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Guide to Public Liability Insurance

The purpose of a public liability policy is to defend you against claims made against you by members of the public who suffer injury or damage to their property as a result of you carrying out your business activities. The policies cover the legal costs involved in the defence of a claim and the awards made to third parties if negligence is proven against you. Policies can cover you for public liability for trading at your premises and some policies will give you cover for causing injury or damage away from your premises. Limits in the Irish market generally start from €2.6m and if you do work for any Irish public authority or body the likelihood is they will insist on you having a limit of at least €6.5m on your policy.

If you run a business you face the potential of the public suing you for injury or damage caused to them as a result of you carrying out your business. If they sue you for injury or damage, or even allege that you caused them injury or damage that can be very costly. Having a public liability policy means that you will have the wherewithal to defend any claim and pay award if you are found negligent. Public liability insurance is, in most cases, not compulsory so it is up to an individual to determine if they want to purchase it or not.

This is not an easy question to answer as lots of factors affect what your public liability costs. Factors that affect the cost of public liability insurance are things like

  • Your occupation and the industry you work in
  • Your turnover
  • The numbers involved in your business
  • If you work away from your premises or abroad
  • Previous claims or losses

The above list is not exhaustive – so that in short premiums can be from as low as €150.00 to hundreds of thousands depending on some of above factors. On the quick quote part of this site the premiums start from as low as €150.00 for consultants, teachers, architects, engineers etc.

As a self-employed person who employs others you will have a need to arrange Employers and Public liability insurance.

Employer’s liability insurance is intended to cover you for claims made against you by employees who suffer injury in the course of their employment by you. The policy is intended to cover the legal costs associated in defending a claim and any award made by courts to the injured employee. The typical limit of indemnity for an employer’s liability policy in Ireland is €13,000,000. In Ireland employer’s liability is not a compulsory class of insurance but most sensible employers will take out this cover to protect themselves.

The purpose of a public liability policy is to defend you against claims made against you by members of the public who suffer injury or damage to their property as a result of you carrying out your business activities. The policies cover the legal costs involved in the defence of a claim and the awards made to third parties if negligence is proven against you. Like Employers .Typical limits for a public liability policy start from €2.6m. As in the case of employers liability it is not compulsory to have, but it does make sense for a self-employed person to have the cover.

In short No – but as a person in business you face the prospect of being sued if you injure anyone in the course of your business and or damage their property. It makes good sense to purchase Public Liability cover because the purpose of a public liability policy is to defend you against claims made against you by members of the public who suffer injury or damage to their property as a result of you carrying out your business activities. The policies cover the legal costs involved in the defence of a claim and the awards made to third parties if negligence is proven against you. Typical limits for a public liability policy start from €2.6m. As in the case of employers liability it is not compulsory to have, but it does make sense for a self-employed person to have the cover.

Typically in Ireland the limits start at €2.6m and increase from there to €6.5m and beyond. Most business purchase limits ranging from €2.6m to €6.5m and in rarer cases they may purchase higher limits. You need ask yourself what is the worst possible accident I could see my business causing and will the limit I chose be enough to cover my defence costs and the awards to injured third parties.

Products liability insurance is a type cover that is designed to indemnify the   manufacturers or suppliers of products in respect of claims of personal injury or property damage caused by products that are supplied or sold by a business. The policies are intended to pay the legal costs associated with defending claims and any subsequent award. Typically the policies have a limit of indemnity in Ireland of €2.6m but can increase from this limit. In relation to the limit chosen on a policy you should note that this limit is an aggregate limit for a period of insurance unlike in the case of  public liability insurance where the limit is any one claim limit.

If you sell service manufacture alter repair product you face the potential of being sued by third parties who are injured or suffer property damage as a result of a defective product. If you have no product liability cover you face the prospect of defending claims yourself and associated legal costs, not to mind what costs you may face if there is an award against you. Arranging the correct type of Products liability cover can protect you in this scenario.

Both policies provide third party liability insurance protection to the policyholder that is to say that they protect the policyholder against claims made against them by third parties in respect of the policyholder’s legal liability for personal injury or property damage.

Any confusion that may exist between the two classes of insurance is made worse by the fact that product liability is usually offered as an extension to a public liability policy or as an extension to the public liability section of a combined or package insurance policy.

In spite of this the two insurances are actually quite distinct are intended to protect policyholders against almost entirely different risks

What does a public liability policy cover?

The public liability policy protects the policyholder in respect of claims made against them in respect of their legal liability for personal injury or property damage arising out of and in the course of their occupation. For a more complete overview visit our main public liability insurance page.

What does the product liability policy cover?

The product liability policy protects the policyholder against claims made against them in respect of products sold or supplied by them.

If you are carrying on a business there is always a possibility that you as a result of your business activities, cause injury or damage to another person or property. If others person or property are injured or damaged as a result of your activities the law may find you responsible and you may find yourself having to compensate the injured third parties for your actions.

We cover a wide range of different occupations, below is just a sample of some of these. Go to our ‘Get a Quote’ page to see more occupations we cover. If your occupation is not listed on the ‘Get a Quote’ page, contact us as we still may be able to cover you.

  • Teachers
  • Consultants
  • Engineers (non-manual)
  • Health and Fitness Instructors
  • Market Traders
  • Accountants
  • Surveyors
  • Tutors
  • Home Bakers
  • Architects
  • Artists
  • Interior Designers

Music teacher at a trade show leaves a wire trailing from a plug to their stand and an attendee at conference trips over same and injures back – Likely that music teacher running trade stand likely to sue and held responsible for the injury.

Drama teacher arranges a class and spills water on ground where practicing – Doesn’t mop up and a child slips and hits forehead – Like above Drama teacher may be held responsible.

IT Consultant has a cup of coffee at desk whilst on site of a client – Coffee spills and damages widescreen TV – IT consultant held responsible for Repairs to TV

Market Trader has overhang on their stand which protrudes too low resulting in injury to a tall customer’s forehead – Market trader held responsible for the injury.

A Life Coach gets carried way on stage and in enthusiasm pulls down an overhanging chandelier light causing damage to light and injury to a participant at course.

An engineer is visiting the site of a client and is setting up measuring equipment. A member of the public falls over the measuring equipment which causes injury. A public liability claim is taken against the engineer.

An accountant visiting a site of a client leaves down his coffee on computer servers – Someone spills and destroys server – Accountant is sued for leaving the cup carelessly down on computer and ultimately damaging the computer system.

  1. The policy covers are based around your occupation – So if your occupation is not clear or you are doing or carrying on an activity outside what your occupation as stated you are unlikely to be covered.
  2. The policy covers have limits on amounts that insurers pay out – so you need ensure you choose an adequate limit of indemnity. Typical limits in the Irish market would be €2,600,000 and €6,500,000.
  3. There are lots of items to be aware of – You need ensure you provide all material facts to your insurers – Even if the proposal doesn’t ask the question the obligation is on you to prove all material facts, so if an insurer deems a fact to be material then it is, the choice or decision is not yours – Be careful.

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