Occupiers' liability insurance

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    Chris Godfrey

    Page written by Chris Godfrey. Last reviewed on May 26, 2024. Next review due April 6, 2025.

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    What is occupiers' liability insurance?

    Accidents happen. There’s no getting around that. However, if they happen on your business premises, you could be on the hook for compensation claims, legal and medical expenses and more. Occupier’s liability insurance is designed to eliminate these kind of risks. Let the policy take care of all the problems, while you carry on doing what you do best. Read on to find out more.

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      Defining occupiers’ liability insurance

      Occupiers’ liability insurance is type of business insurance that covers the occupier of a commercial premises against personal injury or property damage claims made against them by their customers, suppliers, or members of the public. This type of insurance product is also known as public liability insurance, and it’s a must for any business that comes into contact with the general public. 

      How does occupiers’ liability insurance work?

      If a visitor to your commercial premises is accidentally injured, or their property is damaged, they may make a claim against you and your business for compensation. Depending on their injuries or the scope of the property damage, the claim could run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds. Few UK SMEs could afford such a blow. Instead, occupiers’ liability insurance can cover the compensation claim and any related legal or medical expenses up to the limits of the policy.

      Accidents at work and occupiers’ liability

      Occupiers’ liability insurance does not cover your business from employee claims for accidents at work that cause personal injury or property damage. Business owners must take out employers’ liability insurance to protect against these type of claims from members of staff. This insurance is mandatory by law for virtually all employers, and you must have at least £5million in cover with the policy issued by an authorised insurer.

      Example of occupiers’ liability

      A customer trips over a loose floor tile in your shop. The break their arm in the fall and cannot work for several weeks. They may make a claim against your business for loss of income, medical and legal expenses and emotional stress. Or, one of your delivery vans scrapes a customer’s car while it is parked on your premises. Instead of going through their car insurer, they make claim against your business to repair the damage and provide a spare car while theirs is off the road.

      What are the benefits of occupiers’ liability insurance?

      Occupier’s liability insurance has major benefits:

      • Eliminate the risk of expensive claims for personal injury or property damage
      • Meet your legal responsibility to provide a reasonably safe environment for visitors to your business premises
      • Satisfy insurance demands from trade guilds, associations and professional bodies
      • Gain full peace of mind

      Is occupiers' liability insurance a legal requirement?

      No. Only employers’ liability insurance is legally required. Other business insurances are optional, although some clients and customers may require your organisation to have occupier’s liability insurance in place before they will trade with you.

      What other type of insurance do I need?

      There are many types of business insurance. Depending on the industry you work in and the work you do or the goods you sell, you should purchase essential cover and then add optional extras according to your circumstances:

      Essential business cover

      • Accidental death – provides compensation in the event that an employee is killed whilst working for you.
      • Employer’s liability – protects you and your employees should they be injured or become unwell as a result of working for your business.
      • Contents insurance – pays out in the event the contents of your business premises (including construction sites and site offices), are stolen, damaged, or lost to fire and flood. This is essential cover if you operate a workshop or office. Protect your equipment, computers, furniture and more.
      • Tools and equipment – protects your vital tools and equipment from damage, fire, flood, or theft.
      • Legal expenses – pays for legal advice and representation in the event of any claim or business dispute.

      Optional business cover

      • Product liability – covers you from claim in the event that products or materials you have supplied are faulty. (You don’t have to make the products or materials to be at risk, simply distributing or providing them can make you liable for claims of personal injury or property damage).
      • Professional indemnity – essential for individuals or businesses who provide expert advice, information and skills – such as accountants, solicitors, designers, financial advisers, architects and chartered surveyors. This policy covers you in the event that erroneous information you have provided creates a financial loss for a client or customer.
      • Owned-plant insurance – covers the caravans, site huts, light and heavy machinery that you own from damage, theft, fire and flood.
      • Hired-in plant insurance – similar cover to above, except this policy protects the machinery and plant that you have rented or leased from a supplier.
      • Stock and inventory – protects you from loss if the unsold goods and raw materials you hold in stock are stolen, damaged, or lost to fire or flood.
      • Van and truck – it is illegal to drive an uninsured vehicle on UK roads – including commercial vehicles. Protect your vans and trucks and their contents from fire, theft and accident.
      • Goods in transit – covers your raw materials and finished goods as they travel from A to B. This applies to shipping in your own vehicles as well as those of third-party couriers.
      • Cyber-insurance – protect your technology from cyber criminals with a policy that covers malicious malware, hacking, phishing, ransomware and more. 

      How much does occupier’s liability insurance cost?

      Premiums for some occupiers’ liability insurances can start at less than £4 per month, but just as no two UK businesses are alike, so no two occupier’s liability insurance needs are the same. Costs will depend on your business type, where you operate, and the risks attached to what you do or sell. 

      How Swoop can help

      All business involves risk, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer the consequences if things go wrong. Don’t let an accident or oversight become a catastrophe for your organisation. Contact Swoop today to compare top-quality occupiers’ liability cover from different providers and to discuss all your business insurance needs. 

      Written by

      Chris Godfrey

      Chris is a freelance copywriter and content creator. He has been active in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries for more than twenty-five years. Writing for Barclays Bank, Metro Bank, Wells Fargo, ABN Amro, Quidco, Legal and General, Inshur Zego, AIG, Met Life, State Farm, Direct Line, insurers and pension funds, his words have appeared online and in print to inform, entertain and explain the complex world of consumer and business finance and insurance.

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