How does a public liability insurance cover work


Public liability insurance provides an indemnity/compensation to the insured for legal liability to third parties for damages in respect of accidental bodily injury, death, disease or illness, and for any loss of or damage to property, which happens in connection with the business insured under the insurance and occurs during the period of insurance.

Legal liability can arise in many ways. The most common is due to the insured’s negligence, but nuisance, trespass and liability under statute are also covered.

The injury or damage sustained must be accidental and that insurance is only intended to isnure unexpected events. If the word accidental is not used when specifying the policy cover, there is usually an exclusion for injury or damage which results from a deliberate act or omission of the insured.

The injury or damage must have been caused in connection with the trade or business stated in the policy wording. However, it is usual to extend cover to include any ancillary activities of the insured; for example, first-aid facilities, canteens, private fire brigade and ambulance services and any private work carried out for any director, partner or employee of the company.

In addition, insurance is included for:

  • The claimant’s costs and expenses associated with a claim
  • Any insured’s legal costs. Even if the business was not the cause of alleged injury or damage, the costs and expenses incurred in taking legal advice and defending an action in court can be substantial.
  • Any legal costs and expenses in defending prosecutions under relevant legislation (such as Health and Safety legislation, the Consumer Protection Act and the Food Safety Act)

Other features of public liability Insurance are:

  • This insurance is subject to a limit of indemnity. This is usually Kshs. 2 million any one occurrence, although the insured may select a higher limit of indemnity if required
  • Financial losses flowing directly from accidents resulting in injury to persons or damage to their property are covered. For example, if a poorly maintained sign falls off a shop front, damaging a customer’s car, the insured’s public liability policy will cover the cost of repairs to the vehicle. If the customer has to hire another car whilst their own is being repaired, the insured’s public liability policy will also cover the hire costs
  • Insurance is included for loss or damage to premises rented or hired by the insured
  • Insurance is included for legal liability for defects in premises that have previously been owned or occupied by the insured, as long as the insurance remains in force.

Providers of public liability insurance in Kenya

There are very few separate Public Liability policies issued in kenya.

It is more common to issue combined liability policies which include employers’, public and products liabilities within one policy document.

Most composite insurers, as well as a number of specialist insurers offer employers’, public and products liability cover.

Cover is often arranged through an insurance intermediary, although small businesses can purchase cover by telephone or on line as part of a commercial package policy.

Rating factors for a public liability insurance

Public liability policies are usually rated on the turnover of the business and are adjustable in the same way as for employers’ liability insurances.

A flat premium may be used where the risk relates only to activities at the premises.


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