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Public liability insurance

Protect your business against third-party accidents and costly legal fees. Let us arrange the right cover for your needs.

What is public liability insurance?

Public liability cover is typically one of the most common types of insurance purchased by both large and small businesses. It is designed to help protect you and your business from legal claims made against you by customers, suppliers or members of the public when you’re liable for negligence. 

It can help cover accidents death or injuries, as well as loss or property damage that may arise from an incident connected to your activities. Policies can also extend to cover product liability, which helps protect your business from legal action due to faulty products.

Not everything is covered under a liability policy. Typical exclusions may include any excess you have in place and any acts of deliberate neglect, in which case your policy may be deemed void and you could be held personally liable for the financial burden of the claim.


What does public liability insurance cover?

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Choosing your cover level

You may need a specified limit of liability – such as $5 million – to operate your business. Check your existing contracts, compliance obligations or legislative requirements for minimum limits that may apply.

Limit of liability

We can arrange $5 million, $10 million or $20 million limits of liability to meet your requirements.

Let us arrange the right cover for your needs – so you can continue serving your clients with confidence.


If you need to make a claim, your policy’s excess sum is the amount of money you are liable to pay before the insurer then becomes liable for losses and legal costs.

Third party cover

Includes coverage for financial loss to a third party, damage to a third party’s property, and death of or personal injury to a third party.

Typical exclusions

Situations or events generally not covered by your liability cover. What isn’t covered varies from provider to provider. We can recommend bespoke cover for you.

Workplace injuries

These include injuries to your employees. Generally, workplace injuries are not covered under public liability insurance – these may be covered under workers compensation insurance.

Property damage

Damage to own property – such as cars, buildings, equipment or tools – is not covered. Generally, one’s own assets are covered under business package insurance.

Asbestos liabilities

Any claim caused by or connected to asbestos. Some special policies – like pollution liability insurance – might cover these liabilities, but they are generally only available to asbestos professionals.

Faulty workmanship

Generally, your workmanship errors that need fixing won’t be covered by public liability insurance. However, if the error causes third-party injury, it may be covered under your public liability policy.*

Professional advice

Public liability insurance excludes loss or damage as a direct result of any professional advice you may have given a client. This is covered under professional indemnity insurance.

Product recalls

Public liability insurance does not cover the recall, repair, replacement or loss of your products if they are withdrawn from the market because of any defect or deficiency.

Fines and penalties

Fines and penalties are not covered under your public liability insurance. However, claims for fines and penalties may be covered under statutory liability insurance.

Contractual liability

Public liability insurance generally does not cover any liability assumed by you under a contract regardless of fault. Contractual liability insurance may mitigate some contractual liability exposures.

Key product highlights

Financial cover

Accidentally injure a customer? Help keep your business safe and stay protected against financial losses and incurred legal costs.

Coverage across industries

From events and education to trades and travel. Wherever you work, we’ll help you stay protected and stay in business.

Why use a broker?

Choosing business insurance means navigating through products, coverages and policy terminology – with a sales pitch as your only guide. An experienced broker will spot your unique set of risks, match you to the right choice, and advocate for you on price.

Why Marsh?

Why should you choose Marsh to arrange your insurance solutions?

Trusted by 130 associations

We are proud to be the endorsed insurance broker for more than 130 Australian industry groups and member associations, developing insurance solutions that help meet the risk and insurance needs of businesses across a variety of industries.

Local expertise

Our Australia-wide network of brokers have spent years at the coalface supporting business owners manage their unique risks in a fast-changing market. They keep ahead of the latest market insights both local and global and break down the jargon into your language

Claims support

Handling an insurance claim can quickly become overwhelming, not least when your time is stretched to the limit keeping your business going in the backdrop. We help take the load off and manage, negotiate and settle claims with insurers on your behalf.

Stay protected

It’s vital your business is protected against legal costs if an incident were to occur – even if you are not at fault. From plumbers to market stall holders and from sole traders to contractors, we’ve got you covered. So you can get on with what you do best.

A world leading broker

As a world leading insurance broker, we’ll negotiate competitive coverage on your behalf. When you choose Marsh, you’re choosing comprehensive coverage, backed by extensive industry expertise. We’ll process your claims with insurers – so you can stay committed to your business.

Ongoing support

You’ll be paired with an experienced insurance broker to get to know your needs and circumstances – and answer all your questions. We’ll help manage, negotiate and settle claims with insurers on your behalf. So you’re free to focus on your business.

Related insurance solutions

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Professional indemnity

Protect your business against claims of misleading advice, breach of duty and negligence with professional indemnity cover.

Management liability cover

Protect your business – and your team – against management and operational risks with management liability cover.

Frequently asked questions

Insurers use a range of details to calculate your insurance premium. These include your:

  • Type of insurance
  • Level of cover 
  • Business turnover 
  • Industry 
  • Prior claims history.

All of this can differ depending on whether you’re a small business owner, or run a larger corporation.

Insurers may also factor in the number of claims they expect to receive in a year for a particular business type.

To keep your premium low, we leverage our strong market relationships to obtain quotes from multiple insurers on your behalf.

All businesses may be susceptible to public liability claims.

In certain regions, some professions – like plumbers or electricians – must have public liability insurance.

In other instances, suppliers, customers, landlords and other parties may require you to have a certain limit of liability before you can start work.

If customers visit your premises or if you interact with members of the public, we recommend that your business is covered by public liability insurance.

A certificate of currency is proof that you hold a current insurance policy.

Please contact us once you have paid for your policy and we will provide you with your certificate of currency.

What isn’t covered by public liability insurance varies from provider to provider. Typical exclusions can be:

  • Injuries to your employees (this is covered under workers compensation insurance) 

  • Damage to your property 

  • Asbestos-related liabilities 

  • Faulty workmanship 

  • Professional advice 

  • Product recalls 

  • Fines and penalties 

  • Contractual liability.

For full details on what is and isn’t covered, refer to the product disclosure statement (PDS).

If you have any questions about your policy, please get in touch.

Some businesses are required by their state authority to obtain public liability insurance before completing any work.

While it is not legally required for all companies, we recommend sole traders, contractors and other businesses consider obtaining public liability insurance.

Whether you work on multiple job sites, at a company office or in public areas, public liability insurance can cover your business wherever it conducts business activities.

In the trades industry, a subcontractor completing hired work may be covered by their client’s public liability insurance. However, if a subcontractor is negligent and leaves their tools out and injures a third party, then this claim may need to be made under the subcontractor’s policy.

We recommend contractors consider obtaining public liability insurance before performing work for another business.

  • Limit of liability: This is the maximum amount an insured party may receive during the period of insurance, subject to any sub-limits, which may also apply. Policy options typically offer limits of liability ranging from $5 million to $20 million.

  • Excess: This is the amount you will need to pay to make a claim on your insurance policy before the insurer then becomes liable.

  • Inclusions: These are the situations or events covered by your insurance policy.

  • Exclusions: These are the situations or events not covered by your insurance policy.

Here are two examples from a variety of claims that could occur:

  1. During an AFL game, a player injures their knee after tripping on a pothole in the field. They sue the club for failing to provide a duty of care to the participants and their playing conditions.
  2. After the game, a club member who is having a drink at the club house, falls when the bar stool they are sitting on collapses from underneath them. They suffer personal injury and sue the club for negligence.

To hear more about claims that could pertain to your business or industry, talk to one of our business brokers.

Both public and product liability differ to professional indemnity, another common category of insurance, which can help protect your business from legal action due to negligent advice

Public liability covers you in the event of injuries, damages or loss caused in your workplace or services you provide, whereas professional indemnity focuses on the advice you provide, which can happen even after you have completed the work.

Although different, both are equally important to consider if you provide professional advice or services in a specialist or consulting capacity, regardless of the size of your business, or location.

* Generally, your workmanship errors that need fixing won’t be automatically covered by public liability insurance. However, if the error causes third-party injury, it may be covered under your public liability policy. Talk to us about policy solutions that can extend to include this cover.

LCPA 23/099

This is a general overview of the policy. Please call us and ask for a copy of the insurer’s policy wording. We recommend you read the policy wording, so you have an understanding of the policy terms, conditions and exclusions before you decide whether this policy suits your needs.

Marsh Advantage Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 31 081 358 303, AFSL 238369) (“Marsh”) arranges the general insurance (i.e. not the Discretionary Trust Arrangement) and is not the insurer. This page contains general information and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. For full details of the terms, conditions and limitations of the covers, refer to the specific policy wordings and/or Product Disclosure Statements available from Marsh on request. Marsh makes no representation or warranty concerning the application of policy wordings or the financial condition or solvency of insurers or re-insurers. Marsh makes no assurances regarding the availability, cost, or terms of insurance coverage. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting, or legal matters are based solely on our experience as insurance brokers and risk consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax, or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. The Discretionary Trust Arrangement is issued by the Trustee, JLT Group Services Pty Ltd (ABN 26 004 485 214, AFSL 417964) (“JGS”). Any advice or dealing in relation to the Discretionary Trust Arrangement is provided by JLT Risk Solutions Pty Ltd (ABN 69 009 098 864, AFSL 226 827) (“JLT”). JGS and JLT are businesses of Marsh McLennan. The cover provided by the Discretionary Trust Arrangement is subject to the Trustee’s discretion and/or the relevant policy terms, conditions and exclusions.