All businesses, regardless of industry, face risks that should be covered by insurance. The most common and comprehensive type of policy business owners invest in is general liability insurance (or CGL).
Some of the risks CGL insurance covers are:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Medical payments
- Legal defense and judgment
- Personal and advertising injury
While businesses aren't legally required to carry general liability insurance, operating without it is extremely risky. If your business is sued, you could end up facing fees totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more). Having a sufficient CGL policy in place to help compensate for these damages is the only way to prevent this type of event from devastating your business.
Learn more about the risks covered by general liability insurance.
COMMON SITUATIONS THAT GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE WOULD COVER FOR A FOOD TRUCK
Example 1: A business is considering having your food truck parked outside of their building every weekday for its employees. First, the business owner wants to tour your truck. While he is inside, he trips over a box and breaks his wrist. He asks you to pay for his medical treatment. Your general liability insurance will likely cover this cost.
Example 2: A competitor does not like your latest marketing campaign. He sues you, claiming that you have libeled his business. Your general liability insurance will cover your legal fees.
Example 3: One of your employees is loading supplies into your truck when he accidentally knocks a customer to the ground. She breaks her arm and sues your business. Your general liability insurance will pay for your legal defense, including paying a settlement if needed.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of perils a general liability insurance policy will cover, and some conditions may result in a particular peril not being covered. It's always best to talk to your agent in-depth about the specifics of your policy to avoid blind spots in coverage.
On average, food trucks in America spend between $450 - $1,000 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage.
Check out the chart below for a snapshot of average CGL expenditure across a variety of industries:
Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:
- Number of employees
- Per-occurrence limit
- General aggregate limit
You may be able to acquire general liability insurance at a discounted rate by purchasing it as part of a business owner's policy (BOP) rather than as a standalone policy. A BOP is a more comprehensive solution that includes multiple forms of coverage, such as business interruption and property insurance.
While general liability is the most important type of insurance to have, there are several other forms of coverage you should be aware of. Below are some other types of insurance all food trucks should obtain:
Product Liability Insurance
There is always the chance that one of your customers could sue your business, claiming that one of your products caused him or her injury. If this happens, your product liability insurance will pay for your legal fees. It will also pay for a settlement if you need to settle out of court.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Your food truck is a vehicle, and vehicles used primarily for business need to be covered by a commercial auto policy. Your policy will pay for damages to your vehicle if you are in an accident as well as for damage to other vehicles if you are at fault.. It will also pay for medical treatments for any injured.
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your food truck may require depending on certain aspects of your operations. Some of these might not apply to you, so be sure to ask your agent which policies are right for your business.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
An umbrella policy provides extra protection beyond what a general liability insurance policy offers. It is possible for your general liability insurance limits to be exceeded—like if you lose a big lawsuit. If this happens, your umbrella policy will kick and pay until its limits are reached.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
A workers’ compensation policy is necessary in most states if you have employees. The policy you carry will pay for medical treatment if one of your employees is injured while performing work-related duties. It will also pay for some of the lost wages for the employee if they cannot work due to the injury.
Although it's easy (and essential) to invest in business insurance, it should not be your frontline defense. Yes, insurance will compensate for your business' financial losses after an incident occurs, but it's much better to avoid losses altogether.
With this in mind, here are three things you can do to better protect your business:
- Use legally robust contracts and other business documents. (We offer free templates for some of the most common legal forms.)
- Set up a limited liability company (LLC) to protect your personal assets. (Refer to our guide for step-by-step instructions on how to form an LLC in your state.)
- Streamline your business' internal processes. This will remove unnecessary variables from common tasks and create a safe, consistent environment for conducting business.
What is included in a business owner’s policy?
A typical business owner's policy includes general liability, business interruption, and property insurance. However, BOPs are often customizable, so your agent may recommend adding professional liability, commercial auto, or other types of coverage to your package depending on your company's needs.
What is the difference between business insurance and general liability insurance?
"Business insurance" is a generic term used to describe many different types of coverage a business may need. General liability insurance, on the other hand, is a specific type of coverage that business owners need to protect their assets.
Do I need insurance before I start a business?
You should invest in coverage for your business before your first interaction with a customer. Although the cost of insurance may seem high for a brand new business, it's best to be proactive when it comes to protecting your assets. After all, you can't buy insurance to cover a loss that has already occurred.
Will insurance protect my business from everything?
Not necessarily. Certain exceptions may be written directly into your policy, and some perils may be entirely uninsurable. Be sure to discuss the scope of your policy in-depth with your agent to avoid being blindsided by holes in your coverage.