Farm Market Insurance question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Jena, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2003
    My farmers market plans are moving along, but I have an insurance question if anyone knows...

    I know insurance will be an issue. I have my own liability policy that would cover me at a market, but I'm sure there are many others that do not. My liability policy costs very little (I think $60/year added on to my existing farm insurance), but that might not be true for others, especially if they don't have "farm" insurance.

    I know more and more markets are requiring vendors to have insurance, especially if the market is held on private property, as this one will be.

    Is it cheaper/easier to require vendors to get their own insurance or should the market itself get a policy? I was involved in an organization once that had a liability policy for events and it wasn't too much, but that was several years ago.

    I want to be able to have as many vendors as possible, but then again I don't want to take all the responsibility on to the market. Any ideas of what works best?

  2. amelia

    amelia Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2003
    Washington State
    Jena, very cool plan! Wish you were near me!

    My own opinion is that it is not an either/or proposition. Every person or entity that runs the risk of liability should be insured. That may mean requiring insurance for your vendors and also maintaining a policy of your own. For you to not require that vendors maintain their own policies, and to provide one for the market as a whole, would simply be asking--it seems to me--for a potential plaintiff to go after you. Conversely, for you to rely entirely upon your vendors to supply the insurance for the operation would leave you entirely exposed in the event of an allegation that you were somehow negligent. This would be especially important if the farmers' market is going to be on your land because of the heightened duties that owners and occupiers of land owe to the public (and to vendors, for that matter). If it were me, I would definitely require the vendors to maintain their own policies and also maintain one of my own.

    You might also think about doing business as an entity--either an S corporation or a limited liability company (LLC). It's not iron-clad protection, but makes it somewhat more difficult to go after your personal assets.

  3. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 6, 2004
    Michigan's thumb
    Talk to your agent, but I think you can get a policy on every vendor. They either show proof of insurance, or pay the fee for the two day insurance through State Farm (or whoever you would use). If the fee is low enough, you may be able to just roll it into the booth fee. If your agent doesn't have such a policy, call other companies. If you end up with a policy that covers the market as a whole, then everybody pays up, regardless of their own insurance. I think you are wise to think of this.

    I had insurance on my product when I did a show out of state. I kept it up for a couple of years, then decided I didn't need it and did not send in the premium. A week before the insurance expired we had a fire and I was sure glad I had the insurance. :haha:
  4. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2002
    Jena, the market should have it's own policy AND require vendors to be covered by their own. In addition your vendor agreement should have each vendor indemnify the market. Insurance that a vendor carries protects the vendor, not the market.

    I'd look around for umbrella organizations (for markets) that might be able to provide (usually through an affiliate program) insurance for both the market and the vendors.

    If a vendor can provide proof of appropriate insurance (determine what this is upfront) then they should be able to opt out of buying vendor insurance.

    Just a few thoughts based on my past experience in running windsurfing regattas and getting insurance for our events through USWA.

  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    I'd make sure the "market" is covered seperatley. As for the land being private lease it to a market association to create some seperation. We leave each vendor to get their own and advise they do, but its not a "requirement" yet. Might not be the worst addition, I'll have to talk to my agent and Provincial association director. Personally I'm covered like you are but have seperate product liability insurance for my wifes home made soaps, which was very pricey.