18 Jun 2024
Public liability, product liability, and professional indemnity insurance – what does your small business need?
Article

Public liability, product liability, and professional indemnity insurance – what does your small business need?

  • Public liability, product liability and professional liability insurance can be important for small businesses
  • The cover you need will depend on your business type
  • Identify the risks you face – and how to protect your business

When you run a small business, an unexpected cost can have a major impact – which is why it’s important to have insurance.

Public liability, product liability and professional liability insurance are all suitable for different businesses for different reasons – so what does your small business need?

Here’s an overview.

What is public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance covers you for claims from third parties who’ve been injured because of your business, and for claims from third parties whose property has been damaged because of your business.

Examples of public liability claims

If a customer slips and injures themselves while on your premises, public liability insurance could cover you for subsequent claims. These could include medical bills, compensation bills or legal fees.

Or let’s say a builder working in someone’s house caused damage to the property. Public liability insurance could cover the costs of repairs, as well as legal fees.

Is public liability insurance the same as business liability insurance?

Yes, some insurers – including QBE – refer to public liability insurance as business liability insurance.

QBE’s Small Business Insurance automatically comes with business liability as your base, and also includes product liability insurance.

Who needs public liability insurance?

Any business that deals directly with the public – or works in third-party premises – might want to consider public liability insurance.

Cafés, restaurants, bars, retail stores, gyms, builders and tradies are among the businesses and occupations that may need public liability insurance. It protects you if someone is injured as a result of your business operations, which is not caused by your products.1

What is product liability insurance?

Female cafe worker serving customer

Product liability insurance covers you for injury or property damage caused by the use or consumption of products.

Examples of product liability insurance

Perhaps a toy shop sells a product that’s a choking hazard for children. Product liability could cover legal fees and claims if a child was injured.

Or a bakery sells contaminated pastries and customers become sick. Product liability insurance could protect you against associated claims.

Who needs product liability insurance?

Any business that makes, sells, distributes, repairs, services or treats physical products a customer has taken possession of. This can include retailers, café owners and manufacturers, which should have product liability cover.

What is professional liability insurance?

Professional liability insurance is liability cover for professionals who offer their services or advice. It covers claims for any alleged negligence, mistake or breach of duty that arises from providing those services. It can cover the cost of claims, as well as legal expenses.

Examples of professional liability claims

Examples of professional liability claims include claims against a financial adviser for providing advice that resulted in a financial loss. Or an architect that makes structural errors in a building design that leads to construction defects.

Is professional liability insurance the same as professional indemnity insurance?

Yes, some insurers refer to professional liability insurance as professional indemnity insurance.

Who needs professional indemnity insurance?

Professional services businesses such as accountants and consultants need professional indemnity insurance to cover them against any claims that arise from the services they provide.

Does QBE offer professional liability insurance?

QBE’s professional liability insurance is only available through our broker network. Check out our guide to finding a broker if you don’t have one.

You can also find an insurer through the Insurance Council of Australia.

Find out more about QBE Small Business Insurance

To decide if the product is right for you, please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD).


1 Small Business Insurance | QBE AU

This content is brought to you by QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239545) (QBE) as a convenience to readers and is not intended to constitute advice (professional or otherwise) or recommendations upon which a reader may rely. QBE makes no warranty or guarantee about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the content. Readers relying on any content do so at their own risk. It is the responsibility of the reader to evaluate the quality and accuracy of the content. Reference in this content (if any) to any specific product, process, or service, and links from this content to third party websites, do not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by QBE and shall not be used for advertising or service/product endorsement purposes.

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