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. Get your business public liability insurance (PLI) aside from commercial auto insurance and professional indemnity insurance. 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?
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 or as an optional coverage in a business owner's policy 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
Directors and officers liability insurance
Excess liability insurance
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.
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:
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.
If you’re a plumbing, construction, or electrical contractor, authorities might require public liability insurance for licensing purposes.
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.
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.
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
Reimbursement for property damage
So how much money can you get? Public liability insurance provides $300,000-$2 million coverage depending on the company that underwrote it.
Businesses that constantly interact with people must have public liability insurance. Here are some examples:
Appliance and computer repair shops
Appliance and furniture stores
Lawn care businesses
Pool cleaning businesses
Residential cleaning businesses
Renovation and home addition contractors
Car rental businesses
Clubs, bars, and taverns
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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
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
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.
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:
Breach of confidentiality
Breach of contract
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
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 of food liability insurance packages.
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:
Moreover, product liability insurance can also take care of claims for food poisoning or foodborne illness if your business is in the food industry.
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.
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:
Live music event
Trade show and expo
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 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.
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 Month||Cost per Year||Best for|
|NEXT||$8||$96||Best overall, Fastest public liability insurance|
|CoverWallet||$15||$180||Public liability insurance online quotes comparison|
|Tivly||$19||$228||Comparing public liability insurance quotes over the phone|
|Thimble||$24||$288||On-demand public liability insurance|
|Hiscox||$27||$324||Public liability insurance with worldwide coverage|
|Zurich||$33||$396||Small 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.
Insurance companies consider these factors when determining public liability insurance price:
Number of employees
Whether or not you want to name additional insureds
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.
Get all the best quotes from leading providers in a click of a button!
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.
Issues an online proof of insurance instantly
Great customer service and reputation
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
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
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
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
Call and get instant coverage
Compare public liability insurance quotes over the phone
Responsive customer service
Doesn’t issue online public liability insurance quotes
Similar to the first two companies, Tivly (formerly 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.
Tivly 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 Tivly 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
Easy to get quotes
Can provide public liability coverage for hours, days, weeks, or months
Online public liability insurance certificate management
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
Provides worldwide coverage
Fast to process claims
Has risk management resources
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
Covers court attendance costs
Claims can be processed and tracked through Zurich North America website
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
Lonnie Bell Insuranker
Policy Type: Business Insurance
Company name: Employers Insurance
Use anyone except Employers. Period. They are non-transparent and shameful. After I complained long enough to warrant a call from a supervisor, the supervisor called back from a PRIVATE NUMBER (no caller ID), left a message that they are not reversing their decision (without any communication with me), and failed to leave a phone number for me to call back. She was hiding! They also fact find via email and phone calls, which is terrific for speed and communication. However, after setting a precedence of email or phone calls, they send time sensitive information via email, without any heads up... they are hoping you miss it and forfeit via expiration. Evil policies. Go elsewhere.
This place is an absolute joke of a company and should be ashamed of the way they conduct business. I was hurt on the job at the end of July and it took them just shy of 7 weeks to issue out a paycheck to me. Yes the amount was back dated but still. Not many have the luxury of not receiving a paycheck for almost 2 months. To top it all off, the original adjuster marked me down for the wrong state which caused a problem from the get go, I've had 3 different adjusters now since each one can't seem to figure out the simplicity of my claim. All my paperwork which includes, my job, house, and drs visits all are from the same state and city but yet some how I have been filed under a completely different state 1500 miles away. They do not answer your phone calls or emails no matter how many you leave. I've had to escalate my frustrations to the supervisors of each of these individuals in order to even get some kind of response. I've had more communication and information given to me about my claim from the customer service representatives then the actual adjusters.......... please tell me how that works?! A serious overhaul needs to happen here in order to serve your clients the way they deserve to be taken care of. 10/10 do not recommend this company to a single soul on earth
I have never had the displeasure of working with a more incompetent and disrespectful person in my life. I’m an injured worker and the adjuster that was assigned to my case was named Carrie Furgeson. In the past 6 weeks that I’ve been injured and out of work I have only been able to get ahold of her twice, not for lack of trying. I have left countless voicemails, countless emails, and she ignores them all. When I am finally able to get ahold of her I’m greeted with terrible customer service. She is rude, she talks over me and I’m hardly able to get a word in edgewise. She spelled my name wrong on my documents even after I spelled it for her properly countless times, this caused a whole new issue with my bank. I have bill collectors from the hospital calling me demanding payment and Carrie Furgeson won’t do a single thing to help, or to get them paid. All of my documentation is in Colorado, my job is in Colorado, my address is in Colorado, all my Dr offices and appointments have been in Colorado and Carrie still managed to hold my claim because she wasn’t sure what state she needed to file it under. It’s been 6 weeks since my Injury and my company still hasn’t received the wage paperwork to fill out so they can get me my correct wages. When she’s not ignoring me she’s answering my questions with “I don’t know” well I don’t know how she got this job, because apparently she doesn’t know anything about it. She is a disgusting morose individual inside and out and I genuinely wish her the worst in all of her future endeavors. I highly recommend you don’t use this company. Please if you are a business owner and your looking into this company please don’t use them. I’m sure they have the cheapest payment and that’s why companies use them in the first place, but you will be doing your employees a grave disservice by forcing them to venture into this absolute dumpster fire of a company. I would rate 0/5 if possible but 1 was the lowest I was allowed.
Their general liability insurance purchase process is simply the best online experience I've ever had in my life!
As long as they cover your line of business, you're literally covered! best rates, best coverage, best online experience, best professionals, can't be happier that I chose them!