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Public Liability Insurance Australia

Posted: 30 April 2013

When it comes to business insurance in Australia, there is no form of cover more popular than public liability.

As more and more people turn to the courts to seek damages against companies when they believe they have suffered a loss, it has become even more important for businesses to protect themselves.

Thankfully here in Australia there is a very competitive market when it comes to public liability insurance, and this means that the premiums are very affordable for most business types.

In this guide we'll take a closer look at public liability cover for Australian businesses.

What is Covered?

There are two main risks that Australian business can protect themselves against with public liability:

  • The risk of causing damage to another person's property
  • The risk of causing injury or death to another person

These are both very serious risks, and the Australian legal system does allow people who have suffered such losses to sue the businesses responsible through the courts.

Prominent Australian law firm Slater & Gordon have put together this list of public liability claims they have fought for, and it is well worth reading for any business owner who doesn't believe they're at risk.

For more information on what is covered please visit our 'what is public liability' guide.

Australian Insurance Providers

As mentioned earlier, here in Australia we have a very strong public liability insurance market. This equates to better coverage and more affordable premiums for most business types.

Some of the largest providers of this form of business insurance include the following:

Of the insurers listed above, Calliden, CGU, QBE and Vero are all Australian owned and operated.

Allianz and Zurich are overseas companies (German and Swiss respectively) however they have both enjoyed a strong presence in Australia over many years and insure many local businesses.

As well as the insurance companies themselves, there are also an even larger number of underwriters providing cover throughout Australia.

The underwriting agencies generally specialise in areas where the mainstream insurers listed above do not. Often this involves business in high risk industries such as mining, aviation and many others.

For more information on some of the mainstream insurers please visit our Australian insurance providers guide.

Is it Compulsory in Australia?

There is some confusion out there whether or not public liability insurance is compulsory for business in Australia.

The short answer is no, however there are some business types that will have their own set of rules.

Many trades have mandatory public liability requirements, particularly those that must operate under a state government issued licence such as an electrical or plumbing contractor.

Some businesses may have also mandatory requirements set by their industry association or their landlord for example.

Generally these requirements are set in individual contracts rather than being required by any particular law.

Differences Between States

Generally speaking there are no differences between the public liability cover and requirements in the various states and territories of Australia.

There are some minor exceptions however, such as Qld electricians who require a special form of public liability insurance which includes consumer protection cover.

Plumbers in Victoria also have unique public liability requirements, as their policies must include a special extension for plumbers warranty cover.

Levels of Cover

In Australia the minimum about of public liability insurance available is $5 million. There is no set maximum limit, however for most standard business types the maximum will be $20 million.

Most insurers offer four main levels of cover as follows:

  • $5 million
  • $10 million
  • $15 million
  • $20 million

For more information about how much cover your business requires please refer to our 'how much is enough' guide.

More Information

Public liability is one of the most important forms of insurance than any business in Australia can have, and with the affordable cost for most business types there is really no excuse for not being covered.

It's important to remember that public liability on its own won't cover your business for every risk that it will face, but it can be packaged with a range of other covers to ensure you and your business are properly protected.

For more information about public liability insurance in Australia please speak with you insurance broker. If you do not already have one please contact us on 1300 LIABILITY (1300 542 245) and we will assist you.

You can also request a quote on your cover by completing our online quote request form.

 

Shane Moore

About the author:
After spending over a decade working for some of Australia's largest insurance companies, now runs his own small business and provides expert commentary on small business insurance.

 
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