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Understanding employers' liability insurance

As an employer, you are responsible for the health and safety of your employees while they are at work. This includes making sure you have the right insurance in place should anything go wrong.

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What is employers' liability insurance?

Employers' liability insurance covers you in the event that one of your employees is injured or becomes ill due to the work they do for you and decides to make a claim against you. For example, if an employee receives insufficient training and injures themselves whilst using a piece of machinery, they could file a claim against you.

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Do I need employers' liability insurance?

The Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 makes it compulsory for anyone who has one or more employees to have employers' liability insurance. You can download a full guide to this Act here. At Direct Line for Business, we’ll insure you for £10 million, as standard, so you know you’re always covered.

If you don’t hold valid employers' liability insurance you could be fined up to £2,500 for each day you go uninsured. You can find more information about this on gov.uk

There are a few exceptions to this rule. You don’t need employers’ liability insurance if:

You run a family business

You do not need employers’ liability insurance if all your employees are related to you and the business is not a limited company. A relative is defined as any of the following: husband, wife, civil partner, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister.

If you run a Limited Company and you are the only employee, you do not need employers’ liability cover. However, if you employ any family members you will need employers’ liability cover.

You only employ independent (self-employed) contractors

A contractor cannot be your employee if they work for themselves. It is important to make sure that any contractor you take on for a project fulfils HMRC’s strict guidelines as to what self-employment actually means. If HMRC decides your contractor is actually your employee then you must have employers' liability in place or you could face fines. You can find more about how HMRC defines a self-employed contractor here.

What does employers' liability insurance cover?

Your employers’ liability insurance would cover your legal fees and costs if an employee made a claim against you. It could also cover the employee’s medical expenses.

Some examples of situations employers’ liability insurance would cover include:

  • Your receptionist getting RSI in their hand and being unable to use a computer
  • One of your sales assistants tripping on some improperly stored stock
  • One of your employees, who has worked with extremely noisy machinery for years, realising that they have lost their hearing because of this

Can I get employers’ liability insurance at Direct Line for Business?

Yes. You can include employers’ liability cover within your business insurance policy. We put you in charge of what goes into your policy and what stays out. So, whether you’re a hairdresser, an accountant, a retailer or an estate agent, you can create an insurance policy that suits your business’s needs.

Using our simple online tool you can add the different types of cover you require to your policy. If you choose to include public liability cover in your policy, you will then be given the option to add employers’ liability insurance as well.

How much does liability insurance cost?

You can apply for any of our business insurance products quickly and easily online. When you apply for a quote you will be asked certain questions about yourself and your business. We will then use this information to work out your premium.

With employers' liability insurance, we may consider the type of business you have, the number of employees, your liability claims record and your health and safety record. You can find more details in our policy documents. If you want to discuss it further then just choose one of the options below:

Do I need to tell employees about this insurance?

When you take out or renew a policy you will receive a employers' liability certificate. This will state the minimum level of cover provided and the companies covered by the policy. This certificate must be made accessible to your employees and available to be checked by Health and Safety Executive Inspectors, otherwise you face being fined up to £1,000.

What is the difference between public liability and employers' liability insurance?

Public liability covers you if anyone - a member of the public or a client, for example - should hurt themselves or become ill because of your business activities. Employers' liability covers you for the same reasons but focuses entirely on your employees.

Another essential difference is that employers' liability is required by law but public liability is optional.

You can read more about public liability insurance here.

Do you need employers' liability insurance for a limited company?

It depends. If you are the only director of your limited company, you own over 50% of the company’s share and you do not employ anyone else, then you do not need to take out a policy. However, you will need employers’ liability if you hire family members. Furthermore, you may find that some clients require you to have an employer’s liability policy in place before they’ll work with you. It’s up to you to judge the needs of your business.

Do you need employers' liability insurance for volunteers?

If you already have employers' liability insurance then you won’t need to inform us if you take on a volunteer - they’ll be covered under the terms of an existing policy. However, if you don’t employ anyone but still have volunteer workers, then it is a good idea to take out employers' liability. You still have a duty of care towards the people that work for you, even if their labour is unpaid. A volunteer can also still pursue legal action against you in the event of an accident and it’s best not to leave yourself open to risk.

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or call us on 0345 301 4827

Existing customers?

For existing customers, we are required to supply your employers’ liability insurance policy details to the Employers' Liability Tracing Office (ELTO). Read more about ELTO here:

Read more

How can we help?

Get a business insurance quote by searching for your profession above or calling us on 0345 301 4827.

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