Business Insurance

How to claim against public liability insurance

Take critical steps to ensure your public liability insurance claim is paid out.

When it comes to making a claim on public liability insurance, there are certain steps to take—and others to avoid. Not doing so risks an otherwise-valid claim not being paid out. For example, you can't wait too long to inform your insurer of a potential claim situation. You also must not admit fault or negotiate a settlement yourself.

We've had a look at the public liability claim procedure of some popular UK public liability insurance providers to learn about common rules for submitting successful public liability claims. Here's a high-level summary of what we found.

Check your policy documents.

Check your policy wording because the steps for notifying an insurer of a claim and the conditions for achieving a successful claim will vary from policy to policy. Each company has their own public liability claims process. You must comply with the conditions listed else your insurer might not pay a claim.

Take steps to limit damage.

To the extent possible, you must take steps to prevent further loss or damage, recover lost property lost and, in general, minimise the claim. This can include allowing others to take steps to mitigate further damage.

Notify your insurer.

It's critical to notify your insurer promptly of any claim or threatened claim against you. The terms might specify a time window within which you must notify the insurer. For example, Hiscox says you have 7 days to notify them regarding a claim arising out of bodily injury.

If you used a broker, you should notify your broker. They can help guide you through the claims process and can manage the process with your insurer for you.

You may also need to notify your insurer if you are threatened with any criminal action by a governmental, administrative or regulatory body.

Submit facts in writing.

Your insurer might request that you confirm the facts in writing within a certain timeframe (e.g. 30 days) with as much information as possible.

Be sure to include your policy number in these communications. Typically you can either email or post the information. If you opt to post the written facts, be sure to use some form of tracking and guaranteed delivery so that you can be sure the details arrived—in time.

Support the process.

Generally speaking, you must provide assistance to enable your insurer to settle or defend a claim.

In addition to providing all of the facts of the case, you'll need to allow the insurer or anyone they've authorised to access the premises. You must also give the insurer complete control of any proceedings and claim settlements.

Don't admit you're at fault.

It's very important that you don't admit you're liable for what has happened. Doing so could invalidate your insurance.

Don't make any offers.

Similarly, you must not make any offer, deal or payment—unless you have the prior written agreement of your insurer. If you do accept, negotiate, pay, settle, admit or reject any claim and it proves to be detrimental, your insurer may reduce the payment they make.

Public liability claim forms

We've gathered information on how to claim from a number of the UK's popular business insurance companies below.

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the 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.