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What Does Public Liability Insurance Cover?

Rhino Trade Insurance 22 November 2021

All of the team at Rhino Trade Insurance love a handy and helpful guide - who doesn't? Whether it's on how to start a YouTube channel, what makes the perfect English breakfast, or what exactly Public Liability Insurance covers

Working as a tradesman in this fast, ever-changing world is a constant challenge. In a single day, you could be juggling customer complaints, supplier issues, or hiring subcontractors (all whilst deciding which meal deal to get for your lunch). If something were to go drastically wrong on-site, you want to feel confident knowing that you or your business will be protected.  

So, here it is for you, ladies and gentlemen. Like a dictionary with all the answers, we have put together the full 'shebang' of what Public Liability Insurance covers and how it will help tradesmen out of a sticky situation. 

What is Public Liability Insurance?

In layman's terms, if you are working on a job and a customer, client or member of the public injures themselves, has accidental damage caused to their property or dies as a result of your work, then your business could be held responsible. Public Liability Insurance provides that all-important cover for you or your business should the worst happen and is deemed 'business critical' for self-employed tradespeople.

Do I need Public Liability Insurance?

The short answer is yes. Having Public Liability Insurance in place gives you a feeling of invincibility. You'll be walking on-site like Tony Montana shouting, 'say hello to my little friend,' holding up your policy. 

No matter how careful and diligent you are, a self-employed tradesman will need to hold Public Liability Insurance in order to protect against everyday accidents, death or damage claims; otherwise, it could spell disaster for your business. 

Not to teach a snake how to lie down, but to conclude this section, Public Liability cover is the most common form of tradesman insurance. It provides that all-important security against the cost of a third party (individual or corporate) launching legal action against your business due to injury, death or damage caused by you. Our policy will provide you with the cover for legal costs and compensation if required, up to your chosen level of cover that your policy includes. 

How does it protect my customers?

Whether you are a builder, plumber, glazier or any other trade, you must take the necessary steps to provide a duty of care to any members of the public. Carrying out risk assessments and safety checks on a site can help you spot any potential risks or hazards posed to a customer, visitor or third party. Despite all your precautions, should an incident happen, you risk the public's and your own businesses safety by not being adequately covered. 

What does Public Liability Insurance cover?

In good old Rhino fashion, we have put together a few examples of how Public Liability can cover your business. Let's be totally clear, the list could go on as long as your arm, but let's just take a look at some common claims related to tradesmen.


Consider the situation: You're a roofer working at heights most of your day using plenty of different tools, materials and other bits and pieces. Dropping a tool, some materials or falling can't be predicted, so having the proper precautions in place is a must to give you and your business the protection it needs. 


Imagine you're an electrician working in a customer's home, and as you're wiring several light fixings, you scratch their wood floor with your tools and crack the ceiling with your drill. An easy mistake to make no matter how good you are at your job. The customer, rightly, expects you to leave their property in the state you entered it and without the correct cover, it would be you footing the bill to get the property back in order

Slips and trips

Perhaps you are a kitchen fitter installing some new cabinets, sink and worktop. After turning the water back on after replacing the sink, you cause a small leak that the client slips on. Easy mistake, though Public Liability Insurance protects you from any claims arising from the event. 

How much Public Liability Insurance do I need?

We get asked this quite often, but it ultimately comes down to your business needs. Rhino Trade Insurance can offer you Public Liability cover from £1 million, £2 million, £5 million and £10 million.  

If you’re unsure of the amount of cover your business needs, we can work it out together by weighing up the risks involved in your daily work lives. The majority of tradespeople with regular contact with public members usually start their cover at £2 million.

So is that everything?

Speaking with our tradesman friends on a daily basis shows how each case is different. Public Liability Insurance (albeit not needed by law) makes sound business sense. However, it's not generally bought as standalone insurance. Most businesses will add Employers' Liability Insurance if they employ staff as this is needed by law. Tool Insurance,  Income Protection, and Contractors All Risks Insurance are just some of the other popular cover options that our customers add to their Public Liability Insurance. 

Get your Public Liability Insurance quote now.

And that's all, folks. You might be sat wondering what all this is about or have specific questions about your situation. That's absolutely fine. The team at Rhino have years of experience handling tradesman insurance questions and is here ready and waiting six days a week for your calls

If you'd prefer, we have our super-simple online quote page, which will give you a Public Liability Insurance quote in less than 60 seconds. Check it out now, or give us a call. We look forward to speaking to you!

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