Food Vendor Insurance: Cost, Coverage & Best Providers
Food vendor insurance is a policy or a combination of policies food vendors need to protect their businesses from the financial loss of a claim. The average annual cost for the most common policy, general liability, ranges from $350 to $1,000, with a coverage amount of $1 million per occurrence, $2 million aggregate.
Food vendors are a broad category that encompasses concession stands, food carts, coffee carts, and even food trucks—and Food Liability Insurance Program (FLIP) offers specialized coverage for all of those businesses. You can get a quote and purchase insurance from FLIP in just minutes.
Who Needs Food Vendor Liability Insurance
Any business selling food in nontraditional locations should consider insurance. This includes concession stands, street fairs, public sidewalks, and outdoor venues. Typical small businesses needing food vendor liability insurance include:
- Food trucks
- Food trailers
- Food carts
- Personal and private chefs
- Restaurants at an event
Most events, even one-day events, require vendor insurance. Each venue has its requirements and may want to be listed as an additional insured on the certificate of insurance (COI). If you’re participating in an event, find out what type of insurance the venue requires because your regular policy, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar restaurant, may not have any off-premises coverage. In that case, you’ll need some form of special event insurance.
Food Vendor Insurance Costs
The type of coverage you need depends on your business. If you’re a food truck owner with employees, then you should consider food truck insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.
$350 to $1,000
$1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate
Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)
$900 to $3,000
$1 million per occurrence, $2 million aggregate. and $5,000 in property coverage
$1,300 to $5,000
$500,000 combined single limit for bodily injury and property damage
$350 to $800
Dependent on the value of the business property
Many providers will only offer online quotes for smaller operations with revenue of less than $200,000. If you have a larger business, you’ll likely receive a higher premium and need to speak with an agent to get a quote.
Insurance companies use a variety of factors to determine the premium, and the risk exposure your business creates is a big part of its evaluation. Anytime you get a quote, be prepared to answer questions related to the following:
- Claims history: Have you had any previous claims, especially in the last three to five years?
- Operations: What does your business do? Do you grill or fry? Do you regularly use liquified petroleum gas?
- Location: What area does your food cart usually serve?
- Employees: How many full- and part-time employees are there? Did you perform background checks on them? Have any ever been accused of any crimes?
- Value: What physical assets do you need to insure, and what is their value?
When beginning the process of finding insurance, start on the right foot and answer the questions as honestly as you can. Truthful answers can help the provider accurately determine which coverage is best for your business.
Food Vendor Insurance Policies & Coverage
General liability insurance and property insurance are the two most common policies a food vendor will need. If the business has more than one employee, workers’ comp is likely required. If you transport your equipment or operate a food truck, you’ll need commercial auto insurance. Depending on how the policy is structured, you may need inland marine coverage to provide first-party protection for your cart and equipment.
This is the most common type of policy a food vendor will need to purchase, and the financial risk a liability poses to a business outweighs the cost of the policy. A general liability policy offers broad protection on claims for which your business is liable legally. This includes four categories: property damage, bodily injury, advertising injury, and reputational harm.
General liability can help you if someone trips on a hose attached to your food cart and then falls and is injured or if your cart becomes unsecured and rolls into another vehicle, causing property damage.
Your food cart, equipment, and trailer cost money. If something happens to one of them, you not only are faced with the cost of repairing or replacing it but also the lost income while the item isn’t working. This is why you want to consider commercial property—it can provide coverage for your equipment. Coverage is usually on a named peril basis, meaning what happens to it has to be specified in the policy. Some named perils are:
- Fire: If your business suffers fire or smoke damage.
- Theft: If someone steals some of your equipment.
- Wind: If the wind blows your cart over and damages it.
Most insurance companies offer what is called a BOP. This is a combination of liability and property insurance, with some additional coverage like lost business income. Some BOPs for food vendors come with equipment breakdown coverage. If not, then look for this endorsement, which can help repair or replace damaged equipment.
Food trucks, food trailers, and operations using a vehicle for business purposes regularly are going to need commercial auto. Just like a personal auto, you’ll be required to carry liability insurance that will handle property damage and bodily injury for accidents when it’s your fault. Depending on the value of your vehicle, or if you have a loan, you’ll want to look into the first-party coverages collision and comprehensive.
Inland marine is coverage for equipment that moves around a lot. While most property policies will have some sort of coverage for equipment, the amount may be limited to either a specific location or listed locations on the policy. So, if your food cart or concession stand is in a different location regularly, then check your property policy to see if there’s coverage and, if not, then get quotes for inland marine insurance.
Nearly every state requires you to carry workers’ comp if you have at least one employee. This important policy takes care of your employees if they’re injured or become ill as a result of work-related activities by paying for medical bills and replacing their lost wages. It can also provide some protection for your business if the injured employee decides to sue.
Best Food Vendor Insurance Providers
- FLIP: Best overall provider
- Next: Best for food carts
- Simply Business: Best for owner-operator vendors
- CoverWallet: Best for concessionaires
- Progressive Commercial: Best for food trucks
FLIP: Overall Best Food Vendor Insurance Provider
FLIP developed an insurance program for caterers, concessionaires, market vendors, and food cart owners. You can purchase a policy online in 10 minutes or less, with premiums starting at $25.92 monthly. Because of the wide range of food vendors it insureds, multiple packages to choose from, ease of quoting, and immediate availability of policy documents, it’s our best overall provider for food vendor insurance.
We received a quote for a food truck with property and liability insurance for $510 annually. The liability carried limits of $2 million aggregate, including products and completed operations, and $5,000 in property coverage with an aggregate property limit of $10,000. Property coverage can be increased up to $50,000 aggregate.
FLIP offers multiple additional coverages, including an endorsement for your trailer, cyber insurance, and professional liability. It also offers predesigned policy packages, like special event coverage with liquor liability.
Visit FLIP to find the right policy for your food vendor business and to get a quote.
The policy is underwritten by the Great American Insurance Group, which has lower-than-average complaints with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
FLIP’s program is built on convenience: after answering only a few questions, you can get a quote and buy a policy online. Once purchased, you’ll have an account dashboard where you can manage your policy, get immediate COIs, and file a claim. There’s no cost or limit to additional insureds on this policy, which is advantageous for a food vendor who often has to add the event owner to a policy.
If you need to file a claim, you can do so through your account, and an adjuster will be in touch within three days.
The policy is through the Great American Insurance Group, which has a rating of A+ (Superior) from AM Best.
Next: Best for Food Carts
Food cart business owners don’t necessarily need as much coverage as other food vendors because their business is narrower in focus. Through its quick quoting process, Next Insurance offers affordable coverage options that are customized to fit different needs. If you’re working a special event or selling on the street and need immediate proof of insurance, Next makes that possible online or through its app.
After answering a few questions, we received one quote for a home-based food cart business: a general liability insurance policy with a limit of $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate. This policy costs $25 monthly. Paying for it annually doesn’t change the cost because Next doesn’t charge more if you pay monthly. This policy was available for same-day coverage.
While the quote was only for general liability, Next does offer commercial property and inland marine insurance for food vendors. If you have employees, you can purchase workers’ comp through it too.
For a quote in just minutes, visit Next.
Complaints with NAIC about Next are a little below the national average.
Next designed its experience to be convenient and quick. You can get a quote and purchase a policy in minutes and have immediate access to your policy documents. Online, you can file a claim and obtain an instant COI.
Founded in 2015, Next is the youngest insurance carrier on this list. However, it has a strong financial rating of A- (Excellent) by AM Best.
Simply Business: Best for Owner-operator Vendors
Online insurance brokerage Simply Business specializes in finding insurance for owner-operator vendors and microbusinesses, such as those with 1–3 employees. It works with many top-rated carriers to provide you with options for insurance, making it easy for solopreneurs to compare insurance options and find the right provider.
After answering some questions about a one-person food vendor business, we received a quote for general liability. The policy carried a limit of $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate. However, there was an option to double the limits if the current ones weren’t enough. After paying $87.50, there would be 10 installments of $26.25.
The quote had a note that additional coverage was available and that you can call to speak with a licensed agent. If you don’t want to call or the quote is enough, you can purchase the policy online.
Simply Business’ quoting process takes only a few minutes. Visit Simply Business to get a quote and to purchase same-day insurance.
Simply Business, which is licensed in 50 states, is able to offer the most common policies a food vendor would need: liability, first-party property, and workers’ compensation. It has high marks from its customers. On the independent site Trustpilot, Simply Business has 4.7 out of 5 stars from more than 500 reviews.
When you purchase a policy, you gain an online account where you can access your policy documents, make and request changes, create a COI, and begin the claim process. If you prefer to speak with someone, it’s open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Simply Business is owned by Travelers, which AM Best rated A++ (Superior). The quoted policy was through Hiscox, which has a rating of A (Excellent) from AM Best.
CoverWallet: Best for Concessionaires
Food vendors can often be found at special events, such as craft shows, farmers markets, and trade shows—and each show may require a different type or level of coverage for the event. If you’re a concessionaire, you likely have several employees working for you. Online broker CoverWallet makes finding concession stand insurance easy by letting you select which coverage you need and by offering multiple carrier options for a business of your size.
We received six quotes from CoverWallet for a concession stand: three for general liability and three for a BOP.
- The cheapest general liability policy was from The Hartford. It had limits of $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate and cost $622 annually. It also included inland marine for your equipment, but the amount wasn’t specified.
- The BOP quotes ranged from $1,130 to $2,815 annually. They all included the same liability as the one listed above and $15,000 in business and personal property coverage with a $500 deductible.
Visit CoverWallet to compare providers and quotes. To finish the process, you have to call CoverWallet.
Using CoverWallet is extremely easy—within 10 minutes, you can get multiple quotes and purchase a policy. The policy is purchased through CoverWallet, which provides you with policy management services, including instant COIs.
A nice feature provided by CoverWallet is its online advice tool. Answer a few questions about your business, and it will recommend the right coverages.
CoverWallet is owned by Aon, which has a rating of A (Excellent) by AM Best.
Progressive Commercial: Best for Food Trucks
Progressive is the number one insurer for commercial vehicles, per NAIC’s 2022 Market Share Report. It can insure nearly any type and size of food truck and, through its auto policy, provide coverage for installed kitchen equipment. Through its advantage program, it can provide general liability and other coverages for your business, making it the best insurance provider for food trucks.
We received a quote for a liability policy with a $500,000 combined single limit for property damage and bodily image. The cost was $1,315 annually, with the potential to save 10% if you paid in full. This was for the truck only and not any installed kitchen equipment or general liability for the business operations.
To get an online quote, visit Progressive.
Progressive offers 24/7 customer service online or through a call center, allowing you to manage your policy or file a claim easily.
For commercial auto policies, including food trucks, it offers Snapshot ProView®. With this service, Progressive sends you a tool to plug into your vehicle, which monitors your driving. The result can be a discount on your overall premium.
Progressive, a legacy carrier, has been around since 1937. It’s rated A+ (Superior) by AM Best.
Food vendor insurance is a combination of policies that protect your business from any losses you may face as a result of liability of a first-party property claim. The core policies are general liability and property. You know, as a food vendor, that every day is different and presents unique challenges that require quality insurance tailored to your business. FLIP is the overall best provider for food vendor insurance and has the policy, coverage, and services you need. Get a quote from FLIP.