It matters not if you bake those chocolate chip cookies once a week for the community center and sell them to make extra money for your son’s little league uniform; if you are selling food products you need liability insurance.
Of course, no one once to think anyone could get sick from their delicious double Dutch chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, but the truth is, it may not be your baking process, it may be an ingredient you used in your cookies, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
Liability insurance policies cover both legal costs and any legal payouts for which the insured would be responsible if found legally liable. Intentional damage and contractual liabilities are typically not covered in these types of policies.
Does a small home-based baker or food processor selling to family, friends and at farmers markets or community fairs/flea markets need liability insurance. Absolutely!
Liability insurance is important for anyone who may be held legally liable for the injuries of others, especially business owners (that’s you). A product manufacturer may purchase product liability insurance to cover them if a product is faulty and causes damage to the purchasers or any other third party. Business owners may purchase liability insurance that covers them if an employee is injured during business operations, for example if you hire your cousin Bill to do the heavy lifting when delivering those amazing beautiful wedding cakes.
One type of insurance coverage that should be considered by all home-based bakers and food manufacturers/processors is “Food Product Liability” coverage. This type of coverage should provide coverage in the event the insured food product injures the person who consumes it. Most retail outlets or locations such as a Farmers Market require that food products have a $1 million to $2 million policy before you will be allowed selling your products. Additional coverage requirements may also be requested.
For example, a retail vendor does not have to allow you to sell your products in their establishment even if you do have the required insurance; plus providers of food product liability insurance may be reluctant to provide you with a policy quote because you are not selling a standard rate of food products. In this case, the provider may prefer to give an estimate which requires very specific information about your products and your business characteristics.
Don’t be surprised if a company requires you to complete an application and submit the businesses’ production, distribution and marketing plans, all of which may be null and void if you are a new home-based baker with no clue of what type of business or how much business you will be doing. The bottom line is product and business liability insurance is essential if you are going to operate a legitimate business in America.