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Public Liability Insurance for Business: 101, Cost & Cheap Quotes

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The operations of your business can result in injuries to customers, vendors, visitors, and other members of the public. As a result, your business might be required to admit public liability and will find itself facing lawsuits and compensating community members.

Be vigilant and prepare for the worst. Give your business public liability insurance (PLI). In this discussion, we’ll answer these important questions:

  • What is PLI insurance?

  • How much does public liability insurance cost?

  • Where to get the best public liability insurance?

  • How does public liability insurance differ from general liability, professional liability, and other related insurance policies?

Also read:

What is Public Liability Insurance?

So what is public liability insurance (PLI)? Public liability insurance is an insurance policy that grants protection when your business is liable for the bodily injuries or property damage of customers, vendors, and other members of the public.

Though available sometimes as a stand-alone policy, insurance companies offer public liability insurance for business as a coverage in general liability policies together with these other casualty insurance products:

  • Professional liability insurance

  • Non-owned/hired auto liability insurance

  • Rented premises liability insurance

  • Liquor liability insurance

  • Product liability insurance


What is The Current Issue In The Public Liability Insurance Market?

The U.S. public liability insurance market is far from declining. As the study of Prudour shows, the public liability insurance market in the U.S. is set between $355.2 million-$415.21 million in 2021 and will grow at a rate of 4.8% from 2022-2031. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that it comes without issues.

One issue with the public insurance market is the continued rise in premiums. For example, one study reported that price increase averaged 15%-20% in the past three years in Ireland. The same study also showed that 70% of businesses didn’t see pricing as fair or justified.

The continued rise of premiums for public liability is also true for the United States. A survey published by Marsh showed that prices for casualty insurance, which public liability is part of, have increased up to 9% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

It’s good that the price increase of public liability insurance in the United States isn't as drastic as in Ireland. Still, studies show that rising premiums is a trend, and this is alarming somehow.


Does The Law Require Businesses To Get Public Liability Insurance?

No laws in the United States require businesses to get PLI insurance nor punish the failure to get the coverage. But in practice, you might need to get PL insurance because of these reasons:


Commercial Lease

All landlords require business owners to get public liability insurance policies before signing a commercial lease. In connection, it’s almost impossible to get a space without the coverage.

If you don’t have public liability insurance, then landlords won’t grant a commercial lease. This is because your business can’t cover the injuries or property damage, and affected parties might file a claim on the landlord’s insurance policy instead.


Licensing

If you’re a plumbing, construction, or electrical contractor, authorities might require public liability insurance for licensing purposes.


Access Events

Event organizers will require you to get public liability insurance before doing business within their premises. The policy ensures that you can cover costs and event organizers won’t have liability over the bodily injuries or property damage your business causes during the event.


Bid Contracts

Clients will require contractors to get a specific amount of public liability insurance. This is why it’s easier for your business to win and close deals if it has public liability insurance in place.


What Does Public Liability Insurance Cover?

Public liability insurance covers the following if your business faces a claim for bodily injury or property damage:

  • Defense costs such as attorney fees, investigation fees, administrative fees, and court filing fees

  • The amount you must pay to the claimant by virtue of the court’s judgment

  • Settlements

  • Reimbursement for property damage

  • Medical payments


So how much money can you get? Public liability insurance provides $300,000-$2 million coverage depending on the company that underwrote it.


Who Must Have Public Liability Insurance?

Businesses that constantly interact with people must have public liability insurance. Here are some examples:

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Example Situations Where Public Liability Insurance Can Help You

As said earlier, public liability insurance takes care of claims for bodily injury or property damage sustained by a customer, vendor, visitor, or any other member of the public. You’ll find the policy useful in these situations:

  • A customer or visitor slipped and fell while on the premises of your store or office

  • Your or an employee inflicted a customer with property damage or bodily injuries while working 

  • You need to go to a client’s property to do work. While in there, an accident happened that damaged the client’s property and injured people nearby

  • Your business caused an accident. As a result, people got hurt and had their property damaged

  • Your business’s commercial building caught fire, and it spread to other properties. The other buildings were damaged, and their occupants were severely hurt


Can You Get Public Liability Insurance Even If You Don’t Have A Business?

You don’t need to have a business to become eligible for public liability insurance. Insurance companies underwrite public liability insurance for self employed technicians, medical practitioners, artists, and other professions


How Does Public Liability Insurance Differ from Other Types Of Business Insurance?

General Liability vs Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance takes care of the resulting costs if your business faces a claim for bodily injury or property damage. It only covers these perils and nothing else.

Meanwhile, general liability insurance is very broad. It doesn’t only cover claims for bodily injuries or property damage but also:

  • Slander, libel, invasion of privacy, and copyright infringement

  • Your liability to a rented commercial space that fire damaged

  • Bodily injuries or property damage caused by a defective product, which the customer bought

  • Vehicular accidents caused by a borrowed or hired vehicle


Another thing to remember when thinking about general liability vs public liability insurance is that the latter is included in the language of the former. 


Public Liability And Professional Indemnity Insurance

You also need to know the difference between public liability and professional indemnity insurance. 

Unlike public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance doesn’t cover bodily injuries or property damage. 

Instead, it kicks in when a client or any other third party files a claim because your business caused economic or financial losses by committing:

  • Inaccurate advice

  • Negligence

  • Misrepresentation

  • Breach of confidentiality

  • Breach of contract

  • Missed deadlines

  • Violation of fair dealing 


Public liability insurance is underwritten as a claims-made policy, as we said earlier. However, insurance companies underwrite professional indemnity insurance as an occurrence or claims-made insurance product. 

Though different in terms of the perils covered, public liability and professional indemnity insurance also have similarities:

  • Both take care of defense costs and settlements

  • Similar to public liability insurance, professional liability insurance can be a part of general liability policy’s language 


Public And Product Liability Insurance

How about public and product liability insurance? How do these two differ?

Let’s talk about their similarities first. Both public liability and product liability insurance provides the money that can be used to cover defense costs and settlements. Also, they are offered as inclusions in general liability insurance. 

Product liability and public liability insurance policy differ in terms of the perils they cover. 

Bodily injuries or property damage caused by the product of your business falls out of the scope of public liability insurance. Product liability insurance takes care of this peril instead. 

Product liability insurance provides coverage if the product of your business causes injuries or property damage because of:

  • Incorrect labeling

  • Manufacturing defects

  • Design errors


Moreover, product liability insurance can also take care of claims for food poisoning or foodborne illness if your business is in the food industry.


Public And Employers Liability Insurance

Aside from public liability insurance, your business also needs employer’s liability insurance. 

Small business public liability insurance doesn’t cover costs if an employee sustains an injury or disease at work and then files a claim against your business.  

Employer’s liability insurance takes care of this peril, and pays for defense costs and settlements. 

Also, insurance companies don’t offer employer’s liability insurance as an inclusion to general liability insurance. Instead, it’s available as an add-on to workers compensation insurance. 


Public Liability Insurance for Events 

You can get public liability insurance for events. Insurance companies include this in their events insurance policy together with event cancellation insurance, equipment coverage, liquor liability coverage, and more. 

You need public liability insurance for events if you’re setting up a:


Public liability insurance for events covers the bodily injuries or property damage of the participants, vendors, and volunteers. Its coverage might also extend to key persons of the event. 


Short Term Public Liability Insurance 

Short term public liability insurance is offered as an inclusion to general liability policies that provide protection for one day, week, or month. 

Temporary public liability insurance also takes care of bodily injuries or property damage. What makes it special is that you get to decide its length of coverage. 



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Public Liability Insurance Cost

So how much is public liability insurance? Public liability insurance average cost is $21 per month or $252 per year. This is just an estimate. Your actual rate can be higher or lower. 

To get a further idea of public liability insurance cost, take a look at this table that shows how much recommended insurance companies charge for the policy.


Cost per MonthCost per YearBest for
NEXT$8$96Best overall, Fastest public liability insurance
CoverWallet$15$180Public liability insurance online quotes comparison
CommercialInsurance.Net$19$228Comparing public liability insurance quotes over the phone
Thimble$24$288On-demand public liability insurance
Hiscox$27$324Public liability insurance with worldwide coverage
Zurich$33$396Small and large businesses who operate locally and internationally


We’re done on how much for public liability insurance. Let’s discuss the factors that affect the cost of premiums next. 


Factors That Affect The Cost Of Public Liability Insurance 

Insurance companies consider these factors when determining public liability insurance price:

  • Claims history

  • Business profile

  • Number of employees

  • Policy limits

  • Location

  • Whether or not you want to name additional insureds

  • Annual revenues

  • Employee payroll


How To Get Cheap Public Liability Insurance?

Your public liability insurance quote can become cheaper if you decide to pay premiums for the whole year. By doing this, you get a 2%-3% reduction in rates. 

Another way to get cheap public liability insurance is to have high deductibles. A deductible is an amount of money you return to the insurance company after it grants your claim. Consider getting a $1,000-$2,500 deductible on your public liability policy. 

Last but not least, consider comparing quotes. Comparing quotes allow you to find the best public liability insurance with the most reasonable rate. Click the “Get Quotes” button on this page and start comparing public liability insurance quotes online. 


Compare Public Liability Insurance Quotes Online

Get all the best quotes from leading providers in a click of a button!

Best Public Liability Insurance Companies 

Read this discussion to know the pros, cons, and rate of the best public liability insurance companies. Note that these are great options if you want to buy public liability insurance online. 

NEXT Public Liability Insurance 

Pros

  • Best overall

  • Issues an online proof of insurance instantly

  • Great customer service and reputation

  • Excellent rates

  • Outstanding value for money

  • Get a 10% discount if you buy other insurance aside from public liability insurance

  • Offers the cheapest public liability insurance out of all companies we reviewed 

Cons

  • Couldn’t find any 

NEXT’s public liability insurance is a part of its general liability policy. 

The limits of this company’s public liability insurance depend on whether you bought it as a basic policy, pro policy, or pro plus policy. 

NEXT’s public liability insurance, if availed as a basic policy, provides a $300,000 per occurrence limit with a $1 million aggregate. 

If you get it as a pro policy, then this company’s public liability insurance has a $1 million per occurrence limit with a $2 million aggregate. 

Finally, you get a $1 million per occurrence limit with a $2 million aggregate if you buy NEXT’s public liability insurance as a pro plus policy. 

Best for: Best overall, Fastest public liability insurance

Average cost: $8 per month 

Our rating: 10/10


CoverWallet Public Liability Insurance 

Pros

  • Stable rates

  • Compare public liability insurance quotes online 

  • Issues an instant public liability insurance quote

  • Add additional insureds for free

  • Pay premiums and manage your public liability insurance online through the MyCoverWallet app 

Cons

  • Not an insurance company but an insurance broker 

CoverWallet doesn’t sell a stand-alone public liability insurance policy. Instead, this is included in its general liability insurance. 

Your public liability insurance from CoverWallet offers a $1 million coverage for each claim for bodily injury or property damage. The aggregate limit is $2 million.

CoverWallet allows you to compare public liability and property damage insurance quotes online. Just visit the company website and use the online quotes comparison tool published there. 

Best for: Public liability insurance online quotes comparison

Average cost: $15 per month

Our rating: 10/10


CommercialInsurance.Net Public Liability Insurance

Pros

  • Call and get instant coverage

  • Compare public liability insurance quotes over the phone

  • Responsive customer service 

Cons

  • Doesn’t issue online public liability insurance quotes 

Similar to the first two companies, CommercialInsurance.Net doesn’t offer public liability insurance as a stand-alone policy. You get the coverage by purchasing this company’s general liability insurance. 

CommercialInsurance.Net doesn’t state how much coverage it can give, and it doesn’t issue your public liability insurance quotation online. You need to call a representative who will discuss rates and other particulars of your public liability policy. 

Call CommercialInsurance.Net now to compare public liability insurance quotes over the phone. 

Best for: Comparing public liability insurance quotes over the phone

Average cost: $19 per month

Our rating: 10/10


Thimble Public Liability Insurance

Pros

  • Easy to get quotes

  • Can provide public liability coverage for hours, days, weeks, or months 

  • Online public liability insurance certificate management

Cons

  • You can’t reach customer service by phone 

Thimble underwrites and sells public liability insurance as part of its long term and short term general liability insurance. The public liability insurance of this company has a $1 million-$2 million per occurrence limit. 

Note that you can also get monthly, hourly, or one day public liability insurance from this company if you purchase its short-term general liability insurance. 

Best for: On-demand public liability insurance

Average cost: $24 per month

Our rating: 9/10


Hiscox Public Liability Insurance

Pros

  • Provides worldwide coverage

  • Fast to process claims

  • Has risk management resources

Cons

  • Some customers complain that Hiscox didn’t resolve their claims well 

Hiscox also sells public liability insurance as part of its general liability policy. Your business type or profession determines how much coverage the policy can provide. 

The public liability insurance of Hiscox provides $300,000-$2 million coverage for businesses with high risk profiles. 

On the other hand, businesses with low risk profiles can only receive $300,000 coverage from this company’s public liability insurance. 

Best for: Public liability insurance with worldwide coverage

Average cost: $27 per month

Our rating: 9/10


Zurich Public Liability Insurance

Pros

  • Covers court attendance costs

  • Claims can be processed and tracked through Zurich North America website

Cons

  • No standard pricing for premiums

Zurich started providing insurance services in 1872. Therefore, it’s one of the longest thriving insurance companies. That’s why you can count on Zurich to implement a smooth and transparent claims process.

Zurich does business in the United States through its branch Zurich North America, which the Better Business Bureau rates with A+.

Zurich North America doesn’t provide public liability insurance as a stand-alone policy. Still, you might get it if you buy its commercial casualty insurance.

Best for: Small and large businesses that operate locally and internationally

Average cost: $33 per month 

Our rating: 9/10


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