When you own a business of course you need various types of insurance in order to protect yourself in case of lawsuits and to ensure you're compliant with certain regulations. The types of insurance you need may vary, and public liability insurance can be a very good choice even if not legally required of you. However, some business owners don't understand what is meant by this type of insurance; note a few factors about this coverage so you can determine if it's the right choice for your business.
What is public liability?
Public liability protects you if a member of the general public were to injure themselves or suffer property damage while on your property. For example, someone might slip and fall in a store and their injuries would be the responsibility of the store owner. If they were driving on an icy parking lot and their car skidded into a pole, it may be found that the property owner is responsible because they did not maintain their property.
Public liability insurance also protects members of the public from damage done by one of your employees. If you own a landscaping company and one of your workers cuts through a power line or does damage to a house where you're working, public liability insurance would cover that even though the damage was not done on your property in particular.
How is public liability different than other forms of liability insurance?
If you make a mistake in your work and your client suffers a monetary loss, such as in the case of a lawyer or property appraiser, this is not the same as public liability. That client did not suffer property damage or personal injury; this type of liability may be covered in what is called errors and omissions insurance. If a worker injures themselves while out in the field working for you, this is covered under worker's compensation insurance; they are not considered a member of the public and worker's compensation insurance covers them even if they're off your property.
Other professionals may need a form of public liability that is specific to them; for example, doctors and dentists may need malpractice insurance. If their work itself causes injury, this is considered malpractice. Public liability is when someone is injured or suffers damage indirectly rather than as a direct result of your actions. If you're a medical professional who owns a building out of which you work, note that your malpractice insurance doesn't cover a slip and fall accident in the building, so public liability insurance should be considered in addition to malpractice insurance.