Farmers rolls out insurance for food trucks
Insurance company lumps commercial automobile, restaurant and business owner coverage in one policy.
Farmers Insurance is rolling out a new policy designed to fit the needs of restaurants that roll out.
Earlier this month, Farmers began offering coverage for food trucks in Michigan, which now is one of 28 states where the policy is offered. The new program rolls commercial automobile coverage in with restaurant and business owner coverage all under the umbrella of a single policy.
“Farmers is one of the largest small business insurers in the country and one of our most important industries is the restaurant industry,” said Jake Rothfuss, Farmers head of business insurance for commercial auto. “While serving that industry over time, we’ve seen that food trucks have become an important part of that market. Standalone food truck businesses have become a large part of what is now a part of pop culture, so we wanted to address their needs.”
Because standalone food truck operators often have to purchase several separate policies to stay properly covered, Farmers decided to offer a packaged solution, which will help consolidate multiple policies and, hopefully, reduce some headaches.
According to data from mobile-cuisine.com, food trucks spend about $85,000 annually to stay in business. About 26 percent of that number goes toward insurance, gas and other repairs. Farmers hopes to mitigate some of that cost by not only bundling commercial auto and business insurance but also offering protection against food spoilage or loss of income from food contamination shutdown.
“We thought we can make this easier, simplify it and get it under one policy and provide the right policy for these small business owners,” Rothfuss said. “Our policy provides for an optional coverage that gives you loss of income or revenue and also provides coverage that would be part of a more traditional restaurant insurance package.”
Although insurance costs widely vary from vendor to vendor, depending on number of vehicles, equipment, level of coverage and risk factor, Rothfuss said the national average of cost for a food truck policy is somewhere between $2,500 and $3,500 annually per vehicle. That’s about in line with what Lauren D’Angelo, co-owner of Patty Matters food truck in Grand Rapids, pays for her coverage.
D’Angelo said Patty Matters is insured through Hanover and Insure My Food Truck, which offers a similar package bundle for food truck vendors. To own and operate a food truck requires many hats, and reducing the clutter is one of the top priorities, she added.
“With operating a food truck, there are so many different offices you have to communicate with,” D’Angelo said. “If you have a commissary space, electric, gas, propane — the total number of bills we pay each month are pretty high, so if you can reduce that number, we’ll take all the help we can get. The fewer bills we have to pay, the less we can forget.”
Scott Hartmann, co-owner of Two Scotts Barbecue, which launched its food truck this past summer, echoed that sentiment.
“I think the more you can streamline the costs of a food truck startup, between insurance, business expenses, everything you have to do to get it going, insurance is probably one of them where it would be highly beneficial to have a more streamlined option,” he said.