GET Advice – Public Liability Insurance

There’s been a lot of discussion about Public Liability Insurance since we launched our applications process for our Glasgow EtsyMadeLocal Market.  There’s been confusion of what it is, why you need it and where to get it, let alone how much it costs. We’ve put together this quick guide designed to help you understand why you need it, and why it’s particularly important if you are selling face to face.

There’s a few different insurances you may need when selling :

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Product Liability Insurance, as well as
  • Studio Insurance or Business Insurance

We’re mentioning this early as you may find when you are looking that some policies offer one, both or even all three, which can affect cost. Each are slightly different so make sure you read all policies and schedules carefully to make sure you’re getting what you need. If in doubt, phone the insurance company, or email them. Trust me, they don’t bite and are a mine of useful information and are not scary at all!

So let’s get started…

Public Liability Insurance (or PLI for short) covers you for any dealings with people/third parties as part of your business, and for a craftsperson or supply/vintage seller that usually means when you are at a market, hosting selling parties or inviting customers to your home to see your goods. It covers you if a member of the public has an accident when they are dealing with you – for example: if your display fell on them, or they tripped on a tablecloth from your stall, or ripped their precious and very expensive designer handbag on a stray nail on your display and made a claim against you. It also should cover you for damage to property; imagine if a gallery wall was badly damaged hammering in a nail while hanging a print, or your stall lights accidentally caught fire….).  It typically covers you for personal injuries, loss of or damage to property and death of the claimant and gives you reassurance that should anything like this arises, you are covered, rather than covering costs yourself. We live in a ‘claims culture’ and seeing the countless ads everywhere for injury lawyers alone should convince you that fully covering yourself will give you piece of mind!

We also mentioned Product Liability insurance… In a nutshell, Product Liability cover protects you if your product causes injury or damage to a person or their property. It provides cover if a compensation claim was made against you. So Product is to protect your product, and Public protects….you guessed it – the public!

Additionally, whilst you’re looking at these insurances, it’s also worth looking at your business insurance as a whole- Is your equipment and stock covered in case of loss or damage out with your control? If you work from home, don’t assume it’s covered by your home insurance as in most cases it’s not – so ask and make sure that your insurer is aware you run your business at home. Not letting them know can invalidate your home insurance policy and you wouldn’t want to find that nothing was covered if you were in the midst of a crisis.

There are few different options you can consider in this case: opting not to get anything covered; asking for provision for it under your home policy, or insuring it separately with a different insurer (It may be more cost-effective to use an insurer that understands your business and the specialist equipment you need). Either way, think carefully about how your business would survive if everything you work with was gone tomorrow.

Where to get Public Liability Insurance:

This is by no means a fully comprehensive list, but is a list of the names we regularly see pop up anytime Public Liability Insurance is mentioned on any of the forums, and in the craft community as a whole. Remember- what suits your needs may be different from someone else so make sure you read the policy documents carefully. And- please be aware that not all will cover you for sales to US and Canada. There may be limits so again check carefully!

Lastly , we are not giving advice or recommendations, we’re not financially trained to give you proper informed advice. We’re simply giving you a list to begin your search!

Insurance only options:

Ian Wallace:  ( You need to be a member of craft central to join – more details:

GM Imber:

Organisations that offer PLI as part of their membership:

These are worth considering as they offer PLI as part of their membership packages- so you get the benefits of membership/discounts as well as your insurance. It also means they are cheaper as the insurance is purchased as a group to cover all members rather than as individuals. Some give you the chance to mould the policy to your needs rather than the standard group policy. Scottish Artist Union membership includes Public Liability cover Guild of Jewellery Designers Artist Network – Popular opinion seems to be that it’s one of the cheapest – if you fit the criteria.

*Prices correct at time of press, July 2016

How much will it cost?

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about and a lot of different things that may affect your needs. It’s really difficult to give a ballpark on cost, however- what we’d say is perhaps start with the membership groups (there may be more than we’ve listed so get googling!) as they will be cheapest, but shop around and get what fits YOU best. At present, Scottish Artist Union’s membership at £35* and A-n’s at £36* are the ones that most people say are great value, especially as the benefits of membership to both organisations is more than just insurance. And some of the insurance companies offer monthly payments which might suit you better too. And lastly, as a comparison, the cheapest policy works out cheaper than listing one item a day on Etsy for the full year. That’s got to be worth giving your business the insurance it needs.

Where to get more Info:

Etsy Forum post with most Comprehensive information:

Our teams forum:

We hope you’ve found this useful. If you’ve anything to add to the discussion please feel free to add a comment, or shimmy over to Etsy and join our team discussion on the topic here !

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and does not constitute advice in any form. Please speak to your chosen insurer for full details on what their policy covers.  Please note that scenarios used are examples of risk  and should not be used as the basis of insurance- in other words, check your policy covers the risks you are concerned about as all policies are different!





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