Running any business that engages with the public carries risk, and as the owner of a holiday let, it’s down to you to keep guests as safe as possible. But if something goes wrong and you’re held responsible, public liability insurance can protect you from financial loss. In this guide, we explore what public liability covers and what to consider when choosing a policy for your holiday let.
- What is public liability insurance?
- Is public liability insurance a legal requirement?
- How much public liability insurance do I need for a holiday let?
- How much does public liability insurance cost?
- What are the benefits of public liability insurance?
- How can I reduce risks in my holiday home?
Public liability insurance covers your costs if a member of the public takes you to court because they blame your business for:
- Personal injury or illness
- Damage to their property
Why is it important for holiday lets?
Any business that deals with members of the public should consider public liability insurance. Even if you’ve completed a risk assessment and taken precautions, accidents can happen.
If a guest has an accident, is injured or becomes ill because of your negligence, they could make a claim against you. If this happened, your public liability insurance would cover court costs and compensation – saving you from significant financial loss.
Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement for operating a holiday let. However, you could face considerable costs if you don’t have cover and a guest takes you to court.
It’s also worth knowing that if you market your property through a holiday letting agency or online platform, you may be expected to have a minimum level of cover and show proof of insurance.
Levels of public liability insurance vary, and you’ll typically be able to choose an amount ranging from £1 million up to £10 million. The amount you need will depend on the level of potential risk to guests. For example, large holiday homes that sleep lots of guests or properties with pools, hot tubs, or open fires might need a higher level of cover.
The cost will depend on the level of cover you need and the risk of a claim. The greater the risks, the higher level of cover you may need, which will be reflected in the premium you will need to pay.
When you purchase public liability insurance, think about the level of cover you need first rather than the cost. If the level you choose is too low, you could be held responsible for additional costs and expenses, which could cost you more in the long run if a claim is made against you.
Public liability insurance might not be a legal requirement, but it’s a valuable safety net for any public-facing business.
A policy can provide peace of mind, knowing that you’re financially protected if someone blames you for injury, illness, or damage to property.
Accidents have a habit of happening when least expected, but you can lower risks by taking a few precautions; here are some tips.
Put up warning signs
Make it clear if your holiday let has uneven floors, steep stairs, low beams, or ceilings. Similarly, if there’s any water nearby, for example, streams or rivers, this should be highlighted too.
Include safety devices
If you’re welcoming guests with small children or older adults, consider adding stair gates and handrails. If you can, fence off water (and remind guests of the risks for young children). If your holiday let is by a main road, check gates are secure or post warnings to remind guests to be vigilant, particularly if they have children or dogs.
Ensure safety checks are up to date
As the landlord of a holiday let, you’ll have certain legal obligations. This includes arranging gas safety checks annually, ensuring electrical appliances are fitted by a qualified NICEIC electrician, and having the electrics checked at least once every five years by a qualified electrician.
Carry out your own checks
It’s worth carrying out regular checks yourself rather than relying on guest feedback. Walk through the property looking for damage or any potential trip hazards. Similarly, check electrical fixtures and fitting cables for fraying and replace any items if needed.
What happens if you don’t have public liability insurance?
If you don’t have public liability insurance and you’re taken to court, you’ll be responsible for covering all your costs plus any compensation awarded to the complainant. Remember, legal fees alone can spiral into the tens of thousands.
Does public liability insurance cover malicious damage?
No. Malicious damage is typically covered by buildings or contents insurance, but bear in mind that policies will vary by insurer, so it’s important to check what’s covered under the terms of your policy.
Does public liability insurance cover damage by pets?
No, this is normally an optional add-on to a buildings or contents policy. If you allow pets in your holiday home, it’s worth looking into what cover can be provided.
Can I get public liability insurance for my Airbnb?
Yes, you can buy public liability insurance if you rent out your home on Airbnb. Depending on how frequently you intend to let through Airbnb, you can either purchase a separate short-term policy, an annual one or include it in your holiday let insurance.
How to arrange public liability insurance
Public liability isn’t a one size fits all type of insurance product. It’s important that your policy reflects the risks unique to your business and holiday let.
At Alan Boswell Group, we’ll work with you to understand your let in order to create a policy that suits you. For advice and to see how we can help, speak to an expert on 01603 218000.