Food vendor insurance refers to the types of insurance mobile food vendors need to protect their businesses against financial loss from liability claims. The most common types of food vendor insurance are general liability and commercial property. The cost for food vendor insurance averages $400 to $800 per year and costs for single events average $100.
Top Food Vendor Insurance Providers
|Insureon||Best overall online experience for quotes, service and education on small business insurance, including food vendor coverage.|
|Food Liability Insurance Program (FLIP)||Liability insurance for a wide range of food vendors and specials, including unlimited additional insureds.|
|CoverWallet||Quick and affordable online insurance and for specializing in food trucks.|
|insuremyfood||Specialized insurance coverage for small food vendors and quick access to COIs.|
|Nationwide||Vendor liability insurance with a large, national provider and local agents.|
How Food Vendor Liability Insurance Works
Food vendor insurance, also called food liability insurance, is not an insurance type but rather a term that refers to liability coverage and other coverage types that mobile food vendors, single event vendors, and concessionaires need. Most vendors will also need a Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI), which is needed to provide evidence of liability insurance and is often required to get a business license.
An example of this is if you want to set up your food station at a county fair and the county requires a registration fee and evidence of liability insurance with a COI. The county may also require you add them to your policy as an additional insured, which means if someone is injured at your work site, the county won’t be held liable. Your insurance provider should be able to produce COIs quickly for you and without extra charge.
A smart way to get broad protection in one cost-effective package is to buy a business owners policy (BOP), which includes commercial general liability and commercial property insurance. A BOP usually costs less than buying the two policies separately. Although commercial auto insurance isn’t included in a BOP, some other insurance types, such as inland marine coverage, can be included.
Food Vendor Insurance Providers
When you are shopping for insurance providers to cover your food vendor liability insurance needs, it’s important to get quotes from at least three different companies. It’s also wise to work with an insurance company that knows and understands how your business operates and the primary risk exposures you need covered.
Here are five insurance providers we researched that cover food vendors:
Insureon is an online insurance provider that focuses on small business insurance. Calling themselves “The Food Service Insurance Leader,” Insureon earns this designation by providing broad coverage to food vendors of all sizes, from mature businesses to startups looking to get their first street-vending license. Insureon offers basic general liability insurance, a business owners policy (BOP), and several other types of food insurance.
Insureon is a good match for food vendors that prefer an online broker that works with several top-rated insurance carriers. This enables business owners to get multiple quotes from one provider. Insureon can also be a good choice if you have growth plans, because they have a wide selection of insurance plans that can accommodate both small- and mid-sized companies.
2. Food Liability Insurance Program (FLIP)
Food Liability Insurance Program (FLIP) offers food liability insurance programs for almost every kind of food vendor business you can imagine. This diversity of coverage is an advantage in the food vendor industry, where there is a wide variety of businesses. Whether you own a food truck, you’re participating in a farmers market, or you run a concession stand selling hot dogs, candy and kettle corn, FLIP has you covered.
FLIP can be a good choice for small business food vendors that primarily need general liability insurance to cover their greatest risk exposures. Some examples include a customer slipping and falling, someone getting sick from spoiled food, or you accidentally damage a vehicle while setting up your food station at an event.
CoverWallet offers simple and affordable insurance coverage for many types of small businesses, including food vendors. Their specialty in the food industry is their food truck insurance, which can include a variety of insurance products, such as general liability, product liability, and commercial auto insurance.
CoverWallet is a good match for small business owners wanting simple and affordable, yet complete coverage for food trucks. You can also get multiple quotes online in a matter of minutes or request a certificate of liability insurance.
Insuremyfood is a small insurer compared to the large national providers, but they know the food vendor industry and offer insurance coverage in almost every state in the U.S. Their business was built on providing insurance to mobile food vendors and they serve several industries, including food trucks, food trailers, food carts, caterers, chefs, and manufacturers.
Insuremyfood is a good choice for food vendors that want to work with a small insurance company that focuses on quality customer service. Insuremyfood is also a good choice for food vendors that want free, 24/7 access to a Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI).
Nationwide is a large, highly rated national insurance provider that can offer a broad range of insurance types to businesses of all sizes. They also have an expansive network of agents in cities all across the U.S. Although a large insurer, Nationwide offers plans for small business owners.
Nationwide has protected more than 500,000 small businesses with their insurance programs. For food vendors that prefer to work with a national insurance provider and a local agent that can offer personalized attention, Nationwide is a smart choice.
Mobile Food Vendor Insurance Cost
The average cost for food vendor insurance ranges from $400 to $800 per year for most small businesses. If only general liability insurance is needed, the cost will be closer to $400, whereas adding more coverage, such as commercial property, or a bundled package like a business owners policy (BOP), will increase food vendor insurance costs.
|Commercial General Liability|
|Commercial Property Insurance|
|Commercial Auto Insurance|
|Inland Marine Insurance|
If food vendors only need coverage for a single event, such as a food festival, general liability insurance averages about $100 for five to 10 days of coverage. This pricing doesn’t include other insurance types you may need, such as workers compensation. The actual amount food vendors pay for events will depend on the state where the event is held, the number of days you need coverage, the number of people attending the event, and the type of event.
Common Types of Food Vendor Insurance
Whether you are an event vendor, a mobile food vendor, or the owner of a food truck, you’ll need at least some form of business insurance. The most common type of food vendor insurance is commercial general liability. Some vendors will also need commercial property insurance and commercial auto insurance to protect their assets and vehicles used for the business.
Common Types of Food Vendor Insurance
|Commercial General Liability||Medical expenses and legal fees resulting from third-party bodily injury or property damage.|
|Commercial Property Insurance||Assets of your business, such as your cart, tent, food truck, equipment and inventory.|
|Commercial Auto Insurance||For mobile food vendors, such as food trucks, that use a vehicle for business.|
Commercial General Liability
Commercial general liability (CGL) is the primary insurance type that food vendors need, which is why it is sometimes called food vendor liability insurance. This protection is important because, when you work with the public, you need third-party bodily injury, property damage and related legal costs, which are covered under CGL.
For example, if a customer bumps his head into your signage and needs stitches, your general liability coverage would cover the medical expenses and legal expenses if they were to sue you. Or if the wind blows over your tent and damages a third party’s vehicle, CGL would cover the damage and related legal fees.
Commercial Property Insurance
Without your cart, equipment or food station, you wouldn’t have your business, which is why commercial property insurance is important coverage for many food vendors. With this coverage, you can protect the assets of your food vendor business from potential perils, such as fire, vandalism, theft, or extreme weather.
For example, if your food cart is stolen, your property insurance coverage would reimburse you for the loss. Commercial property coverage can also cover food spoilage, which is a real risk for many food vendors.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial auto insurance covers third-party liability claims for bodily injury or property damage where you are held liable in a car accident. It can also include protection against uninsured or underinsured motorists. It’s important to note that personal auto insurance will not cover a vehicle that is used primarily for business.
A good example where commercial auto insurance is needed is food trucks. When your greatest asset and your greatest risk exposure is associated with a commercial vehicle, you need to protect your investment with auto insurance. Personal auto insurance won’t cover you if you are using a vehicle for business purposes.
Other Types of Food Vendor Insurance You May Need
Most food vendors will receive adequate coverage with a general liability policy or a business owners policy that includes commercial property insurance. Some mobile food vendors also need commercial auto insurance. However, there are additional insurance types that food vendors may need.
Inland Marine Insurance
Mobile food vendors don’t have a fixed, brick-and-mortar location where they work. You may need property insurance that covers your valuable assets, such as equipment, tools, supplies and inventory, while moving from one location to another. Inland marine insurance is needed to cover these assets while in transit if they aren’t already covered in either your commercial property or commercial auto policies.
Most states require this coverage if you have employees. Workers compensation insurance provides benefits to your employees in the event of work-related injuries or illnesses. Small food vendors that are owner-operated without employees aren’t required to have this coverage. Some insurance providers offer workers compensation for single events of between one and 10 days.
Employees for food vendor businesses can get injured in a number of ways, including slips and falls, burns, cuts, and lifting heavy items, such as boxes, equipment and supplies. For example, if you have an employee and they injure themselves from a slip and fall while setting up your food station, workers compensation would pay the medical bill and lost wages.
Tips on Applying for Mobile Food Vendor Insurance
There are different kinds of mobile food vendors, but applying for the right insurance coverage will follow a similar process for each small business. Whether you operate your food business with a pop-up tent, a food cart, a food trailer, or a food truck, there is a small handful of pointers to know before you begin getting quotes and applying for insurance.
Here are the three main things to know before you apply for mobile food vendor insurance:
1. Ask About Insurance Requirements for Events and Locations
Whether you are operating a food cart on a street corner or setting up for a five-day festival, it’s likely you’ll need to meet certain insurance requirements, such as general liability coverage, before you get a license or permission to work at the desired location. For example, most fairs and festivals are scheduled months in advance and will require vendor applications several weeks in advance of the event.
2. Choose a Food Vendor Insurance Provider That Offers COIs
Before you begin work at your site, you’ll likely need a Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI) to prove you have sufficient liability coverage. As part of a contract requirement, you may need to add a second party as an “additional insured” to your COI. This is a common requirement that removes liability from the second party, such as a landlord or a municipality, in the event a member of the public suffers property damage or injury on your work site.
3. Make Sure Your Food Insurance Offers Sufficient Coverage
Buying too little food insurance for vendors is never a smart idea. Small business insurance is a product and service that you hope you never have to use. But if you use it, you’ll never regret having broad coverage. Also, don’t assume complete coverage on one policy. For example, if you have a food truck business, property insurance won’t cover the truck. For this, you’ll need commercial auto insurance.
Mobile food vendors with expensive equipment may need to consider inland marine insurance, according to Joel Paprocki, Owner, insuremyfood:
“A common mistake I see mobile food vendors make is having a premise only policy, which means a policy like commercial property insurance that doesn’t follow you when you move locations. Mobile vendors, especially larger businesses like food trucks, are smart to have auto physical damage coverage and/or inland marine insurance. We recommend inland marine for equipment not attached to the truck by bolt. The truck itself and attached equipment are covered on the auto policy (comp and collision).”
Who Food Vendor Liability Insurance Is Right For
Food vendor liability insurance is needed by any business that sells food products to the public. The minimal protection is for third-party bodily injury, illness, or property damage, which is covered in a general liability policy. Some of the typical small businesses that buy food vendor liability insurance include food trucks, food trailers, food carts, caterers, concessionaires, and personal/private chefs.
Here are three of the most frequently asked questions about food vendor insurance:
1. Do I need food vendor insurance coverage for a single event?
You do need food vendor insurance for a single event. The main coverage you’ll need is general liability insurance, which will cover third-party bodily injury, sickness or property damage. For example, if a customer gets sick eating your food, general liability will cover you.
The most common claim on food vendors is property damage. For example, a food vendor is setting up their tent and the wind blows, toppling a large tent stake into a car. General liability, sometimes called food liability, will cover this.
2. Do I need food vendor liability insurance if I’m already insured?
Many existing businesses, such as restaurants, will set up booths or tents at a food festival. The need for additional insurance for a single event depends upon the situation. For example, commercial general liability typically covers you at your premises and on other sites, such as a food festival. Therefore, you’re covered for third-party injury, illness and property damage and won’t need to buy additional or special coverage for the event.
However, you may need additional coverage, such as inland marine insurance or a rider added to a property insurance policy, if you are hauling expensive equipment from your main premises to an offsite location. Commercial property insurance typically just covers building, equipment and assets at your main work location, not offsite.
3. If I start a full-time food vendor business, what types of insurance will I need?
The main type of food vendor insurance needed is commercial general liability insurance (CGL). This will cover your primary risk exposures, such as a customer slipping, falling and getting injured at your work site, a customer getting sick from your food, or damage caused by you to someone else’s property. In most cases, you will need a certificate of liability insurance (COI) to get a license to do business in a town or to register for a festival or fair.
For more information on full-time food vendor businesses, see our article on Food Truck Insurance Cost, Coverage and More.
For small business owners in the food industry, getting the right insurance coverage isn’t just about protecting against liability claims or property damage. For many food vendors, insurance is a necessity to do business. To get licenses, permits and contracts, food vendors often need a Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI), which provides evidence you have sufficient liability coverage.