What does employers’ liability insurance cover?

We provide an indemnity limit of £10 million employers’ liability cover as standard, which includes protection for the following risks:

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Compensation claims

No matter what type of business you run, there’s always the risk of an employee compensation claim. This cover will protect your business against claims that have been made by an employee as a result of illness or injury in the workplace, including claims made by work experience staff.

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Legal expenses

Hiring a solicitor can be an expensive business, and a cost you may not want to absorb in the event of an employee claim. We’ll provide cover for legal costs and expenses should you be required to defend yourself in court.

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Loss of income

It’s not just the legal and potential compensation costs you have to think about when it comes to employers’ liability – you may also find that your day-to-day operations suffer while dealing with the fallout of a third party claim. That’s why we'll pay for your loss of income for each day spent in court.

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Certificate of employers' liability insurance

You will be sent a certificate of employers’ liability insurance confirming what cover you have in place at point of purchase. You can either display a physical copy of your certificate or put it online where all of your employees can access it, such as on a SharePoint site.

What is employers' liability insurance?

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Employers' liability insurance protects businesses from financial losses if an employee injures themselves, damages their property or contracts an industrial disease at work and files a compensation claim against the business.

For example, an employee slips in a puddle of water and injures themselves while working because there were no wet floor signs, or develops repetitive strain injury (RSI) because they didn’t have the correct computer safety equipment.

Not only will your employers’ liability policy provide cover for compensation payments and your employee’s medical expenses, but it will also cover any related legal fees and costs.

Who do we cover?

SME and large businesses

As you evolve, so do your risks, which is why we provide business insurance with a personal touch - including cover for your employees. We pride ourselves on our strong insurer relationships and aim to build the same great partnerships with our customers by exceeding your expectations for service and delivering highly competitive rates that you might not get elsewhere.

Fleets and motor trade

We’ve used our 30 years’ experience to build bespoke products that meet the ever-evolving needs of courier and taxi companies, bike and car dealers, mechanics, part-time traders, national dealers and breakdown recovery firms - including public and employers’ liability, road risks and business interruption cover.

Charities, community groups and not-for-profits

It’s not just businesses that require employers’ liability protection – charities also have an obligation to their staff and employees to make sure they’re looking out for their best interests and fulfilling their legal requirements. Find out more about our specialist charity insurance solutions.

Employers’ liability insurance FAQs

There are lots of considerations to take into account when it comes to your business insurance. We’ve taken the time to answer your questions about employers’ liability insurance to help you better understand what cover you might need to have in place.

Do I need employers’ liability insurance?

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Whether you’re a small business or large organisation, if you have any employees or apprentices it’s a legal requirement to have employers’ liability insurance in place – and you could be fined £2,500 every day you are not properly insured.

You will likely need employers' liability insurance under the following circumstances:  

  • There is a contract of employment in place, whether spoken, written or implied
  • They do the same work and under the same conditions as other employees – for example, work experience staff, volunteers or apprentices
  • You manage your employees’ salaries, including deducting income tax and National Insurance
  • You control when and how people work , and supply the tools, materials and equipment
  • You have a right to any profits your workers make 

Read more about employers liability insurance

Get an employers’ liability insurance quote.

Who isn’t legally required to have employers’ liability insurance?

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There are also a small number of organisations not legally obliged to have employers’ liability insurance in place, such as health service bodies or family businesses where all of the employees are closely related.

You can find a full list of the main exemptions in the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.

Is employers’ liability insurance compulsory in the UK?

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If you have employees, then it’s a legal requirement that you have at least £5 million employers’ liability insurance in place – and you could even be fined up to £2,500 for every day you are not properly insured under the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.

But outside of your legal obligations, it’s also your responsibility to safeguard the health and safety your employees whilst they’re working for you. This applies to:

  • Full-time staff
  • Temporary and part-time staff
  • Work experience and apprentices
  • In some instances, volunteers (sometimes volunteers are covered by your public liability insurance)

Employers’ liability can either be included as a cover under a combined business insurance policy, or purchased as a standalone employers’ liability insurance policy.


What about contractors and subcontractors?

You should also consider whether you need cover for freelancers, contractors or subcontractors, as you may need to cover them under your employers’ liability insurance if they’re using your equipment, or depending on whether they’ve been hired on a “bona-fide” contract or labour-only basis.

Get an employers’ liability insurance quote.

What’s the difference between public liability and employers’ liability insurance?

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Employers’ liability insurance will protect your business against compensation claims made by employees following injury, illness or damage to their property in the workplace, and is a legal requirement for anyone employing staff in the UK.

Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, but provides very similar cover to employers’ liability with the key difference that it protects against compensation claims made by members of the public - including clients, customers and, in some cases, volunteers.

Do I need employers’ liability insurance for self-employed workers?

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You are only legally required to have employers’ liability insurance for workers you employ under a contract of service or apprenticeship, and whether or not you need cover in place will depend on the terms of your contract with them.

This is regardless of whether you usually call someone an employee or self-employed, what their tax status is, or whether the contract is spoken, written or implied – so it’s important to know where you stand with your workers so you can ensure you have the right cover in place.

Do I need employers’ liability insurance for volunteers?

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Volunteers can be a grey area, as they can either fall under your public or employers’ liability insurance. If you’re not sure what cover you need in place for volunteers or unpaid staff, speak to one of our expert consultants on 0333 234 0021.

Do I need to display my employers’ liability certificate?

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Once you take out cover, your insurance provider will issue a certificate of employers’ liability insurance confirming the cover you have in place.

It’s a legal requirement for you to display this certificate, and you could be fined up to £1,000 for not doing so.

Therefore it’s important to make sure either a physical copy is displayed, or you put it online for your employees to access - such as on a SharePoint site. You should also make sure your certificate is available should an inspector ask to see it.

What is an Employee Reference Number (ERN)?

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An Employee Reference Number (ERN) is a unique number given to businesses that register with HM Revenue and Customs as an employer, so your insurer may ask you to provide your ERN when you get an employers’ liability insurance quote.

Employers’ liability insurance is usually provided on a ‘claims occurring’ basis, which means that your policy will cover any claim that occurs during the period of insurance, regardless of when the claim is made. The purpose of the ERN is to help your insurer identify and settle claims that are raised after your insurance policy period has ended, or if the business is no longer trading.

Do I need employers’ liability insurance if my employees live and work abroad?

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Under UK law you are required to have employers’ liability insurance in place for all employees that are normally based in the UK, including offshore installations and associated structures.

However, you will require cover for overseas employees if they are going to spend more than 14 days continuously in the UK, or more than seven days on an offshore installation.

If you do have employees based abroad, it’s still worth checking the laws of the country they reside in to make sure all your legal obligations have been met.

What do we need to know for an employers’ liability quote?

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There are a number of different factors that will be taken into account when giving a quote for employers’ liability, such as the size and nature of your business. We will also need to know the following:

  • Will your employees be doing clerical or manual work?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • What is the wage role of your business?
  • Will any directors be doing clerical or manual work?
  • Will any employees be working with heat or at height?

What optional extras are available with employers’ liability insurance?

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Every business is different, which is why we make it easy for you to find flexible, affordable protection against a number of different risks. You can select the following covers when you get a quote with us: 

Public liability insurance

Protection for your business if a customer injures themselves or their property is damaged as a result of your business operations. Select the level of cover you need with levels of cover set at £1 million, £2 million and £5 million.

Business equipment insurance

If your business relies on any special equipment, business equipment insurance can protect it from damage, theft and loss.

Tools cover

This provides cover for any handheld tools or power tools in the event of loss, theft or accidental damage.

Business stock insurance

If your business keeps stock on the premises, business stock insurance can protect if from damage, theft and loss.

Contract works

Covers loss or damage to property or materials forming part of the contract works. When deciding on this cover, you should consider the conditions of cover, excesses and cover limitations or exclusions which could affect your ability to claim.

How much does employers’ liability insurance cost?

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The cost of your cover will depend on a number of different factors – such as what type of business you run and how many employees you have, as well as what sorts of tasks they’ll be carrying out day-to-day. We work with a panel of leading commercial insurers to ensure we find you the right cover, at an appropriate price. If you’d like to know more, speak to one of our expert consultants.

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Call us on 0333 234 1447