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What is Public Liability Insurance?

Public Liability (PL) Insurance is one of the main insurances required by contractors. The policy provides cover for legal representation and compensation arising from claims made against your company in respect of bodily injury or damage to property suffered by third parties.

End clients and recruitment agencies will usually specify that you have Public Liability insurance, often with a minimum level of cover of £1m or now more commonly £2m, if not £5m or £10m in place before letting you commence the engagement

It’s a common misconception that the insurance of the end client and/or recruitment agency extends to cover the contractors on their books, however, in almost all cases it doesn’t. This leaves the contractor open to claims and enormously exposed, which is why having PL insurance is essential.  

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Why choose a Roots Public Liability Insurance policy?

Our Public Liability (PL) product is one of the best on the market for the trades we cover and the price we charge. Premiums start at just £50.00 (inclusive of Insurance Premium Tax) for Public Liability. In addition, the excess payable in the event of a claim can be reduced from £500 to £0 for just a small additional cost. Our policies are underwritten by some of the largest insurers in the world and have claims handled by top UK legal firms, meaning that our Public Liability offering is as good as they come.

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PL Policy Benefits

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Quote & Buy in Minutes

Our website is based on the latest technology, combined with insurer flexibility. This allows you to get a firm quote in under a minute, and be able to progress and buy and receive your policy documents in just a couple of minutes more, all available on 24/7/365 self-service basis.

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Expert Advice

We’ve been involved in the contractor insurance marketplace for over a decade, working at senior manager and board level at some of the most well known companies. Our highly experienced staff have personally reviewed thousands of contracts from an IR35 status perspective.

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Tailored for Contractors

All of our insurances and IR35 status reviews are designed to the exact needs of contractors, they’re not generic off-the-shelf policies. We back it up with highly experienced staff who are able to answer any queries may have, all from our Loughborough office in the heart of the Midlands.

PL Insurance Policy Features

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Defence Costs

Cover for the legal costs and expenses incurred in relation to the investigation and defence of a claim, including any appeal issued in connection with it. Compensation is covered separately, giving you double the coverage.

 

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Compensation

Cover for damages and awards which your business is legally liable to pay as compensation arising from any accidental bodily injury and/or property damage that emanates from your business providing its professional services.

 

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Employers Liability as an Optional Add-On

Extend cover to ensure that damages and awards which your business is legally liable to pay as compensation arising from any accidental bodily injury and/or property damage to employees is covered.

 

Frequently Asked Public Liability Insurance Questions

 

What is public liability insurance? 

Public liability insurance provides protection against claims made against the business from the end client, the general public and people the business visits that alleges personal injury or property damage. It is therefore integral for those contractors who interact regularly with customers, be that at home or the end clients office. The end client of every contractor is their customer given they are providing services to them, meaning they at the very real risk of a claim being made against them.    

Who needs public liability insurance? 

Public liability insurance is often mistakenly thought of as only being required if your business operates from an office, but those without an office are still at a high risk of having a claim made against them, often through something as minor as someone tripping over their laptop bag or damaging property of the end client. No matter how careful you are, accidents will always happen, and contractors working in trades which involve any degree of manual work are virtually always requested to hold public liability insurance at all times as a result. 

Public liability, unlike employers liability, is not a legal requirement. However, virtually all contractors take it out either because end clients and agencies insist that a contractor hold Public Liability insurance before they are allowed to commence on a contract, or they prefer to obtain the protection and peace of mind having the insurance in place come what may. 

How does public liability insurance assist my business? 

Public liability covers your business for any claims made against you by the end client or members of the general public, typically for personal injury, serious illness or accidental death, or damage to their property. The policy reacts by covering the legal costs in defending the claim as well as paying the damages for which you are found liable, the costs of repairing the damaged property, or even NHS costs i.e. the ambulance call-out, if they decide to make a claim against you. 

How does holding public liability insurance help me with my IR35 position? 

From an IR35 perspective, a business strengthens its IR35 status by holding public liability as it shows the company to be in business on its own account – unlike an employee who would be covered under its employers liability policies. A vast number of contractors feel it is prudent to have this insurance in place even if the end client or agency do not request it. 

Do I need public liability insurance? 

Accidents happen on a daily basis, we just think that we are careful and therefore it won’t, or is unlikely to happen to us.  The truth is that it can happen to any business, and when it does it becomes the very real problem of vast legal fees and compensation for the business owner to sort out, meaning a lot of stress and financial worry.  Slips and trips are in the news every day and are one of the most common accidents that occur, it could even be a result of tripping over your laptop bag or tool. Public liability insurance takes away this hassle and provides peace of mind to allow you to continue doing what you do best, obtaining and working on contacts. 

What is the minimum indemnity limit required for public liability insurance? 

There is no legal or set requirement on the minimum level of indemnity that is required. Most end clients and agencies contractually require a minimum level of cover of £1m, with the most common now being £2m, as they do not want to be vicariously (indirectly) liable for the actions of a contractor who has no insurance of their own. Higher limits of £5m and £10m are offered and commonplace for contractors. 

Does public liability insurance cover accidents I or my employees suffer? 

Public liability insurance won’t cover you for accidents that happen to you personally or your employees, nor will it cover you, your business or your employees’ property. Employers liability and general business insurances should be taken out to ensure cover is in place for these potential risks. 

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