As we head into the final days of 2016, it’s time to take stock of the past year, set new goals, and review your food business insurance needs. Whether you are a caterer, baker, or food vendor, we hope 2016 has been a year of growth and change for your food business, and we want to help you look forward to a prosperous 2017.
With that goal in mind, we have come up with a small business insurance review questionnaire that all food businesses should complete each year. This comprehensive analysis will help you determine whether your insurance needs have changed and what to look for in a food business insurance policy.
Have Your Risks Changed?
A crucial part of planning for your insurance needs for 2017 is doing a comprehensive assessment of what has changed for your food business.
During the past year, have you purchased new equipment?
Hint: Make sure your business equipment insurance is up to date and that your policy has inland marine coverage if you often transport your equipment.
- Have you hired new employees?
Hint: Do you have workers’ comp for each employee? What protection do you have for employee dishonesty or theft?
- Are you offering new products or services?
Hint: Make sure your policy offers products-completed operations coverage, and that it covers your specific offerings.
- Are you vending at shows or teaching cooking classes?
Hint: You should carry both professional and general liability coverage in case someone is hurt at a show or in your kitchen because of your negligence.
- If you are a food truck vendor, have you added new trucks?
Hint: Make sure you have each truck listed on your general liability policy, and be sure that each of your trucks has commercial vehicle insurance.
- Are you still vending from a food truck, or have you switched to a brick and mortar location?
Hint: FLIP policies do not cover you if you sell from a brick and mortar location. If you are now serving food from a brick and mortar location, call us at FLIP and we will help you access the coverage you need.
- If you’ve been a home-based baker or personal chef, do you now use a commercial kitchen?
Hint: Most commercial kitchens require you to add them as an additional insured. Does your policy allow you to add additional insureds? If so, at what cost? FLIP offers free, unlimited additional insureds.
- Have your annual sales increased or decreased?
Hint: Some business insurance, such as a policy from FLIP, has certain revenue limits. If your food business has been wildly successful, you may no longer qualify for a FLIP policy. We can help you find insurance if your business exceeds the FLIP revenue limits.
- Are there new laws or regulations that affect your business insurance requirements?
Hint: Some cities or counties require you to have general liability insurance if you are vending in their districts. Make sure you are properly insured to meet regulation requirements.
- Are you using new vendors or suppliers?
Hint: You may think your food is trustworthy because you follow proper food safety guidelines, but a new vendor or supplier may not have the same standards as you and could make your customers sick. Even if you feel your vendors or suppliers are trustworthy, it’s best not to take risks, so make sure you have general liability insurance that covers medical and legal costs in liability claims.
What Are Your Plans?
Hopefully, you have taken a look at what was successful and what didn’t work for your food business. You may have devised a new business strategy that might expose you to certain risks that you weren’t exposed to in 2016.
Some of those may be:
- You run a small farm, and you’ve decided to sell your goods at several farmer’s markets this year to increase
- farmer’s markets this year to increase your income.
- You’re a food vendor or food truck, and you’ve decided to vend at several events rather than your usual spaces. Event organizers have told you that you need to add them as an additional insured.
- You’re a baker who has decided to offer classes at your commercial kitchen.
- You’re a chef who has decided to become a personal chef to a few select clients.
- You’re a caterer who has decided to package and sell some of your most popular dishes.
Once you determine your business strategy, it’s time to make sure you are carrying adequate general liability coverage. If your food accidentally poisons someone or they become ill as a result of eating your food, you could be at risk. Or, if you are vending at an event or farmer’s market, you will want to have your business shielded from potential accidents that could happen at your booth.
Does Your Insurance Still Provide You With the Coverage You Need?
Now that you have done your comprehensive assessment of your risks, it’s time to assess your current insurance policy. Are you covered with the appropriate amount of coverage? Now’s the time to decide whether you are overinsured or underinsured and to adjust your policy accordingly.
Our insurance experts at FLIP can help you determine whether you are carrying adequate insurance to cover your risks. We offer general liability insurance to food businesses such as caterers, bakers, concessionaires, food vendors, food trucks, and more. If you carry a FLIP policy and your insurance needs have changed, call us today to talk about your options: (844) 520-6992.
BY LYNDSEY LARSEN
Lyndsey Larsen is the Marketing Manager for FLIP and writes about business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and insurance.
Lyndsey Larsen is an experienced writer with a background in corporate communications and nonprofits, SAAS corporations, and nutraceutical companies. She has previously worked as a journalist for regional and national publications. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing butterflies, rockhounding, and spending time with her two kids in Utah’s mountains or deserts. Find Lyndsey on LinkedIn.