Home based business liability insurance

David Joyson

Written by

David Joyson

Home Insurance Expert & Customer Champion

Libby Goodsearles

Reviewed by

Libby Goodsearles

Head of Marketing

Less than 1 minute

Updated: 12 Mar 2024

What is public liability insurance?

Homeprotect home insurance public liability cover protects you when a member of the public makes a claim against you as a homeowner for bodily injury, damage or loss they have incurred when visiting your home for business purposes as well as for personal reasons. This type of insurance is designed to cover:

  • Legal expenses.
  • The cost of compensation if the claim is upheld.
  • Repair costs.
  • Medical expenses.

Understanding why you need public liability cover

Unlike employer’s liability insurance, public liability insurance in the UK is not a legal requirement but it’s generally regarded as essential by home business owners whose customers or clients visit their home – because it protects them against claims made against them as a result of accidents or injuries there.

What types of home-based businesses take out home public liability insurance?

 Typical home businesses which recognise the importance of having public liability cover for visiting customers include:

  • Hairdressers
  • Dog groomers.
  • Counsellors and therapists.
  • Music teachers.
  • Childminders.
  • Book-keepers.
  • Graphic designers.
  • Software developers.

Your responsibilities

For the self-employed, public liability insurance gives you peace of mind – because you know that you’re covered if something goes wrong – but it’s no substitute for preventing injuries or damage in the first place, of course!  For example, all areas of your home that your customers may enter for business purposes should be well-maintained and kept neat and tidy to avoid trips, slips and falls. This could mean tucking away any trailing cables or boxes of stock, or making sure that a floor isn’t wet and slippery during business hours.

What to do if an incident or accident occurs

All companies have a legal duty of care to make sure that their actions or inactions do not cause members of the public to be injured when visiting company premises. To bring a successful claim against you, an injured party will not only need to show that they were not to blame for the injury occurring but also to demonstrate that you had not met your duty of care obligations by taking appropriate steps to prevent the accident in the first place or reduce the chances of it occurring.

If an incident occurs in your home, make sure you keep a record of as much detail as possible such as the time of the incident, exactly what happened, contact details for any witnesses and – where possible – photographs. If you do something to ensure the accident doesn’t happen again, note these down as well.

What Homeprotect public liability insurance covers

Business public liability insurance covers anyone who comes to your home for business reasons, whether they are current or potential customers. For example:

  • A customer brings their dog to your home for grooming. Whilst they are inside your property, a roof tile is blown off in strong winds, damaging the windscreen of their car which is parked on your driveway. The policy would cover the cost of repairing it.
  • One of your piano pupils trips over a loose floorboard in your hallway and cuts their chin as they fall against your stair bannisters. The policy would cover the cost of treating their injuries.
  • Your piano pupil then sues you for damages following their fall, on the grounds that you had been negligent by failing to keep the floor in adequately good condition or to mark the loose floorboard as a hazard. The policy would cover your legal fees as well as any compensation awarded.

Up to £5 million public liability insurance is included as standard in Homeprotect policies.

It’s worth noting that public liability insurance does not cover your staff – whether paid or unpaid interns or volunteers. For this you need employer’s liability insurance, which is a legal requirement.

How much does house insurance with public liability insurance cost?

As with almost any insurance cover, the cost of adding home business use to a Homeprotect policy depends on several  factors including:

  • The number of clients or customers who visit your home each day.
  • Whether these visitors pass through a residential part of your home to reach the business area.
  • The value of your business equipment and stock.
  • Whether the use of your home for business purposes is obvious, perhaps because of signage or the address being included on your website.
  • The number of previous liability claims you’ve made. (This is is why prevention is so important.)
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