Public Liability Insurance for Market Traders

Why it's Important to Insure Your Business if You’re a Market Trader

Insurance cover is a vital consideration for any business, no matter what industry you’re in and no matter how big or small your operation may be. However, all professions have their own unique risks and if you’re a market trader you know the risks that are particular to your industry.

People who operate stalls at markets, festivals, concerts and special events need liability cover in place to protect their assets and financial future. These types of events are typically busy places and accidents can happen at any time such as a customer falling over and injuring themselves.

While you may think it is unlikely an accident will occur, accidents happen and you don’t want to find yourself on the receiving end of costly legal action. Liability cover ensures that you will have the financial capability to manage your legal defence and also take care of any compensation you are required to pay.

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What is the Difference between Public and Products Liability?

When looking for insurance cover for your business, chances are you’ll come across two different types of policies: public liability insurance and products liability insurance. While these types of insurance are quite similar to one another, there are some key differences you should be aware of.

Public Liability: As touched on above, public liability insurance provides cover if a negligent act results in a third party suffering a personal injury or property damage. If that third party decides to launch legal action against you, your public liability insurance policy will provide cover for legal costs, fees and expenses that may result.

Products Liability Insurance: Is designed to offer a different kind of protection. Under Australian consumer law, retailers and distributors of products have a duty of care to their customers. For example, if you sell a product that has been poorly designed, has various defects or improperly labelled, it could cause harm to one of your customers.

As a result of this, that customer could then choose to launch legal action against you to seek damages. Products liability insurance protects you against this risk, providing cover for any claims relating to third-party injury or property damage.

Depending on the type of business you run, one or both of these forms of cover might be necessary for you.

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How can Market Traders Benefit from Public Liability Insurance?

There are a range of reasons why public liability insurance cover can be vitally important to market traders. In fact, for many market and festival organisers, having this type of insurance in place is a mandatory requirement for stallholders.

No matter where you run your market stall, be it at a concert, market, event, festival or community fair, there’s always a chance that something could go wrong. These type of events are often busy and even quite crowded, with members of the general public wandering in all directions as they browse. Accidents can happen at any time, especially with so many people around, and if someone suffers an injury or property damage as a result of your negligence you could find yourself facing legal damages.

Without public liability insurance cover in place, would you be able to afford your legal defence? If you were required to pay compensation, would you be able to survive financially? Public liability cover offers vital financial protection for your assets, ensuring that you will be looked after if something goes wrong.

Taking out a public liability insurance policy means you can simply concentrate on running your stall, safe in the knowledge that unforeseen events won’t spell disaster for your business.

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What is Covered under a Public Liability Insurance Policy?

Public liability insurance offers a range of important cover features to market traders. Though cover can differ from one insurance provider to the next, benefits of these types of policies typically include some common features.

If you are found to be legally liable for personal injury or property damage suffered by a third party, your policy will provide cover up to an agreed-upon limit. Typical indemnity limits on policies include $5 million, $10 million or $20 million.

Under this type of cover, the definition of personal injury covers a range of incidents, events and conditions. This includes:

  • Death or bodily injury
  • Sickness or disease
  • Mental anguish
  • Shock and fright
  • False arrest
  • Wrongful detention or imprisonment
  • Assault or battery
  • Libel, slander or defamation
  • Wrongful eviction
  • Invasion of privacy

In terms of property damage to a third party, public liability policies provide cover for the physical loss or destruction of tangible property. It also covers the loss of use of other tangible property, even if it hasn’t actually been damaged, but if it can’t be used because of damage to other property.

Many insurance providers will also offer both public liability and products liability cover under the umbrella of one policy.

Find out more about Public Liability Insurance in Australia

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What are some Public Liability Exclusions Facing Market Traders?

Just like with any other type of insurance policy, a number of exclusions apply to public liability cover. These may differ from one insurance provider to the next, but cover will generally not be provided for:

  • Fines and penalties that are punitive or exemplary
  • Any loss, damage or liability resulting from acts of war, terrorism, rebellion, revolution or insurrection
  • Anything to do with radioactive contamination or nuclear material
  • Any liability you assume under a contract that would otherwise not have applied
  • Situations where you have waived your rights to recourse without the underwriter’s prior consent
  • Liability related to the possession or use of a motor vehicle or trailer
  • Liability relating to the use of aircraft or watercraft
  • Liability for damage to property you own or are leasing
  • Any deliberate acts of disregard by you or your employees
  • Liability for injury to any of your contracted employees
  • Where your policy includes products liability, your insurer may refuse to pay any claims relating to the sale of things like toys, electronics, medicine or beauty products.
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How Much Does Market Traders Public Liability Insurance Cost?

When shopping around for public liability insurance, it pays to compare multiple quotes. However, keep in mind that there are a number of factors that can influence how much your insurance will cost. These include:

  • The size of your stall/business
  • What products you sell
  • Where and when you operate your stall
  • Your business turnover
  • How much coverage you take out.

If you regularly run stalls in high-risk locations, you can obviously expect to pay more for cover. In order to work out exactly how much cover your business needs, you’ll need to take the time to consider the risks you face on a regular basis and what the consequences would be if those risks were to become reality.

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Public Liability Insurance for Market Traders FAQs

Q. Do I really need public liability cover?

  • A. Yes. Operating a market stall at a busy festival, event, fair or concert exposes you to a wide range of potential risks. Taking out this type of cover will give you and your business essential financial protection. In fact, many festival and event operators make it mandatory for stallholders to have public liability insurance.

Q. How much cover do I need?

  • A. It’s impossible to provide an answer to this question without knowing more about your business. How big is your stall? Where and when do you operate? What products do you sell and what is your turnover? Answering these questions will help you understand your business’ insurance needs.

Q. How do I compare public liability policies?

  • A. Obtain quotes from a number of insurance providers to get an idea of how much each policy will cost. Use’s comparison tools to weigh up the pros and cons of competing policies, and read policy documents closely to familiarise yourself with the benefits, limits and exclusions of each policy. An insurance broker can help if you need further assistance.

Public liability cover is something you must consider if you run a market stall. Compare a range of policies, seek multiple quotes and obtain expert advice to ensure you end up with the right public liability policy for your needs.

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4 Responses to Public Liability Insurance for Market Traders

  1. Default Gravatar
    Susan | July 29, 2015

    Hi We are planning a market and are having trouble with people regarding insurance, do people who run charity stalls need insurance? or people who only make a small profit eg. senior person selling knitted items? This is turning people off participating.



    • Staff
      Richard | July 29, 2015

      Hi Susan,

      Thanks for your question. is a comparison service and we are not permitted to provide our users with personalised financial advice. Yes, if you’re running a market you’ll generally need to have stall insurance. If you would like to speak with a broker about the best options for you, please enter your details into the contact form above.

      I hope this was helpful,

  2. Default Gravatar
    john | November 26, 2014

    Hi can you tell me who is liable if i trip over some market stall framework, the organiser or the owners of the stalls?
    The trader had packed up and gone, It was dark and i didn’t see the metal frame work bars although the canopy was still on the roof and back (no sides)
    I tripped over and damaged my clothing. No harm to myself thankfully.


    • Staff
      Richard | November 28, 2014

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question. is an Australian website so the laws and relations may be different here than that in the UK. You would need to contact the event manager to find out who would be liable.


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