What is Public Liability insurance?

Public liability is an old-school insurance term that is now commonly referred to as general liability insurance.

Meg Furey-Marquess
By Meg Furey-Marquess
Published Aug 16, 2023
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What is Public Liability insurance?

Public insurance is an older form of business insurance created to protect the public from certain types of injuries when they interact with businesses.

Many U.S. insurance companies no longer offer public liability insurance; instead they’ve upgraded to general liability insurance.

The benefit to the policyholder is that they get all the protection of public liability insurance as well as other broader coverages.

U.S. insurance companies rarely offer public liability. General liability covers businesses more completely and it is the industry standard for small business owners. It’s usually one of the first insurances a small business buys.

Globally things are a bit different. In the U.K. and Australia, you’ll hardly ever see general liability policies mentioned because public liability is the standard for small businesses. You may hear that public liability is simply the U.K.’s version of general liability, but that’s not 100% right.

How much is Public Liability insurance?

Public liability is a part of general liability insurance, and general liability insurance costs are different for every business. With NEXT, it can cost as little as $11 monthly for some low-risk businesses.*

Several factors can influence the price (called the premium) you’ll pay for insurance, including:

  • Your industry
  • Your business operations
  • The size of your business
  • Where you do business
  • Your business needs and how much coverage you want to purchase
  • Policy limits

Get a basic estimate of how much general liability will cost your business with the general liability calculator.

What’s covered by Public Liability insurance?

Public liability insurance typically refers to general liability coverage involving your business and the public.

For example, if a customer has a slip-and-fall injury at your store, public liability insurance could help cover their medical expenses.

Or if someone decides to sue your business because they feel you’ve harmed their reputation, public liability insurance can help cover legal expenses to defend yourself — and help reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Public Liability vs. General Liability: Is there a difference?

You might think that public liability sounds a lot like general liability insurance, and you’re not wrong. Think of general liability insurance as an expansion to public liability.

Public liability insurance usually refers to injuries and property damage involving your business and the public.

General liability insurance covers all of the above, and it can protect against claims of advertising harm.

If your business is sued for improper image use in an ad, public liability won’t help, but general liability could provide financial help if the claim meets your policy coverage.

What other kinds of small business insurance are there?

Depending on your business needs, you might want to have more than just general liability (which includes public liability) insurance. These types of business insurance can help protect you from other risks:

How NEXT helps small businesses

NEXT has helped over 450,000 businesses in 1,300 professions get just the coverage they need. We make putting together your business insurance plan easy with 24/7 access to manage your coverage. Plus, if you bundle two or more of our policies, you can save up to 10%.

Start a quote, customize your options and access your certificate of insurance online immediately — all in about 10 minutes.

Start your instant quote today.

Meg Furey-Marquess
About the author

Meg Furey-Marquess is an experienced writer from Austin, Texas. With a special interest in both small business and personal finance, she believes that big ideas often start small. With a knack for narrative and a relentlessly curious nature, her goal is to amplify the “little guys.”

* Any starting prices or premiums represented before an actual customer quote are not guaranteed and are representations of existing premiums of active policies as of July 28, 2023. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten, not all applicants may qualify. Individual rates and savings vary and are subject to change. Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only.
** For illustrative purposes only. Your policy documents govern, terms & exclusions apply.
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