Insuring your public space

 1 August 2013

Few people set out to cause an accident, but they do happen. And if one happens on your premises, you could be considered responsible. Nick Green from PolicyBee explains how insurance can help.

Personal injury claims can run to many thousands of pounds, and take hours of legal argument to settle. (Image: Peter Shanks)
Personal injury claims can run to many thousands of pounds, and take hours of legal argument to settle. (Image: Peter Shanks)

If you’re running an operation in the creative sector, from a theatre to a museum or gallery, you may think that you have everything covered: disclaimers in place, exhibits insured and so on.

But accidents happen, even in the most safety-conscious organisations.

Expecting someone to have common sense is not always a suitable defence.

It could be as innocuous as someone slipping on a puddle left by a visitor’s wet umbrella, a spilt drink or a dripping ice cream.

It could be a coat that rips after being caught on one of your door handles, or a faller on your well-lit, signposted stairs.

Accidents can lead to claims

In each case, there is the potential for a claim against you for having caused the accident, or at least acted in a way that created the conditions for it to happen.

Such claims may be the sort you want to dismiss, to laugh off as being ridiculous. But in law, expecting someone to have common sense is not always a suitable defence.

And even if the claim appears daft, you still need to sort out a suitably robust rebuttal to that solicitor’s letter you receive on behalf of the claimant.

Public liability insurance can cover you

Public liability insurance could help. Your policy should take up the fight on your behalf, arguing the merits of any claim and settling with the other party if needs be.

All you will have to do is make that first phone call and provide your insurer with the details they need to defend the claim.

A policy will also cover you and your business when out and about. So if you’re in public, improvising a performance or exhibiting sculptures, you’re covered for third party damages to people and property. 

Personal injury claims can run to many thousands of pounds, and take hours of legal argument to settle. It's worth having a safety net so you don't have to fork out.

Choose insurance that fits your business

It’s sensible to plan insurance from the moment you first set up in business and invite someone to your premises – even if it’s a study, home office or garden office.

The policy may need to take in unusual risks, especially if you throw knives or walk on hot coals!

The policy needs to expand to meet the scale of your organisation, and may need to take in specific unusual risks, especially if you throw knives or walk on hot coals! 

So it is best to seek out a provider who knows the long and the short of such policies, rather than a general high street insurance broker who may not know the right questions to ask.

That way, you’ll get a policy with the cover to suit.

Public liability insurance in a nutshell

So, just to sum up:

  • A public liability insurance policy will cover you for damages and injury to others and their property, either on your premises or when you’re out and about.
  • You get legal help to defend any claims, whether spurious or serious.
  • Specialists will negotiate and settle any claims on your behalf.

Most importantly, you can get on with what you enjoy doing and are best at.

Get covered and stay safe.

Provided by PolicyBee, a professional indemnity insurance broker.