The Fixer: public liability insurance

Is it important to have public liability insurance when opening a shop?

Updated: 
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Dear Fixer,
I have bought a shop that I have been renovating. It will hopefully be opening next month.

I will be selling locally crafted clothes, gifts and jewellery and will be running the shop alone. Do I need to take out public liability insurance or can I manage without it?

N Breslin, Hove

Dear Ms Breslin,

Public liability insurance protects you and your business should anyone make a claim against you for accidental damage to individuals or property either at your premises or as a result of your business activities.

Having a public liability policy in place is not a legal requirement, but taking out insurance of this kind is a sensible move in case a customer injures him or herself while in your shop, for example.

The legal costs and compensation payments arising from even a minor accident, such as a customer tripping and breaking his or her ankle, could run into tens of thousands of pounds.

If you do not have public liability insurance, one small incident could therefore be enough to force you out of business.

The Fixer

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