It's not a legal requirement to take out public liability insurance but many business owners see it as an essential business expense, and it's required by many trade associations.
In many cases, you may find that you're asked to show proof of public liability before you're permitted to trade. Tradespeople will often need to show proof of cover before they're allowed to set foot on a client's premises and start work. Similarly, if you're a retailer selling products at a craft fair, you may be asked to show your policy documents before you're allowed to set up a stall.
Even a quick meeting in a coffee shop holds liability risks. If you're a freelance journalist, for example, and you knock hot chocolate over your interviewee's laptop, you could be liable for the cost of replacing it and their loss of income while they're waiting for it to be repaired.
There are also risks if you work from home. For example, if a delivery person falls down your staircase because the damaged handrail comes off in their hands, and they suffer an injury, they could make a claim against you.