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What does public liability insurance cover for freelancers?

By Published in November 26, 20213 min read

Public liability insurance can cover you and your business from suffering financial loss if you cause accidental injury, death or damage to a third party or their property.

With almost every business involving some kind of contact with clients or the public in general; public liability insurance can fight your corner if the worst happens and a claim is made against you. Not only can it cover your legal fees in defending yourself but also pays out (to your maximum chosen level of cover) any compensation claims owed to the third party if you are found to be at fault.

What does it cover?

Public liability insurance is a type of business insurance that is considered essential; particularly if you have visitors to your premises, carry out work on client sites or encounter the public in general.

Your insurance policy can protect you against:

  • Compensation claims
  • Legal expenses
  • Cost of repairs

Setting up and running your own company is often very stressful and time consuming, so the last thing you want to do is to put it in jeopardy from a third-party claim. There is no benefit in hindsight if you are not left with a company to run, but sadly this can often be the case for those bankrupted by compensation claims they had no way of paying. Public liability insurance can provide you with the financial protection to meet such a claim.

Every claim is different, but the following examples provide an idea of the types of claim you may encounter within your individual field of work:

IT Consultants

A hard-working IT consultant was installing some cables in the office of his client late at night outside office hours. The IT consultant had been working for hours, was tired and wanted to get home. In his haste, he made a mistake and there was a fault, which caused a small fire resulting in damage to the newly installed computers.  The client made a compensation claim and the cost of replacing the computers was awarded. Fortunately, the IT consultant was protected by public liability insurance, and therefore was only liable for the £250 policy excess.

Creative & Media

This field of work is extensive and consists of such things as: marketers, graphic designers, web designers, advertising agents, public relations, brand development, corporate identity consultants, copywriters, publishers and broadcasters.

To give an example of one profession in terms of a claim:

A brand development consultant was responsible for the commercial photo shoot for a client’s new and expensive prototype. Unfortunately, the product was accidentally damaged, and a claim made to the tune of nearly £50,000. Fortunately for the consultant – their public liability insurance paid for their legal defense costs as well as the awarded compensation.

Project Managers

A project manager invited a client to her office for a pre start meeting. The client was really happy, and it was all going well until the client tripped over a bag that was left on the floor and broke his ankle. Shortly afterwards, a legal letter arrived demanding compensation for the client’s injury. The project managers public liability policy stepped in, paid the legal fees and the compensation award.

Translators and Interpreters

A translator had finished a large batch of work for her client who came to collect it from the translator’s home. It was raining and the client slipped on the door step and broke her ankle. An ambulance had to be called and the lady was off work for several months. The claim was settled at £8,500, but as the translator had public liability insurance; the excess was all that the translator was responsible for.