Insurance Advice for Food Businesses

With over 43% of Brits eating out at least once a week (Statista, 2016) it’s little wonder so many food businesses are started each year.

We’ve compiled a list of the ‘must have’ insurance covers that you need as a restaurant or café owner in order to ensure your business is safe and covered, should anything happen.

Liabilities

Liability means that you are legally responsible for something, so if any damage, injury or loss occurs you would be expected to cover the cost. When operating a food business there are three key liabilities that we would recommend.

You will need employers liability cover if you have any staff members (even if they’re family or friends) as a legal requirement. This way, if any of your employees are injured at work, you are covered for any compensation and legal costs incurred as a result. The UK mandates that you hold employer’s liability and that your insurer hold your ERN as a reference, so that even if a claim is filed years after the incident, the insurer who covered you at the time of the incident can be easily found and the claim can be filed. Read more about ERNs and Employers liability.

Public liability insurance to cover the costs of compensation and any legal costs incurred if someone is injured on your premises or you’re found liable for damage to someone else’s property. Where employer’s liability covers your staff, public liability covers everyone else, including customers, suppliers and passers-by.

As your business supplies food and/or drink to customers, you will need product liability insurance cover in order to protect yourself if a product causes illness or injury. In the food industry, the most common claim against this type if liability is usually related to illnesses contracted as a result of eating your food.

What can affect your premiums?

A variety of measures can be demonstrated that, if not followed, may mean that either your premiums are higher or you may struggle to find an insurer willing to ‘take on the risk’ of your business. These are mostly ways to demonstrate to your insurer that you are running your business in a responsible manner and are therefore a ‘safer risk’.

Food hygiene ratings are often looked at to give an indication of the business’ practices. These are a clear way for insurers to assess the safety of the business and often have a direct impact on any premiums you are offered. By maintaining a good food hygiene rating you may be saving yourself money!

You may also be asked to prove that you are carrying regular cleaning of flues in your kitchen as this can pose an increased risk if left unchecked. If you have specialist equipment, this should also be cleaned and maintained regularly to help make you an attractive risk to insurers.

In a similar vein to maintaining your equipment, it is your responsibility as a business owner to maintain your premises’ fixed wiring systems to ensure the safety of your business, employees and customers. The best way to do this is to hold up-to-date electrical safety certificates to show that your fixed wiring system has been inspected and is safe. Read more about electrical safety certificates, here.

If you have high value stock or a high quantity of stock, especially wines and spirits, you can make your risk more attractive to insurers by ensuring you have good security that meets insurer requirements. See our security blog here.

Other insurance to consider

As well as your liabilities, you will need to cover your building and contents too. This will cover the physical premises and equipment you use against typical risks such as theft, fire and flood. When you take out your business insurance it’s worth checking to see if you have a current rebuild valuation for your premises to protect yourself against underinsurance. If you’re unsure, you can use our free rebuild valuation indication service, available only to FSB members.

As well as your building and contents cover, it may not be obvious but you need to ensure that your stock is adequately covered too. These are the items that you hold for selling, and the value of this may fluctuate over the course of the year. It’s important to discuss this with your broker to ensure that your cover adequately covers your stock, even at peak times or seasons when the value may be higher than normal.

Do you work away from your premises? If so you will need added ‘work away’ cover for your business to cover trips to fairs, events or even deliveries.

As a food business, you may struggle to operate if your premises is rendered unusable. FSB Insurance Service has secured discounted rates to Lorega Loss Recovery insurance products which can be used to ensure you are back on your feet as quickly as possible in the event of a claim.

Want to discuss this further or in need of a quote? Give us a call on 020 3883 7976 from Monday-Friday, 9am-5.30pm to speak with a member of our team.