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A Tale of Two Safeguards: Public Liability Insurance vs. Workers Compensation

Rhino Trade Insurance 01 September 2023

In the unpredictable world of trade work, safeguarding against risks is crucial for long-term success. Two essential tools in risk management are Public Liability Insurance and Workers' Compensation, both designed to protect businesses and employees from potential liabilities and accidents. While these two policies might seem similar, they are different and serve different purposes.

In this blog post, consider Public Liability Insurance and Worker's Compensation in the UK to understand their unique roles, compare their features, and reveal when they’ll come in handy.

Unravelling Public Liability Insurance

Like a guardian angel, public liability insurance shields trade businesses from the cost of potential claims made by third parties. It is called upon when accidents, injuries or property damage affect customers, clients, or members of the public as a result of your trades business. Here's a closer look at the key aspects of Public Liability Insurance:

Its Role

Public Liability Insurance acts as a safety net, covering legal costs, compensation payouts, and associated expenses if a third-party claim arises. The policy stands ready to protect a business's assets and reputation from all kinds of trouble, from slip-and-fall accidents to property damage claims.

The Premium

Trade businesses must pay a premium to their insurance provider for protection. The premium amount varies based on factors such as business size, industry, coverage limits, and risk assessments.

The Fine Print

As with any policy, there are terms and conditions. These include policy excess (the amount the insured pays before the coverage kicks in), coverage limits, and exclusions (certain scenarios not covered).

At Rhino, you can insure your business with Public Liability Insurance at excellent prices. Some of the best on the market, in fact! Get cover from £1 million, £2 million and £5 million. 

Workers Compensation (Employers Liability Insurance)

While Public Liability Insurance focuses on external perils, Workers' Compensation or as it's known in the UK, Employers' Liability Insurance guards the welfare of employees. Employers' Liability provides financial protection and support to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Let's delve deeper into the essence of this protection:

Helping the injured

When an employee faces an unfortunate accident or injury on the job, Employers Liability Insurance comes to the rescue. It provides medical benefits, wage replacement, and support during recovery, ensuring employees get back on their feet without undue financial strain.


In the UK, employers are legally obligated to provide compensation coverage to their employees. This mandate ensures that all workers are adequately protected, regardless of the size or nature of the business.

Defending Businesses 

Beyond safeguarding employees, Employers' Liability Insurance also protects employers. By providing compensation to injured employees, it limits their ability to sue the business for negligence, reducing the risk of expensive lawsuits.

With Rhino Trade Insurance, it's easy to add Employer's Liability cover to your policy. It's quick, easy and cost-effective and can protect your business up to £10 million

When Do They Intersect?

Public Liability Insurance and Workers' Compensation (Employers' Liability) often cross paths. The crucial factor distinguishing their roles is the party they protect - one for external claims and the other for employees. Here is an example where both would come into play:

Some employees might have duties that involve interacting with the public. For instance, a plumber might accidentally fall from a height, landing on a member of the public while performing work-related tasks. Both Public Liability Insurance (for the injured third party) and Employers Liability (for the employee) could be activated in such cases.

Choosing the right insurance for your business

Trade businesses might wonder which cover is the right choice for them. The answer depends on the nature of the business and its specific requirements. Here are some factors to consider when making this decision:

Business Type and Operations

Businesses that interact a lot with the public, such as electricians, plumbers, or builders, should prioritise Public Liability Insurance to protect against potential external claims. However, you must also hold Employer’s Liability Insurance to protect your workforce if you have employees.

Legal Obligations

As mentioned earlier, Employers Liability is a legal mandate for employers in the UK. Failing to comply with this obligation could result in severe penalties. Public Liability Insurance, while not legally mandatory, is often seen as a sensible and responsible choice to protect the business.

Comprehensive Protection

For some trade businesses, combining both policies might be the ideal approach. This comprehensive strategy protects employees and external parties, providing a strong defence against potential risks.

Why Choose Rhino Trade Insurance?

When it comes to protecting both your business and the people around you, Public Liability Insurance and Workers' Compensation (Employers' Liability) are vital defenders, each with unique roles and strengths. The choice between them ultimately boils down to the specific needs of the tradesperson. The wise tradesperson would assess the nature of their business, its interactions with the public and employees, and its legal obligations before making their decision.

Armed with Public Liability Insurance and Employers' Liability cover, tradespeople can build a secure business where their employees are cared for, their customers are protected, and their business thrives.

For more information, give us a call at Rhino HQ on 0116 243 7904 to speak about your specific cover, or take your own route and get a quote online in just 60 seconds.

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