As a hardworking business owner, you want to make sure you are protected against claims that could potentially ruin your business and leave you in a bad financial situation. Having public liability insurance is a great way to safeguard your business, but many people don’t see it as a necessity — until it’s too late, that is.
So what exactly is public liability insurance and why is it so important? What kinds of businesses need it, and what does it cover?
Accidents are inevitable no matter how careful you are, so read on to find out everything you need to know about protecting your business.
What is public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance is there to protect you if someone makes a claim regarding an accident or damages in connection with your business. It covers the legal costs involved if someone brings you to court, as well as any compensation you may be ordered to pay if you are found negligent.
Depending on your policy, you may be covered against causing injury or damages only while trading at your premises or also while you’re away from your premises. For example, a member of the public might trip and break an ankle on their way out of your office, or you could inadvertently cause damage to someone’s property while carrying out a job.
If you don’t have public liability insurance, then you are liable for the damage and may have to pay a hefty sum as compensation.
What does it cover?
Public liability insurance protects you against most cases of third-party injury and property damage. In general, it covers you if become liable to a member of the public for any of the following:
- Damage to their property
- Bodily injury
Is Public Liability Insurance compulsory?
Unlike car insurance, public liability insurance is not compulsory in Ireland.
However, without it, you are leaving yourself wide open and vulnerable to being sued by a member of the public if anything ever happens to them or their property as a result of your business activities.
Does my business need public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance is a good idea if you work in any of the following sectors/occupations:
- Motor and Transport
- Market Trader
- IT Consultant
- Fitness Instructor
In general, though, anyone who runs a business and interacts with members of the public should consider getting public liability insurance.
The reality is that anyone can decide to make a claim against you, even for an incident that seemed to be no big deal at the time.
There are countless stories of people who’ve had a minor fall while on business premises, told the owner they were fine and walked away smiling. A few weeks later, the owner receives a solicitor’s letter informing them that they are being sued.
Without public liability insurance, this could be extremely costly and has the potential to destroy everything you’ve worked so hard to build.
If you have one or more employees working for you, whether full-time or part-time, then you should consider taking out employers’ liability cover. This will cover the cost of compensating employees who may become injured or sick as a result of their job.
Examples of potential claims
When you interact with the public as part of your job, so many things can go wrong that you may never have even thought about. Here are just a few examples:
- A shop assistant mops the floor and forgets to put out a wet floor sign. A customer slips and fractures her hip, and subsequently makes a claim against the shop owner.
- A plumber accidentally damages a pipe in a commercial property, resulting in a massive leak and thousands of euros worth of damage.
- An electrician installs a new home heating system incorrectly, causing a fire to break out which destroys the family’s belongings.
What happens if I don’t have public liability insurance?
There is always a risk of someone in the general public suing you for damage or injury caused to them on your business premises or as a result of your business activities. If this happens and you don’t have public liability insurance, you could be faced with paying hundreds of thousands of euros in compensation.
It’s simply not worth the risk!
ERM Financial Services has almost 30 years of experience providing Irish businesses with comprehensive and competitive insurance. We offer public liability insurance that is tailored to your unique needs, and our expert advisors can ensure that both businesses and the public are covered during the day-to-day grind.
We also offer a wide and comprehensive range of commercial insurance coverage for businesses in every industry, so make sure to get in touch for advice on your business insurance needs today, and for the latest trends and developments in the insurance world, check out our blog and downloadable resources.