In the same way that travel insurance covers you if you fall ill or have an accident abroad and motor insurance covers injury and damage at least to a third party, a Public Liability Insurance (PLI) policy protects you and your business if you are being sued by a third party.
As a service provider, you are a business and need to consider yourself as such for the purpose of PLI.
It is not a legal
requirement for some businesses, however it should be considered essential if members of the public will be interacting with your business in any way
- from customers receiving deliveries to clients visiting your office or work premises. This means that even home-based businesses should consider public liability insurance if their home office is also used as a meeting place.
Generally speaking, a public liability insurance policy covers you if someone is injured in some way by your business, or if you damage third party property when carrying out work. Bear in mind that even a minor scratch to personal property could lead to hefty fines, especially as you could be required to pay legal fees if the case goes to court, and these too would be covered by your policy.
The amount of cover that your business will require in this area largely depends on the level of risk that it undertakes on a daily basis. Equity and BECTU both set their level for members at £10million either as part of their subscription (Equity) or at a discount (BECTU).
Student membership of Equity offers reduced cover of up to £2million and whilst BECTU don't actually offer "student membership" as such, they do offer a "new entrant" discount that includes the full membership discount for PLI.https://www.bectu.org.uk/benefits-services/plihttp://www.equity.org.uk/about-us/join-us/benefits/
If working on a government or local authority contract (eg Royal Parks) you will usually find that they stipulate a minimum level of cover in this area and it's common for this to be between £5 -£10million.
The NUS do not appear to offer any advise for their members, but have, on occasion, been advised that they need to cover themselves for rallies and demonstrations.
Other policies are available if you are not a union member. As with any purchase, shop around; there are plenty out there. Which one is right for you?http://www.moneysupermarket.com/c/business-insurance/public-liability/
OUR ADVICEAs a student
, we strongly advise that you take out PLI if you accept work, a placement or an internship for which the college does not provide any cover; this might include work you take during the holidays or work for which you have been given a leave of absence. If you, the college and the placement host have each signed the tri-partite agreement, you can presume that you are covered.