Public Liability Insurance and Professional Indemnity (PI) Insurance are often confused, and admittedly there are many similarities between them.
They both protect businesses and professionals from the financial fallout of legal action but there are distinct differences related to business practice and activities.
PI insurance protects against third party injury or damage related to error or omission in your professional duty when you provide paid-for advice or services. Jobs that provide such services, and should consider PI insurance, include accountants, solicitors (who are required by law to have a PI policy), alternative therapists, architects and media/design professionals.
Public liability insurance, however, relates to injury or damage to property or person as a result of physical work done by a professional. Therefore, the kinds of job that require professional liability insurance are tradespeople who interact with the public or public space and so come up against the possibility of liability claims.
“Public Liability is there to protect your business against the financial risk of for death, bodily injury or damage to property suffered by any third party including members of the general public or other business you work with.” (source)
The main difference is that public liability insurance protects businesses who interact with the public and other businesses, and whose actions could cause harm or injury to those they interact with. This is why public liability insurance is often useful, though not a compulsory requirement, for trades such as builders, carpet layers, plumbers and even dance instructors and personal trainers.
When a claim is made on a public liability insurance policy, standard coverage would include replacing or covering the cost of any damaged items or property and cover the cost of medical bills should personal injury or death occur.
Businesses that interact with the public, public space and other businesses can rest easy with a comprehensive public liability insurance policy. Even if they conduct their work properly and safely, if subsequent damage or injury occurs, it isn’t going to ruin their business or their chance to work in the future.