding an ERN number and do not need to provide one to us.

  • What other types of business insurance might I need?

    As well as employers’ liability insurance, there are a number of other forms of small business insurance that you may need. They include:

    • Public and product liability insurance
    • Professional indemnity insurance
    • Legal expenses insurance
    • Directors and officers insurance
    • Office insurance
    • Cyber and data risks insurance
  • How are Markel Direct regulated?

    Markel International Insurance Company Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Find out more on the Financial Services Register.

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Cover starting at £5 a month

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Cover starting at £5 a month

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