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Do you need public liability insurance for a shop?

By Maria Hickey on November 17th, 2022

Retail shop public liability insurance is an important topic to discuss if you run a business that comes into contact with your business and members of the public, such as running a retail shop.

It is insurance that you will likely need in case you are ever sued by a customer, a member of the public or a staff member for injury or damage to their property sustained on your premises. Shop insurance is extremely popular with business owners that offer products or services directly to the public from brick-and-mortar premises, such as retail shops, hairdressers, beauty salons, cafes, takeaways and restaurants.

Public liability insurance for retail shops is fast becoming the number one insurance cover after employers’ liability insurance to help protect the business’s bottom line against the risks that come with dealing with face-to-face customers and members of the public.

Since retail shops come in all shapes, sizes and types, they will have different insurance needs. You will be pleased to know that you can tailor your retail shop insurance policy only to buy the coverage you need.

With Brisco Business Insurance, you will never be over or under-insured because we understand there is no one-size-fits-all solution for business insurance. We will never sell you insurance that you don’t need or want, but one policy we highly recommend you take out, as a retail shop owner, is public liability cover.

Is public liability insurance legally required for retail shops?

Public liability insurance for retail shops isn’t a legal requirement. Still, taking this insurance out is a sensible move to protect you against many risks you face when selling directly to the public.

In many cases, public liability insurance can help boost your business, especially if you offer services to your customers. Many savvy customers will check to see if your business is covered by public liability insurance before they decide to buy from you.

Many people want to see that you are a company to trust with their money, so a way to make your business come across as reputable and trustworthy is to have public liability insurance in place. This will give your customers a higher level of confidence and trust in your company, which can be very personal, especially if you are a hairdresser and they trust you not to ruin their hair.

Why would you need public liability insurance for a shop?

While public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement, many shop owners believe it should be. Hundreds of thousands of UK shop owners have had their businesses saved from going under because they realised how important it is to protect themselves with public liability insurance.

Even if you don’t have a permanent brick-and-mortar shop base and run a pop-up shop business, it is well worth taking out public liability insurance for pop-up shops. This is an insurance that can save you from severe financial losses due to paying out compensation costs to customers that claim against you.

It is more than just your shop customers that you need to concern yourself with. Should a member of the public or passer-by slip over or trip and fall on your premises or directly outside your shop and sustain an injury, they can sue you for compensation.

Customers and passers-by can even claim for damages to their property. For example, a customer catches the strap of their handbag on your shop door handle, causing the strap to snap or tear the fabric of the handbag. They can claim compensation to cover the cost of repairs to the handbag or a like-for-like replacement.

Examples of when you would benefit from shop public liability insurance

If you are in the process of opening a shop and wonder if you should take out public liability insurance, then these are examples of when this coverage will help protect your business:

Customers visit your shop to purchase products, such as a grocer selling food and drink

  • Customers visit your retail shop to buy clothing, fabrics or homewares
  • Customers visit your premises to purchase services, such as hairdressing or beauty treatments
  • You run a café or restaurant where customers sit inside to consume hot food and drinks
  • You run an arts and crafts shop selling art supplies and offering crafting sessions in-store

It is up to you if you want to take out shop public liability insurance. Still, you need to ask yourself whether or not you can afford to meet the costs of paying out an expensive compensation claim if you don’t decide to protect yourself with this insurance.

You may think you have enough savings to cover the costs of being sued by a customer, but when you understand that potential costs can run into tens of thousands of pounds, it makes sense to invest in shop public liability insurance,

How can you find cheap public liability insurance for a shop?

If you are worried about the cost of your shop’s public liability insurance, it is helpful to know that you can create a tailored policy that meets your needs. The cost of public liability insurance for a small shop will differ from that for a larger business spread over multiple floors.

Each type of retail business will come with its own set of risks, so no two companies will need the same level of public liability insurance. The best way to find the most cost-effective insurance your need for your retail shop is to work with Brisco Business Insurance.

We are dedicated business insurance brokers who help business customers find the best deals for their insurance needs. We work with the UK’s leading insurers and will find you the perfect coverage to meet your needs quicker and more efficiently than trying to arrange this by yourself.

Our team at Brisco Business Insurance have helped hundreds of thousands of business customers find cost-effective insurance that perfectly matches their individual needs.


While purchasing retail shop liability insurance can seem like an extra expense that you could do without, you could be putting your business at significant risk of losing a serious amount of money if you choose to go without it.

Should a customer or member of the public make a claim against you and you are not protected by public liability insurance, you will have to pay all associated costs out of your own pocket. This will include a solicitor to fight your case, and their fees can run into thousands of pounds per day alone.

If you lose the case, you will be responsible for paying compensation to the customer plus their own legal fees. This could easily bankrupt a small shop business or a pop-up shop enterprise, so it makes sense to protect yourself with shop public liability insurance. Enhance your risk management strategy by partnering with Brisco Business for all your business insurance needs.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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