Public liability insurance is financial protection for your business should you be found liable for an injury or loss to a third party as a result of carrying out your occupation.

Although public liability insurance is not legally required in Ireland, you or your business will need public liability insurance in place.

To protect your business against the unexpected, speak to Compare Insurance about Business insurance options available to you.

public liability insurance Ireland

What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance is financial protection from claims made by a third party or member of the public who claims that they were injured or their property was damaged by the operation of your business or by you carrying out your occupation.

Public liability insurance is usually offered to businesses as part of wider insurance policy with tailored cover specific to the business’s needs. This may include cover for your business premises (if the building is owned by you), your contents and/ or stock, business interruption or consequential loss cover, cover for equipment or machinery, money cover, as required by your individual business.

The principle of indemnity means that when you take out a public liability insurance policy, the obligation to compensate another person who is injured or suffers a loss by you carrying out your business or occupation is assumed by the insurer up to the limits of the policy.

This means that the insurer pays should the third party receive compensation for their injury, and for legal costs and medical expenses, should you or your business be found liable for their injury or loss.

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Types of Public Liability Policies

Public liability cover comprises protection from the following claims:

Public Liability Insurance

Where a member of the public, supplier, or visitor could claim that they were injured, or they suffered a loss as a result of you carrying out your occupation or business.

Product Liability Insurance

Product liability insurance covers a business in the event of a product that you have sold, serviced, altered, repaired, or manufactured has caused injury, death, or damage to property of another person due to defect.

product liability insurance policy

Employer’s Liability Insurance

Where an employee is injured or suffers a loss in the course of their employment.

Insurers typically offer a combination of these types of cover, depending on what is necessary to your individual business or occupation.

The limits of public liability cover are usually between €2.6 million and €6.5 million. How much cover you require will depend on the nature of your business.

Employers liability cover

Factors Affecting your Premium

Several factors can affect the price of your premium such as:

  • The size of your business
  • The extent of contact with the public, clients, or customers
  • Industry
  • Claim history

Business Size

Annual turnover etc. will affect the type and level of cover you need.

Extent of Contact with the Public, Clients, or Customers

Business with high footfall such as busy restaurants or shops will require more cover than an office which is not open to the public.

Work Industry

Riskier businesses eg. swimming pools, leisure centres, indoor play areas will cost more to insure, due to the increased risk of the insurance company having to pay out.

Claims History

Having a history of claims may affect how much you pay for public liability insurance.

The excess you choose. An excess is the amount you will pay out of pocket towards any claims before you are financially protected by your insurance policy, Having a higher excess will lower your monthly premium.

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Who needs public liability insurance?

Anyone who is involved in a business, trade, or whose occupation involves members of the public, or dealing directly with clients or customers should have public liability insurance.

Insurers offer specific business insurance policies for:

  • Shops
  • Offices
  • Surgeries
  • Food and beverage businesses
  • Pubs
  • Manufacturers
  • Trades
  • Property owners

Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement in Ireland, but it is strongly advised.

While the introduction of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board in Ireland has meant that compensation claims can now be dealt with without resorting to costly litigation, public liability claims still account for a large proportion of business claims in Ireland.

For peace of mind, and to protect you from potentially financially devastating consequences, it it wise to arrange appropriate public, product, and/or employer’s liability cover.

Who offers public liability insurance in Ireland?

Zurich - Home Insurance
Allianz - Home Insurance
FBD - Home Insurance
AXA - Home Insurance
Aviva - Home Insurance
An Post - Home Insurance
AIG - Home Insurance

Specialist underwriters available to insurance brokers.

What does public liability insurance cover?

Public liability insurance offers cover against claims made by members of the public or other third parties who have been injured or their property damaged by your business.

It covers the business for awards made to successful claimants, legal expenses associated with their claims, as well as their medical expenses.

Product liability insurance covers products made or supplied by a business or company should they cause injury or property damage to a third party.

Employer’s liability insurance covers employers against claims made by employees who are injured as a result of their work in the business or company.

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Potential Public Liability Claims

There are many reasons for a business having to make a compensation claim for public liability insurance. The most common of these include:

  • Slip, trips and falls
  • Property damage
  • Workplace safety

Slips, Trips, and Falls

A customer who, for example, slips on water spilled on a shop floor where there was not adequate signage may claim for physical injury as a result of their fall.

Property Damage

Keep fit instructor damages a client’s mobile when carrying out demonstration.

Product liability claims eg. lawnmowers and power tools causing injury due to defect.

Workplace Safety

An employee is injured as a result of poorly maintained safety equipment, eg. manual handling claims, poorly maintained equipment.

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Public Liability Insurance FAQ’s

Yes. Public liability insurance covers those who are self employed, or a sole trader. Tradespeople are advised to have public liability insurance as are, for example, teachers, surveyors, market traders, photographers, product designers, even tarot readers.

Yes. Historical claims, or a poor safety record will affect whether you will be offered public liability insurance or how much you will pay for public liability insurance.

Product liability insurance specifically offers protection against damage to property or injury to a third party caused by a product that you or your company supplied.

Whereas, public liability insurance offers protection against a claim or having to pay compensation for third party injury or property damage as a result of your business activities.

Employer’s liability insurance is insurance cover specifically in place should an employee of the company be injured or suffer a loss and it is found to be the employers liability ie. the fault of the employer.

No. Public liability insurance is not mandatory or legally required in Ireland. It is strongly advised to have this cover in place, however, as claims for injury or damage to property by a third party cause unforeseen costs which could close your business. If you have a business which relies on government contracts, you will most likely be required to have a public liability policy in place.

Professional indemnity insurance is financial protection for a professional or business who’s role is to offer advice to their clients.

If a professional breach, omission, or failure on your part causes a loss to your client, professional indemnity insurance offers you financial protection.

Public liability insurance offers protection should a third party be injured or a third party’s property be damaged by you or your business.

Public liability insurance typically includes cover for the legal fees and expenses in defending a claim, as well as any award, replacement costs, or compensation payment made to the third party and sometimes their medical expenses or hospital treatment, should you be found responsible for their injury or loss.

insurance faqs

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