What does charity public liability insurance cover?

There are few not-for-profit organisations that don’t involve participation from the public, particularly when you’re running fundraising events. That’s why, whether you’re making or selling goods, working with the community or engaging with volunteers, it’s important to make sure your organisation is protected. Get an instant online quote for:

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Third party liability

Cover for costs relating to third party injury or property damage should a member of the public or a volunteer make a claim against your charity.

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Legal expenses

Payment of legal defense costs relating to allegations of negligence against your organization following third party injury or property damage.

Bullet Point

Compensation claims

It’s no secret that compensation claims can be costly, which is why we’ll provide up to £5 million cover should a third party sustain an injury

Bullet Point

Medical fees

Cover for medical fees should a member of the public have to undergo hospital treatments due to injury received as a result of your organisation’s activities.

Need specialist cover for your charity?

Benefit from over 30 years’ third sector experience with expert support and advice from our dedicated team of charity insurance specialists. We provide flexible insurance solutions for charities, community groups, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations, including public and employers liability, professional indemnity, trustee indemnity, property insurance and more.

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Charity public liability insurance: FAQs

As a specialist charity insurance broker, we understand that charitable organisations have got a lot on their plate, so we aim to make finding the right charity insurance an easy process. Find out more about the basics of charity public liability insurance by reading our FAQs.

What is charity public liability insurance?
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Charity public liability insurance is cover taken out to protect an organisation against the cost of compensation claims made for injury, illness or damage to property by members of the public - such as clients, volunteers, service users, customers or contractors. This only relates to claims that have arisen as a direct result of your operations or premises, and can be taken out either as a standalone policy or as part of a more comprehensive charity insurance policy.

Typically, insurers would look to provide a minimum of £5 million, increasing to £10 million for larger organisations if specific contracts stipulate the need for this level of cover.  

Charity public liability is becoming a much more sought after area of insurance, as many companies will request copies of your public liability insurance before they allow you to hire out their premises, undertake a fundraising event on their site or even when you bid for funding.

Why do charities need public liability insurance?
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In the same way as a business, not-for-profit organisations have a duty of care to staff, volunteers and clients to ensure all activities are conducted responsibly so as to avoid third party injury or property damage. If your organisation is in breach of this duty, and as a result injury or damage is caused, then any injured party could make a claim against your organisation for the damages – and these claims can be surprisingly costly.

This is why public liability insurance is essential for all business and organisations, no matter their size.

Is public liability insurance a legal requirement for charities?
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No, public liability insurance is not a legal requirement for charities. However, given the risks involved with supporting the public and running fundraising events, it can still be a good idea to investigate taking out public liability cover for your organisation. Equally, some third party contracts (such as venue hire) may require you to have a specified level of public liability cover in place.

Important: While public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement, if you have employees it’s a legal requirement to have at least £5 million employers’ liability insurance in place - you could be fined up to £2,500 for every day you don’t have it!

Related: What types of charity insurance do I need?

What does charity public liability insurance cover?
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By taking out public liability insurance, you will be covered against the costs of legal action and compensation made against your organisation should a member of the public injure themselves or damage their property.

This could be a client, customer, volunteer or simply a passerby that happens to get injured in relation to your premises – such as tripping over a sign that’s used for promotion outside of the premises.

Public liability insurance can cover costs relating to:

  • Third party illness
  • Third party injury
  • Loss of damage to third party property
What’s an example of a charity public liability claim?
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One of your volunteers slips in liquid while working at a charity-organised event. They smash their mobile phone and injure themselves badly in the process, leaving them unable to continue their full time job whilst they recover. The volunteer makes a claim against your organisation for loss of earnings as well as seeking compensation to replace their broken mobile phone.

The public liability section of your charity insurance policy will provide cover for both of these claims, as well as legal support should you have to attend court.

How much charity public liability insurance do I need?
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How much public liability cover your charity, community group or not-for-profit requires will depend upon a number of factors, including:

  • The size / income of your charity
  • How many employees and volunteers you have
  • Whether you deal with members of the public
  • Your fundraising activities
  • Whether you make or sell products or goods
  • Requirements for third party contracts

If you’re unsure on what level of cover your charity needs, please call our dedicated charity insurance team on 0333 234 1358 for expert support and advice or arrange a call.

Do I need public liability insurance for volunteers?
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Volunteers can be a bit of a grey area when it comes to your charity insurance, as they can fall under either your public or employers liability insurance cover. Before taking out insurance, it may be worth conducting a risk assessment for the activities your volunteers will be undertaking, as this will help give an accurate picture of the type of insurance you might need.

If you require cover for volunteers, or want to find out if they’re covered under your existing charity insurance policy, please speak to us on 0333 234 1358

Do I need public liability insurance for a charity event?
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Fundraising can be vital to a charity’s success. But whether it’s a small bake sale or a large festival, there are plenty of risks involved with fundraising activities - particularly when they involve members of the public, employees or volunteers.

While public liability insurance for a charity event is not a legal requirement, it’s can be sensible to have cover in place if you’ll be engaging with the public during your event, as this will protect your organisation from potentially costly third party compensation claims.

Equally, some venues may require you to have public liability insurance in place before they’ll allow you to hold an event on their premises. They should let you know when you book the venue if this is the case.

Related: Safe fundraising for charities and not-for-profit organisations

Do you need public liability insurance for community groups?
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If your community group is dealing with members of the public it can be a good idea to have charity public liability insurance in place to ensure you’re financially protected. However, it is not a legal requirement.

If you’re planning on running community group events, it’s also worth considering whether the landlord or local authority will require you to have public liability insurance in place before you’re allowed to book a venue.   

How do I get a charity public liability insurance quote?
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We understand that investigating charity insurance can be extremely time-consuming, as it’s important to find the right cover that suits the needs of your organisation. That’s why we make our public liability insurance process simple and straightforward:

If your organisation has an income under £100,000, get an instant online quote here.

If your needs are slightly more complex, simply request a quote with us and our team will be in touch with you to discuss your options regarding public liability insurance.

Remember, the cost of your public liability insurance premium may be affected by the size of your charity as well as the nature of your organisation. You’re likely to be asked what sort of fundraising you carry out and the types of clients you work with, so have this information to hand when you get a quote.

Why Endsleigh?

Whether you’re a small community charity or a large trust, we know that choosing the right cover to suit your requirements is crucial. With over 30 years’ third sector experience, our team of experts take the time to understand what your organisation is all about – and then tailor an approach that protects you from potential risks.

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