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  • Guide to Sole Trader Public Liability Insurance

    Sole Trader Public Liability Insurance

    When you're self-employed as a sole trader, any personal assets you own, such as your home or car, are at risk if you operate without insurance and a claim is brought against you. In this three-minute guide to sole trader public liability insurance, we explain why taking out this type of protection is highly recommended if your work brings you into contact with the public.

    What is public liability insurance?

    Public liability cover is type of insurance that pays out compensation and legal expenses if a member of the public experiences an injury for which they believe you are liable and they decide to sue you.

    Public liability also covers you if you accidentally damage a member of the public’s personal belongings or property while you’re performing your job.

    While not a legal requirement, public liability cover is one of the most essential business insurances you should look to have in place if the work you do, or the scope of services you provide, brings you into contact with the public either directly or indirectly.

    Do I need public liability insurance as a sole trader?

    If you have dealings with the public as a sole trader then public liability is a type of self-employed business insurance you should seriously consider.

    This is because (unlike with a limited company) when you operate as a sole trader it’s not only your business assets that are at risk if you get sued.

    Any personal assets in your name are also on the line. This includes:

    • your savings
    • your home
    • your car

    Therefore, a sole trader operating without public liability cover in place is much more exposed financially than a limited company.

    What you have to remember is that even with the utmost care accidents can still happen and if you’re deemed to be at fault legal action can be brought against you.

    Having a public liability policy in place gives you peace of mind that you’re financially protected if the worst happens, together with the assurance that your home and other assets will be safe.  

    What does public liability insurance cover?

    Sole trader public liability insurance covers you for accidental injury or damage claims brought against you by a member of the public.

    The key word here is accidental. Public Liability insurance won’t pay out if you intentionally injure a member of the public or deliberately cause harm to their home or property.

    Let’s say, for example, you’re a plumber attending to a dripping toilet in a customer’s home. Public liability would protect you if the homeowner accidentally tripped over your tools and sustained an injury.

    Likewise, if you unintentionally caused a leak while attempting to fix the broken toilet, public liability would cover you for any resulting damage to the homeowner’s property or its contents.

    Other instances when sole trader public liability insurance can offer you protection, include:

    • If clients or customers enter your home or other place of business.
    • If you undertake contracts in public places, say a restaurant, school, or a shopping centre.
    • If you organise and host events attended by the public.
    • If you hope to secure a contract with a local authority or council (many councils won’t contract a sole trader who isn’t covered by a public liability insurance policy).

    How much does sole trader public liability insurance cost?

    As with most business insurance, the cost of public liability cover depends on a number of variables, including the level of risk you pose.

    Sole traders that encounter the public on a daily basis, for instance, present a much higher risk than those who do so infrequently.

    How much you’ll pay for your insurance premiums also varies from insurer to insurer.

    Likewise, adding additional types of cover to your policy (for example, tool cover, employers’ liability cover, or professional indemnity insurance) can also raise the price you’ll pay.

    To determine your premiums, an insurer will require some basic information about your business, such as how often your work brings you into contact with the public and whether any of your contracts require a minimum threshold of public liability cover.

    Rather than repeat this process multiple times, the best way to find a competitive quote for sole trader public liability insurance is by visiting our Liability Insurance page and using our quick quote calculator or by giving us a call.

    We’ll compare prices across a top panel of insurers offering public liability protection to match you with the best policy that meets your requirements.

    Want to find out more about Bluedrop's Liability Insurance?
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