Office Insurance: What Do You Really Need?

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Office Insurance UK

Offices can face significant financial risk if you don't have the right insurance coverages in place, and there are many options to consider. Read our in-depth guide to learn about the different types of cover you might need, as well as typical costs. For quick definitions of each type of cover, see the blue boxes below and use the examples to see how the right insurance coverage can work for you.

To find out how much you'll need to pay for insurance for your office, fill out a quote form where you'll fill in some basic information then receive quotes from up to 5 insurance providers. You can ask questions if you have them, then pick out the best policy for your budget and needs.

Popular Types of Insurance for an Office

Due to risks faced by offices, they typically need public liability, employers' liability and contents insurance, but other types might be needed as well.

There are three main types of insurance coverage that an office needs—public liability, employers' liability and contents cover—but there are some other add-on extras you might want as well. Let's run through the list to explain what each type covers to help you decide if you need it or not.

Common Types of Office Insurance & What They Cover
1.Public LiabilityIf a visitor is injured in your office, public liability covers legal costs and compensation payments
2.Product LiabilityUsually wrapped up together with public liability, product liability covers if someone is injured or falls ill due to a product you design or sell
3.Employers LiabilityIf an employee is injured or falls ill due to work, employers' liability insurance protects against related liability claims
4.Office ContentsContents insurance protects your stock, fixtures and fittings against damage, loss or theft. You can add accidental damage, too
5.Business equipmentBusiness equipment cover can protect your computers, printers, cash registers, etc. against accidental damage, loss or theft
6.Professional IndemnityIf you give advice or sell a service, professional indemnity insurance protects against claims made by clients that your advice or service (not your manual work) was negligent
7.Personal InsurancesPersonal accident insurances can provide money if you or an employee are off work due to a job-related injury or illness
8.Business InterruptionBusiness Interruption insurance can reimburse you against lost revenues and pay for temporary office space in the event of physical damage like flood or fire (but not usually situations like coronavirus)
9.Commercial Buildings coverIf you own your office premises, you'll also want to buy buildings insurance to cover damage or loss due to events such as fire, flood or theft.

Here are some examples of how these insurances can protect an office:

Office Insurance Examples

  • Public Liability: A customer visiting your office trips over an electric cord on the ground and is injured. Public liability insurance covers your legal defense fees and any compensation you're required to pay to the customer to compensate them for damages.
  • Employers’ Liability: An employee suffers from a wrist injury and blames your business for supplying poor equipment. They sue for the wages they lost while injured and the damages of their expenses. Employers' liability insurance covers your legal defense fees and compensation you're required to pay to your employee as the result of a lawsuit against your office.
  • Business Contents Example: A fire sweeps through your office, resulting in the loss of all business equipment, furniture and fixtures. Business contents insurance pays to replace the lost equipment, fixtures and fittings. (Repairs to the premise's structure—e.g., pipes, floors, walls, electrics, etc.—would fall under the premise owner's commercial buildings insurance.)
  • Professional Liability: Your interior design business produces plans for a high-end home renovation. After work has started, it's found that a key piece of your design will be more costly than planned, and extra costs will be incurred making it right. The client claims you're responsible for these added costs.
  • Business Interruption Example: A flood damages the ground floor of your building, preventing your employees from entering the premises. You have to find alternative office space, and it's closed for 3 months for repairs. Business interruption insurance covers your lost revenues over this period of time.

FAQs

Yes, offices in the UK inevitably need some form of insurance cover—primarily employers' liability, public liability and office contents. Click here to learn more.

With so many factors affecting the cost of business insurance, it's hard to say which are making the difference for you. Industry certainly plays a large part, especially if your line of work involves giving advice or offering a service making professional indemnity relevant. For example, the cost of office insurance essentially triples for a small recruitment agency once you add professional indemnity to public liability, employers' liability and business contents.

Save money on office insurance using the same methods as with most insurance types. Here are some examples of factors that can lower your office insurance premiums:

  • No previous claims/convictions
  • More years worked in the industry
  • Lower levels of cover
  • Strong security in your office (e.g., alarms)
  • Compare quotes in the market before you buy

If you are working from home, whether temporarily or permanently, you should first advise your home buildings and contents insurance provider of your situation. They may or may not offer cover—for instance if you have expensive computers for your business these might not be covered under your existing home insurance contents cover, in which case you'll need separate business contents cover. And if you have clients visit you at home then you might need to add additional public liability insurance coverage.

Which types of insurance do offices need most?

There are a few main types of insurance that offices should consider buying. For starters, employers' liability insurance is a legal requirement if you have any employees or staff, even temporary or part time. And if any clients or other guests visit your office then you certainly need public liability insurance to protect against liability claims of accidental injury or damage to third parties or their property while on your office premises. And offices should also consider contents insurance to protect business equipment, office furniture, etc. against unexpected events like fire, flood or theft.

Then there are other types to consider as well, such as personal accident cover, business interruption insurance (this won't usually cover situations like Covid, but will protect you against lost revenues or needing temporary office space if yours in not accessible due to physical damage like fire or flood), legal expenses, and more. When you're getting quotes, you'll typically be able to add on these extras if you want to.

How Much Does Office Insurance Cost?

The average starting cost of office insurance in the UK is around £300 per year, but some will pay a lot more. For instance, professions needing professional indemnity (e.g., accountant, estate agent, etc.) can pay at least £1,600 a year for business insurance for even a small office.

Costs vary significantly from business to business, depending on factors like the type of work you do, the amount of contents you're covering, the type and level of coverage you want, the number of people you employ, etc. To give you a rough idea of how costs can vary, we've run some sample quotes to insure a typical small office in the UK. Here's what we found.

graph showing the average cost of office insurance in the UK
How Much Does Office Insurance Cost? (£2M Public Liability, Employers' Liability, £20k Contents)Excludng £2M Professional IndemnityIncluding £2M Professional Indemnity
Advertising agent£284£498
Recruitment agency£377£1,246
Accountant£392£1,622
Estate agent£514£1,619
Travel agency£585n/a

Where can I get quotes for office insurance?

Compare office insurance quotes here—after filling out a short form you'll receive quotes from up to five insurance providers. You'll have the chance to talk on the phone if you have questions that you want to discuss. Then choose the cover that offers the best price and features for your needs.

More Information on Types of Office Insurance

If you want to better understand how the different types of office insurance work and what they typically cover, see the definitions below.

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance is important cover for offices because it covers legal costs and compensation payments due to accidental injury or damage claims made by third parties.

Public Liability Insurance (PL) is a important cover for offices if you have any in-person exposure to customers and other third parties who can sue you—for instance customers who visit your office premises. PL insurance protects against accidental injury or property damage claims made by members of the public and, if you're sued, can cover the cost of your legal expenses as well as any compensation you're found liable to pay.

While not required by law, most offices will find that public liability is certainly worth the cost—consider that the average public liability settlement was £13,500 last year, but costs can be much higher.

Employers’ Liability Insurance

Employers' Liability insurance protects against illness or injury claims made by employees and is required by law.

Employers' Liability Insurance (EL) will be a legal requirement for nearly every office in the UK, as this coverage is mandatory for any business that employs staff—including temporary or part-time staff. EL protects against any injury and illness claims made by employees and will cover both your legal defense fees as well as any compensation you're found liable to pay to your employee.

Business Contents Insurance

Business Contents insurance can protect against loss, damage or theft of your fixtures and fittings, and even your stock due to events like fire, flood and theft.

Most offices will want Business Contents Insurance to protect financially against the loss, damage or theft of valuable stock (this might cost extra, depending on the value of your stock), fixtures, fittings, displays, decoration and even employees' personal possessions while in your office.

In addition, offices might want to consider other types of business insurance such as personal accident cover, business interruption insurance, business equipment (e.g., computers), legal expenses, and more. When you're getting quotes, you'll typically be able to add on these extras if you need them.

Methodology

Quotes were gathered for a sample office in the South of England. No fewer than the four cheapest quotes were averaged to give us our results. Our sample profile had no prior convictions and had never been denied insurance. Your costs may be higher or lower depending on the difference in variables your risk profile is measured by.

Office Insurance Providers and Brokers

If you get a compare office insurance quotes here (which is powered by 4.8 star QuoteZone), you will be connected with up to five companies to get a quote. Here is the list of commercial property insurance providers in the QuoteZone panel:

  • 1st Choice
  • Allied Wessex Dental Insurance
  • Arthur J Gallagher & Co.
  • Be Wiser
  • BP Insurance Brokers
  • Brady Insurance
  • Compare Insurance
  • Coversure Harborne
  • Crosby Insurance Brokers
  • Edison Ives Insurance
  • Export and General
  • Gallagher Insurance
  • Greenwood Moreland
  • GSI Insurance
  • Insurance Protector
  • Konsileo
  • Nova Insurance
  • Plan Insurance
  • QCIS
  • SJL Insurance
  • The Retail Mutual
  • TL Dallas (NI)
  • UKinsuranceNET
Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the CEO, Co-founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.

Comments

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.