Insuring YOUR Business

The insurance you need depends on your business. Employers’ liability cover is a legal requirement for most businesses with staff, public liability insurance is important if you’re in contact with members of the public, and professional indemnity insurance is useful if your business offers advice.

What type of insurance does the business need?

Think about the kind of work you do and the risks you need to cover: could your business face a compensation claim from a disgruntled client because they believe you’ve been negligent? Is there a chance a member of the public could be injured by your business and claim compensation? Do you have buildings, contents, business equipment, or stock to insure?

Here are the most popular types of business insurance and the reasons why business owners may need them.

  • Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance is a key consideration if your business comes into contact with members of the public, whether that’s at your premises or elsewhere. It can protect you against compensation claims for injury or damage made by clients, customers, suppliers, or other third parties. Most shops, restaurants, hairdressers, builders, and tradesmen take out this insurance. Check your client contracts to see if a particular level of public liability insurance is required.

  • Professional indemnity insurance

Professional indemnity insurance is important if your business gives advice or offers a professional service to other businesses, or if you deal with client data or intellectual property. If you make a mistake in your work and your client loses money and sues you, your professional indemnity insurance can cover the compensation claims and legal costs. Some professional bodies and regulators require their members to have this insurance, including bodies for surveyors, accountants, and architects.

  • Employers’ liability insurance

If your business employs staff, you’re probably legally required to have an employers’ liability insurance policy. This covers compensation claims made by a member of staff because they’ve suffered injury, illness or damage as a result of their work. Certain companies are exempt from the legislation, including some businesses that only employ close family members. To see if you’re exempt, check the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines or seek advice.

  • Business buildings insurance

Whether you work from home or have separate business premises such as a shop, office, or pub, business buildings insurance should be a priority. If you rent the premises, make sure to check with your landlord to see what’s already covered.

  • Business contents insurance

You can also protect the contents of your business premises, your business equipment and tools. If these are damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen, this cover will pay the cost of replacements or repairs.

  • Stock insurance

If you hold any stock, whether on your premises or in storage, stock insurance will cover the cost of replacing it if it’s damaged, destroyed or stolen.

  • Product liability insurance

Product liability insurance protects you should a customer of yours suffer damage as a result of a faulty product you provide. You may be held liable for damage even if you didn’t manufacture the product.

  • Personal accident insurance

Personal accident insurance covers serious injury or death caused by an accident. It can payout for lost income, medical costs and hospitalisation, up to the limit of the policy. The maximum amount is £10,000 for an injury and £20,000 for death.

  • Business interruption insurance

If your business is disrupted by material damage caused by an event such as a flood or fire, business interruption insurance provides you with the financial cover you need to get back on your feet. For example, if a fire destroyed the contents of your business premises, business interruption insurance would cover your consequential loss of revenue, as long as your contents are also insured.

  • Business legal protection insurance

Business legal protection insurance – also known as business legal expenses insurance – covers your commercial legal expenses and provides protection against the potential costs of legal action brought by or against your business.


Business Postings

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Taking the First Step: Registering a New Business

What you need to do to set up depends on your type of business, where you work and whether you take people on to help.

Most businesses register as a sole trader, limited company or partnership.

Sole traders

It’s simpler to set up as a sole trader, but you’re personally responsible for your business’s debts. You also have some accounting responsibilities.

Limited companies

If you form a limited company, its finances are separate from your personal finances, but there are more reporting and management responsibilities.

Some people get help from a professional, for example, an accountant, but you can set up a company yourself.


A partnership is the simplest way for 2 or more people to run a business together.

You share responsibility for your business’s debts. You also have accounting responsibilities.

Rules for your type of business

You may have other responsibilities depending on what your business does.

Check if you need:

  • licences or permits, for example, to play music, sell food or to trade in the street
  • insurance

There are also rules you must follow if you:

  • sell goods online
  • buy goods from abroad or sell goods abroad
  • store or use personal information