Direct Line is set for a major push into the direct commercial market with the launch of four new products this autumn.

The UK’s largest car insurer said the commercial roll-out would be aimed at sole traders and partnerships.

Under its umbrella brand Direct Line for Business, the insurer will offer tradesman insurance, with public and product liability cover up to £5m.

Direct Line, which is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, will also launch a residential and commercial product for buy-to-let owners and property investors, as well as shop cover for non-chain small businesses.

Direct Line said the move into commercial insurance was a natural progression of its brand.

A spokesman said: “The internet has revolutionised the sale of insurance with thousands of personal lines policies sold every day over the internet. We are expecting commercial insurance to move in a similar direction.”

Direct Line would not reveal the amount of premium it was anticipating for the new lines but said there was a significant market for the products, particularly among small business owners.

Although businesses have traditionally been hesitant to purchase insurance online, Kate Syred, head of Direct Line for Business, said the insurer had sensed a growing need among consumers for access to good value insurance.

She added that confidence in the internet seemed to be at an all-time high.