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General liability insurance for restaurants, bars, and other food businesses

General liability insurance icon

General liability insurance

This policy provides coverage for customer injuries, customer property damage, and lawsuits related to both. It's usually the first policy small business owners purchase because they often need it to sign commercial leases and client contracts.

General liability insurance protects against common risks

General liability insurance is often the first policy that a food and beverage business needs. It provides protection against lawsuits, accidents, and oversights that might otherwise financially devastate your business. Plus, it’s required for most commercial leases.

This policy provides liability coverage at your restaurant or other establishment related to:

  • Customer injury.
  • Customer property damage.
  • Advertising injuries, such as slander, libel, and copyright infringement.

Bundle policies for better protection – and a discount

If your restaurant, bakery, or other food business is relatively small and low-risk, you may be able to bundle general liability insurance with commercial property insurance in a business owner’s policy (BOP), which costs less than purchasing each policy separately. For greater protection, you can add endorsements to your general liability policy or BOP, such as:

Bars and other businesses that serve alcohol may need liquor liability insurance to meet state requirements or to obtain a liquor license. Talk to a licensed Insureon agent who specializes in the food service industry to find out which policies are appropriate for your business.

What coverage can general liability provide for food and beverage businesses?

Third-party bodily injury

From a slip-and-fall injury at a deli to a burn from coffee served at your cafe, accidents can happen at any food or beverage business. When a customer gets hurt on your property, general liability insurance can pay for everything from an ambulance ride to the cost of a lawsuit if your business is sued. General liability insurance covers:

  • Legal defense fees.
  • Medical expenses.
  • Court-ordered settlements.
  • Funeral expenses in fatal incidents.

However, this policy does not protect your own employees. For that, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance.

Third-party property damage

General liability insurance also protects you when customer property is damaged. If a waiter spills a drink on a patron’s smartphone, your general liability policy could help pay for:

  • Legal fees.
  • The cost of replacing the phone.
  • A court-ordered settlement.

General liability insurance can also protect your food service business from off-site incidents. For example, if your business caters a corporate reception and your food-warming equipment starts a fire, any resulting lawsuits alleging property damage would be covered by your policy.

Host liquor liability

Though it won’t cover incidents at a bar or restaurant that regularly serves alcohol, general liability insurance includes host liquor liability insurance. This insurance covers bodily injury and property damage resulting from alcohol served at a social function. That includes a company party where you provide alcohol, or other events unrelated to the business’s profits.

Advertising injuries

You may think your restaurant’s advertising is unique, but inadvertently copy a competitor’s slogan. Whether accidental or intentional, advertising injuries are covered by general liability insurance. That includes:

  • Defamation, both libel (written) and slander (spoken).
  • Copyright infringement.

If you use advertising or promotional materials to attract customers to your restaurant, food truck, catering business, or other food service business, you’ll want to make sure your insurance includes this protection.

Other important policies to consider

While general liability insurance covers many common risks faced by any food service business, it does not provide complete protection. Owners of restaurants, delis, catering businesses, and other food businesses should also consider:

Commercial auto insurance: This policy is important for food and beverage businesses that regularly transport food or equipment. It can cover expenses related to accidents or damages involving vehicles owned by businesses and employees.

Protect your restaurant or bar

Are you ready to safeguard your food service business with general liability insurance? Simply complete our easy online application today (it only takes minutes!). Once you find a policy that fits your needs, you can begin coverage in less than 24 hours.

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