Public and product liability insurance

Specialist public liability insurance (including product liability insurance) from £5 per month*.

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If your business regularly deals with clients, members of the public, suppliers or contractors, public liability insurance is very important. This type of insurance is designed to protect your business against compensation claims should a third party be injured or their property be damaged because of the actions of your business.

At Markel, our specialist public liability insurance comes with product liability insurance included. This cover specifically protects you against the costs of compensation claims if a third party is injured or their property is damaged by a product you’ve manufactured or distributed.

What is public liability insurance?

If your business has contact with the public, it’s important to understand exactly what public liability is. Public liability insurance covers the cost of claims made by members of the public or external stakeholders, in the event of an incident that causes injury or harm, or damage to property. It’s designed to protect your business against losses that may stem from:

  • Injury you cause to a third party during your business activities
  • Damage you cause to third party property
  • Personal injury to others or damage to their property.

If your business comes into contact with clients or customers, or regularly deals with members of the public - such as an on-site meeting or consultation - you should consider arranging public liability insurance.

What is covered by public liability insurance?

If someone is hurt or their property is damaged as a result of your operations, you could be left out of pocket if you don’t have suitable insurance in place. With public liability insurance, you’ll be covered against:

✔ Personal injury claims, such as slips trips and falls

Public liability insurance can protect you against a wide range of personal injury claims. Whether a customer slips on a wet floor, a client trips over a loose wire or a contractor falls down a flight of stairs, you’ll have peace of mind that the costs of compensation pay-outs will be covered.

✔ Property damage claims

If you damage someone’s property during the course of your business operations, public liability insurance can cover the costs if a claim is made against you. For example, if a dance teacher accidently damages a client’s phone while demonstrating a dance routine or a business consultant accidently spills a coffee over a client’s laptop while visiting them on site, public liability insurance could protect them.

✔ Legal protection

If someone suffers an injury or property damage as a result of your business activities, our public liability insurance covers the legal costs associated with defending a claim brought against you.

✔ Medical expenses

An injured party can hold you liable for out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical fees, the costs of medicines and medical equipment, rehabilitation bills and more. Public liability insurance can protect you against these types of expenses.

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What is not covered by public liability insurance?

While public liability insurance can provide financial protection in a wide range of scenarios, it’s important to understand that it does not cover every eventuality. Here are some examples of situations where you’d need additional protection:

  • Accidents that happen to you

If you can’t work because you’ve been injured in the course of your business operations, public liability won’t cover you. However, our occupational personal accident insurance could provide you with the income support you need while you recover.

  • Damage to your property

Public liability doesn’t cover damage to your own property - only to others' property. If you want to protect your business from a wide range of risks, you should consider taking out a specialist office and business equipment insurance policy.

  • Employee injuries and illnesses

If an employee brings a claim against you because of an injury they’ve sustained or an illness they’ve developed due to their work, public liability won’t protect you. Employers are legally obliged to have employers’ liability insurance to deal with these situations.

  • Payments of fine or penalties

Public liability insurance does not cover the cost of fines or penalties of any kind. 

  • Environmental claims

Environmental claims are not covered by public liability insurance.

Do I need public liability insurance?

Public liability is not a legal requirement for businesses. However, there are a multitude of reasons why having this insurance in place makes good business sense. Here are some of the main reasons business owners take out public liability cover:

  • You may find yourself in breach of contract

If a contract requires you to have public liability insurance, you could be in breach of contract if you don’t have this cover in place. This could result in the contract being terminated and a claim being brought against you.

  • You could miss out on opportunities

If you don’t have public liability, you could miss out on contracts that state that this cover is a prerequisite.

  • You may be denied membership of professional bodies and trade associations

To register with some membership bodies, you need to have public liability insurance in place.

  • You may find yourself in breach of regulations

If you are regulated by a professional body, you may be in breach of regulations if you don’t have public liability insurance.

  • Without adequate insurance you could experience serious financial implications

Neglecting to take out public liability insurance could have serious financial implications for your business. If a claim is brought against you, you could end up having to file for bankruptcy as a result of the damages you have to pay.

When it comes to who needs public liability insurance, if you come into contact with members of the public in the course of your business operations, this insurance is important to have.

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How much does public liability insurance cost?

At Markel, specialist public and product liability insurance starts from £5 per month* and you can choose from a range of limits (from £1m to £5m) to suit your business.

The exact cost of your policy will depend on the specifics of your business, the unique risks you face and the level of public liability cover you need. When calculating your premium, we will take a variety of factors into account, including:

  • The size of your business

The bigger your business, the more cover you should consider.

  • The industry you operate in

Businesses that work in industries that involve a lot of direct contact with the public will likely need more cover than those that have little direct contact with the public.

  • The nature of your business

If your work involves dangerous machinery or equipment, for example, there may be a greater risk to the public. This means that you’ll need more cover than a business that doesn’t have these risks.

For your convenience, you can choose to pay by direct debit in 10 monthly interest-free instalments. In addition, we don’t charge any fees to change or cancel your policy.

*The £5 a month premium referenced is based on a public liability (including products liability) insurance policy with a £1 million level of cover.

For more insurance help and guidance, click here.

Why choose Markel for public liability insurance?

Here at Markel, we’re experts when it comes to protecting your finances. Here are just a few of the reasons why businesses trust us with their public liability insurance:

✔ Legal advice available 24/7

We understand how frustrating it can be to have to wait for answers when you’re facing a legal claim. At Markel, we provide our customers with access to a legal helpline run by experienced solicitors that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

✔ Quick quotes

Get a quote in as little as 90 seconds by filling in our easy online form. 

✔ High customer satisfaction ratings

We make it our mission to provide the businesses we insure with excellent customer service. Our commitment to high-quality service is reflected in our high ratings on

✔ Transparent fees

Our public liability insurance offers great value for money. When you buy a policy from us, you won’t be hit with any hidden fees. If you want to change or cancel a policy, you won’t incur any extra fees either.

✔ 25 years’ experience

With over 25 years of experience in business insurance, you can trust us to provide you with the financial protection you need.

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Policy Documents

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Cover starting at £5 a month

Frequently asked questions

  • Is public liability insurance a legal requirement?

    Public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement for businesses,. However, the costs of mounting a legal defence in the event of a claim, plus the possibility of paying damages or compensation, can be extensive and very damaging to smaller operations. Having this type of cover in place can be the assurance you need for working with clients and members of the public.

    You may also find that clients or organisations you work with require you to have public liability insurance in place before you can start work


  • I need public liability insurance to start work straight away - do you provide proof of cover?

    Yes. If you purchase your policy with us, your documents are emailed to you instantly and include a dedicated 'Confirmation of Liability Insurance' document (detailing the cover you have with us) which you can present to agencies and clients as proof of cover.

  • What limit of cover should I choose?

    Some clients may require you to have a certain amount of public and product liability insurance cover before entering into a contract with you - for example, if you are working from a client's offices or hiring a premises for your activities. You may want to check if this is the case when choosing your limit.

    If this isn't the case, give some thought to a worst case scenario and the likely costs involved with not only defending the allegation, but also the compensation you would have to pay to put your mistake right. We offer limits ranging from £1m to £5m, so you are sure to find the right cover for your business' needs.

  • Does public liability insurance cover my business for the actions of my employees?

    If an employee was responsible for accidentally injuring a member of the public or damaging their property during the course of their work, public liability insurance could protect your business against claims that may be brought against you.

    However, it’s important to understand that public liability does not cover you if an employee makes a claim against you. In this case, you would need employers’ liability insurance.

  • Is public liability insurance tax deductible?

    Yes, public liability insurance is tax deductible as it is deemed an ‘allowable expense’. This means that you can deduct the cost of your premium when calculating your taxable profit.

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

    Public liability covers you for personal injury and property damage claims made by members of the public. Employers’ liability, on the other hand, protects you against claims brought against you by your employees.

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

    General liability is a broad term that is usually used in the United States. It is used to describe commercial insurance policies that protect against injury, illness and property damage. In the UK, the terms ‘public liability insurance’ or ‘product liability insurance’ tends to be used instead.

  • Why do charities need public liability insurance?

    Public liability cover can offer financial protection to charities in the event that someone files a claim for injury or property damage against them. If a charity is found to be negligent, this important type of charity insurance is designed to cover the costs of compensation and legal fees.

    You can find out more on why public liability insurance is important for charities here in our guide.

  • Do self-employed people need public liability insurance?

    As a self-employed worker, your business may not revolve around members of the public so much as it does your clients or colleagues. But if any aspect of your job involves hosting people – whether that’s in your home, an office building or at a shared workplace - business public liability insurance is an important consideration.

    Having public liability insurance in place for your business ensures that you’re covered if the worst should happen. For clients and customers alike, it’s the best way of demonstrating that you’re serious about maintaining a positive professional relationship.

  • How can I check a public liability policy meets my needs?

    Public liability insurance policies can vary a lot so public liability insurance policy wordings tend to be very comprehensive. Before going ahead with buying your insurance, it’s worth checking the details to ensure that the policy meets your requirements. You can read the policy wording by downloading the policy document just above on the right under ‘Policy Documents’. You’ll be able to see what exactly is covered, limits of cover and compensation and any policy exclusions.

    As mentioned above, if you’re purchasing public liability because you’re required to have it as part of a contract, double check the contract to ensure that the level of cover you’re purchasing meets the level of cover your client has specified.

    If public liability insurance isn’t required by a client, but you’re purchasing it to protect your business, think of a worst case scenario and how much that would cost. By doing this, it will help you to judge the level of cover you may need.

    If you have any questions about what our public liability insurance covers, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

  • How are Markel 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

More specialist cover

  • Professional indemnity insurance

    Professional indemnity insurance covers the cost of defending your business against allegations of professional negligence (such as giving your client incorrect or wrongful advice) and any compensation or damages subsequently awarded against you. This is essential insurance if you provide advice, designs or services to your client. Cover is available with limits ranging from £50,000 to £5m.

  • Employer's liability insurance

    Employer’s liability insurance is a legal requirement if your business has employees. It covers your business against claims for injury or illness suffered by employees arising from their employment. If you employ staff, even on a part time basis, you almost certainly need this cover. Cover for £10m.

  • Directors and officers insurance

    Directors and officers insurance covers the costs of defending you as a director or officer of your company against allegations of wrongful acts and any damages subsequently awarded against you. Cover is also provided in respect of the legal costs and expenses of defending actions for disqualification as a director, investigations and extradition proceedings. Limits range from £25,000 to £5m.

  • Office insurance

    Office insurance covers your office buildings, office contents and computer equipment against accidental damage (including theft) whilst on your business premises. You can also choose to cover your business equipment (such as laptops and mobile phones) on a worldwide basis, and insure your business against loss of income and/or additional trading expenses following events such as damage to your property

  • Occupational personal accident

    Occupational personal accident insurance can help you maintain an income if you're accidentally injured at work.

  • Legal expenses insurance

    Legal expenses insurance pays your legal costs and expenses for contract disputes, tax enquiries (including IR35), attending jury service, debt recovery, personal injury, as well as any award you are required to pay following an employment dispute with an employee. Limit of £100,000.

  • Cyber and data risks insurance

    Cyber and data risks insurance helps you when you're the victim of a targeted cyber attack, paying the costs of restoring data and equipment, informing clients, meeting ransom demands and loss of your net profit. It also pays your legal defence costs and damages you are legally liable to pay to other parties.

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