One of the enduring myths that frequents mobile DJ forums and discussion websites is that Public Liability Insurance is a legal requirement. PLI is NOT a legal requirement - however it is a VERY good idea, and this article explores the reasons why.
What is Public Liability Insurance?
PLI as it is commonly known helps cushion you from the impact of civil damage claims in the event of an accident caused by you or your equipment during the course of business.
This could be anything from common human harm claims (e.g. a guest at a function trips over a loose wire and hurts themselves) and physical damage claims (e.g. moving equipment scratched a polished floor at a venue) through to less likely but much more serious claims (e.g. person electrocuted by faulty equipment, or venue damaged/destroyed by fire caused by overheating light fixture).
Damages can be virtually unlimited, which is why it is common to see PLI policies with an upper limit of £10 million. If you are responsible for an accident in the conduct of your business and you do not have PLI, your own personal assets are placed at risk (sole traders/partnerships).
Where can I buy PLI and how much does it cost?
We cannot recommend insurance providers but a quick internet search will turn up a number of common suppliers. In our experience policies tend to range in price from around £60 to £200 per year for straightforward PLI, however some suppliers tend to bundle PLI with other policies such as equipment insurance or employers' liability insurance.
A cheaper way of obtaining PLI might be to join a professional organisation such as NADJ or SEDA who operate a 'block policy' on behalf of their members. Membership is often cheaper than buying your own PLI policy from a broker or underwriter and usually brings other benefits, so you may wish to investigate this avenue. There are also commercial organisations that offer access to block policies such as MDJN and AMPDJ. If you a more of an all-round entertainer than strictly a DJ, Equity also offer access to their block policy to members.
REMEMBER - this is a tax-deductible expense, so it can be offset against tax on any profits you make.
Don't certain venues DEMAND PLI?
Indeed - we know of literally thousands of venues across the UK that require visiting entertainers to hold current PLI on the date of the event - and we know of quite a few venues that have refused access when the information could not be provided, much to the dismay of the person that actually hired the disco - such as the bride and groom. Some venues are happy with relatively low policy claim limits such as £2 million, but more upmarket venues with much more to lose are likely to require sight of a £10 million policy - in fact we even know of a handful of historic venues that demand £20 million.
So, in a nutshell...Mobile DJs do not NEED PLI to operate legally, but it's a really good idea to carry some insurance especially if you are seeking bookings in upmarket venues. It's worth remembering that most PLI policies carry some restrictions - a common one being the use of pyrotechnics or bubble machines. Do your research and buy the policy that best suits your requirements.
If you are HIRING a mobile disco, check whether your DJ has a PLI policy in their name to avoid any issues with the venue and cover yourself and your guests in the event that the DJ or their equipment is involved in an accident. Remember that ALL DJmark Award holders have recently provided proof of current PLI cover.