Public Liability Insurance Certificate: Why Do You Need It?

Public Liability Insurance Certificate: Why Do You Need It?


Being Prepared and Professional

Every insurance policy comes with documentation outlining exactly what you are and aren’t covered for. However, it can be a hassle sending this lengthy pile of paperwork to anyone that needs proof of your insurance, especially considering that most of the information included is the same no matter which insurance company you use.

This is why a public liability insurance certificate is so useful. As well as proving you’re covered, which can help convince clients to trust in your brand, it also gives you a handy summary of your policy so you can confirm details in no time. 

Are public liability insurance certificates a legal requirement?

The insurance policies required by law, such as employer’s liability and motor insurance, need an accompanying certificate. However, as public liability insurance is not mandatory, you are not legally obliged to have a public liability certificate. Despite this, it’s certainly a good idea to get one. 

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When may you need to show your public liability insurance certificate?

Public liability insurance protects your livelihood if customers, suppliers, or members of the public are injured or suffer property damage due to your business activities. Although the cover isn’t a legal stipulation, there are many reasons you may need it. For instance, if you’re working as a subcontractor, the main contractor will often insist that you have public liability insurance as a condition of the contract. Additionally, certain local authorities may require proof of this cover before they allow you to begin a project. Without evidence, you may struggle to find work. 

Some professional bodies and trade associations will also request evidence of your public liability insurance policy in the terms of your membership. A public liability insurance certificate is a convenient way to show you have a valid insurance policy in place.

What information does a public liability insurance certificate contain?

Most insurance certificates outline very basic information. Take employer’s liability certificates, for instance, which generally only show who is insured, the insurance company and policy number, and the period of insurance. Motor insurance certificates may also include details of the vehicle that’s insured and who can drive it.

Public liability insurance certificates are much more extensive because different insurers are likely to offer various degrees of coverage in their respective policies. Therefore, certificates still list who is insured, the insurance company, policy number and insurance period, but they also explicitly detail of the policy’s terms. 

One of the most important things listed is the indemnity limit—the most an insurer will pay in the event of a claim. This information is critical as contracts requiring valid public liability insurance will usually specify a minimum indemnity limit.

Public liability certificates will also state your business description—such as “builder” or “handyman”—and the particular activities you’ll be insured for while doing this role. Contractors need to know that you not only have a public liability insurance policy, but are insured for the specific work you are doing for them. Any major cover exclusions will also be listed, such as a territorial limit that means you aren’t insured for any work outside the UK.

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