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Public Liability Insurance for Small Business

Rhino Trade Insurance 06 July 2022

Do you run a small to medium sized trade business?

Has someone convinced you that you don’t need public liability insurance

We’re not the fighting types here at Rhino, but if there’s one thing that gets us riled up, it’s when someone believes the terrible advice that small businesses can do without public liability insurance. 

Granted, you don't need Public Liability Insurance for small businesses by law, but without it, you are taking a bigger risk than an England starting 11 with three right-backs… Sorry, Gareth! 

Let’s get into it!


Public Liability Insurance: What is it?

Public Liability Insurance is a type of business insurance which protects you from claims made after a third party becomes injured or incurs damage to their property as a result of your business activities. 

That third party could be almost anyone – a customer, a supplier, or a member of the public. Anyone, that is, apart from one of your own employees. There’s a separate type of insurance for that, called Employer’s Liability Insurance. If you employ anyone in your business, you should already have it in place as it’s a requirement by law.

Anyway, back to Public Liability Insurance for small businesses. 

As we mentioned, there are two main elements that this type of insurance covers.

Personal injury

Suppose you’re a tradesman or woman working on site, and an injury is caused to a customer, member of the public or one of your suppliers as a result of your operations. 

What sort of thing, you ask? It could be almost anything. We all know how hazardous things can get on-site. Whether you’re a builder, carpenter, electrician, market stall trader or gardener (or one of the other 100’s of trades we work with) – you’ll know that even if you follow every health and safety guideline under the sun – accidents happen.

Nothing like that’s happened to you before? Lucky you, but it’s unfortunately pretty likely to happen in the future. Examples of accidents that would come under Public Liability Insurance include something like a slip, trip or fall, a burn, or injury from a piece of falling debris. These types of claims – slips and trips in particular – are made against tradespeople in the UK each and every day. Trust us, they’re extremely common and can easily cost your business thousands. 

At the most serious end of the scale, there’s accidental death. That one isn’t hugely likely, but there’s always a chance your health and safety systems could fail, and someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately, the statistics don’t lie – it happens. 

Property damage

The other element to Public Liability Insurance is damage to property. This could be either damage to a customer's property on your own premises or something that takes place whilst working on-site. Whether we’re talking about your van reversing into someone’s wall, causing a leak which floods a customer’s kitchen or losing an item of customer’s property you’ve taken away to repair, none of these are unusual and we bet they’ve happened to someone you know. 


Where does Public Liability Insurance come in?

Public Liability Insurance cannot stop accidents from happening. It cannot stop you from causing damage to property by mistake.

But what Public Liability Insurance CAN do is protect you and your business from the financial burden that claims against you will bring. It does this by paying out up to £5 million to cover things like legal fees and settlement costs.

These types of claims would cost small trade businesses across the UK a fortune if they weren’t covered. With Public Liability Insurance cover in place, tradespeople can relax, knowing that if and when such claims are brought against them, they won’t have to pay for the associated costs out of their own pocket or business’s bottom line.


Why do public liability claims cost so much?

Public Liability Insurance cover limits are usually anywhere from £1million to £5million, and even up to £5 million. But why are cover limits so high? 

Simple – it’s because public liability claims can be very expensive.

Here are the main costs involved:

Hiring a solicitor

In case you didn’t already know, these guys don’t come cheap. As soon as you learn of a third-party intending to bring a claim against your business, you need to hire a solicitor to deal with the legal side of your defence. They will also guide you through the process of settling and paying out compensation if necessary.

Solicitors can charge anywhere from £150 - £300 per hour, so you can imagine how quickly this mounts up over the weeks or months it takes to work their way through a third-party claim.

Compensation Claims

We’d all like to think that we’d be able to successfully defend ourselves should a compo claim come our way, but a court win is never guaranteed. 

Even if the claim never makes it that far, sometimes the best course of action is to settle and pay up. Of course, we’re not here to advise you on that, it’s totally out of our remit! We do trade insurance, not legal advice. However, your solicitor will be able to guide you on such matters. 

But what does settling a claim cost? Compensation amounts obviously vary, so we can’t give you any numbers here. But consider what they consist of:

  • third party’s loss of earnings
  • medical costs 
  • ongoing care and rehab costs

Sounds pricey? It is. But with Public Liability Insurance, your insurer will pay out meaning not a penny of these costs will need to come from you or your business.

Property damage

If someone has brought a claim against you for property damage or loss, you’ll generally need to pay for the rectification of that damage or loss, plus any loss of income that person may incur while the damage/ loss is sorted out.

Work van leaked oil over your customer’s brand-new driveway? That’s going to cost a bit to make good again. Spilled a brew over your freelancer customer’s laptop? They will not only need a new one, but they’ll lose a week’s wages while they source a new one and the repair shop tries to salvage their files. Guess who’s on the hook for their loss of income and tech bills? Yep, you.

That is, unless you’ve got Public Liability Insurance. If you’re covered, all you need to do is make a claim (with Rhino it’s really simple), sit back and relax.


Why do some people not have public liability insurance?

Some people out there don’t want to pay for Public Liability Insurance. Instead, they’d rather save the few quid each month and deal with the costs of public liability claims as and when they happen. 

This is a disastrous approach. When you consider that many small trade businesses could be financially devastated by just one claim – it really is a no-brainer to get covered.


What other trade insurance policies would benefit my small business?

We at Rhino Trade Insurance are the UK’s leading trade insurance providers. We don’t just offer Public Liability Insurance, we also offer tradespeople a whole range of other policies which can cover everything from tool theft to sickness absence. 

Here are a few of our most popular types of insurance:

  • Employers Liability Insurance - This covers you financially in case any employees of yours experience damage, injury or accidental death. 
  • Tools in Transit Insurance – Tool theft is rising in the UK – protect your valuable tools against theft or damage with this popular cover. 
  • Contractors' All Risks Insurance - For any tradesperson who works on construction sites and uses larger machinery or plant equipment, then this insurance will protect you financially from pretty much any disaster.
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance - If you offer designs and advice in your trade, you can protect yourself in case your advice goes wrong on site and leaves the client out of pocket. 
  • Personal Accident & Income Insurance - A couple of must-have insurance options for self-employed tradespeople. If you are ill, sick or unable to work through injury, you can still get paid either monthly or by lump sum. 
  • We also offer several other options. Find out more here


Why choose Rhino Trade Insurance?

We’re the experts

Here at Rhino Trade Insurance, we specialise in insurance for tradespeople. We work with thousands of tradespeople just like you, helping them protect their businesses and hard-earned money.

You’ll love our prices

As a specialist trade insurance broker, we have scoured the market on your behalf and selected the best possible trade policies at the best possible price. 

We are, on average, 40% cheaper than our industry competitors. Not only are we cheap, but we’re also confident that our cover is the best around.

No-fuss cover

Taking out a policy with Rhino couldn’t be simpler. You can get a quote in less than a minute and be back on the tools in no time.

If you need support along the way, that’s also a breeze with Rhino. We’re available six days a week via webchat, email or phone, and you won’t be stuck on hold for ages. You’ll speak to a member of our UK-based team and get your query sorted in no time.

Our customers love us

Our customers aren’t shy about showing their appreciation for the services we provide. We have hundreds of five-star reviews and social media shoutouts thanking us for our great service, so we must be doing something right!

Documents in an instant

It shouldn’t take ages to receive your insurance documents, such as your policy details and insurance certificate.

With Rhino, it doesn’t. You receive your documents in just a few minutes, so you can get covered in your lunch break.

We offer cover tailored to your trade

Unlike most trade insurance providers, we at Rhino offer cover for almost all trades, from window cleanersplumberssparkysbuildersgardeners. You name the trade, we most likely provide tailored cover for it

Want to get quick and fuss-free Public Liability Insurance for your business? Had over to our instant quote engine, or get in touch with our friendly, experienced team now on 0116 243 7904.

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