Despite public liability not being compulsory, it is particularly important that your hirers know both you and they are protected by a liability policy, should the unexpected happen. Your comprehensive self-drive hire policy will cover you for property and injury claims whilst your vehicle is being used on a public highway (e.g. as a result of a road traffic accident). However, when it’s parked up there is no cover, which leaves you potentially exposed. Where the RTA Road Traffic Act cover does not apply (e.g on private land) and an incident occurs, public liability insurance becomes important. With the costs of personal injury compensation running into tens of thousands of pounds, or in the rare case a death occurs, you could be liable for a costly compensation claim, therefore it is vital to consider public liability insurance.
Public liability is a type of insurance for businesses of all sizes that provides cover for the compensation costs and legal fees you are required to pay if a member of the public claim they have been harmed, or their property has been damaged, because of your business activities. This could be from a customer, passer-by or other third party. It is a policy designed to protect you, so if a claim becomes a legal matter the cost of expenses, including any compensation you are required to pay, are covered; be it for a minor incident or an expensive accident that could cripple your business.
The following examples demonstrate when public liability insurance could be useful to a self-drive hire operator (assuming the claimant can prove you’ve been negligent):
- Where the RTA Road Traffic Act cover does not apply (e.g on private land) and an incident occurs, you need public liability insurance.
- During the handover of your vehicle, a hirer could slip and fall on an uneven or wet floor whilst collecting the vehicle causing them injury.
- Whilst carrying out the driver checks at your premises you accidently spill coffee on their expensive laptop.
- Whilst out on hire, a hirer injures themselves on a broken cupboard door which you hadn’t got round to repairing.
- Whilst using the onboard facilities, a hirer injures themselves whilst following your instructions on how to use the vehicle or you did not provide any instructions which lead to injury
It is important to note that public liability insurance will not cover you for claims arising out of repair, servicing, or maintenance of a vehicle as this would fall under Motor Trade activity so please ensure you use an approved repairer with adequate cover in place.
At Alan Boswell Group we offer a self-drive hire specific public liability policy which provides a £5 million limit of indemnity which is the required cover should you attend trade shows or events.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning another type of liability insurance you might need. If you have employees, it’s a statutory requirement to have employers’ liability insurance.
To discuss taking out a public liability policy, contact our self-drive hire team on 01603 649744 or by email.