Tags Posts tagged with "Insurance"

Insurance

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food truck insurance checklist

When you’re in an auto accident in your food truck, it can be easy to forget what information you need — you’re shaken up and rattled and in many cases wondering how the accident will affect your mobile food business.

But for your insurance company and that of any other people involved, carry a copy of the following list in your glove compartment so that you get all the information you need to protect yourself and expedite your insurance claim to assure you are back on the road with your mobile bistro as quickly as possible.

Food Truck Insurance Checklist

  • Date and time of accident
  • Accident location (take photos if you have a cellphone with a camera)
  • Name, address, phone number, and driver’s license number of the driver of the other vehicle
  • Injuries (for each person)
  • Name, address, and phone number of each witness
  • Police department responding, including phone number
  • Police case number
  • Police officer’s name
  • Tickets issued (if any)
  • Name, address, and phone number of each passenger in your vehicle
  • Name, address, and phone number of each passenger in the other vehicle
  • Name, address, phone number, and driver’s license number of the owner of the other vehicle (if different from driver)
  • The year, make, model, license plate number, and vehicle identification number (VIN) of the other vehicle
  • The insurance company, insurance agent (name and phone number), and policy number of the other vehicle’s driver
  • The insurance company, insurance agent (name and phone number), and policy number of the other vehicle’s owner (if different from driver)

We hope this food truck insurance checklist will help you in a time of need. If there are any additional items you feel are important but have been left off our list, please share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share it on our Facebook page.

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A California appeals court said Monday that Travelers Property and Casualty Co. of America was liable for $2.4 million awarded to a food truck vendor who was burned by oil that splashed on her from a deep fryer during a collision.

court settlement

The court found Travelers, which had issued a commercial general liability policy to food truck vendor Royal Catering Co., was liable as opposed to American States Insurance Co., which had issued an automobile policy. The two insurers had been fighting over which was responsible for the $2.4 million arbitration award.

According to the appeals court, Esmeragdo Gomez and his wife Irais Gomez had leased a Royal food truck that was designed to transport two people. Esmeragdo was driving one day with another person in the passenger seat, while Irais was standing in the back of the truck, when another vehicle hit them in an intersection. Irais was splashed with hot oil during the incident.

An arbitrator found Royal to be 40 percent responsible for Irais’ injuries because the company allegedly installed the wrong type of deep fryer basket, the court said.

The appeals court reasoned that for the first two hours of the day, the Gomezes cooked food in their food truck while parked in the Royal parking lot. During the next eight hours, the Gomezes made 12 to 13 stops to cook, or at least heat, and sell food. During those stops, the food truck was not “transporting” anything, but was immobile.

It pointed out that the food truck had only two seats and two seatbelts, and the truck was not equipped to transport persons other than a driver and a cook.

“If Travelers had intended to exclude food trucks from coverage as ‘autos’ — a significant consideration light of the fact that Royal maintained a fleet of food trucks and was in the business of leasing such vehicles — it would have identified them along with the other special use vehicles it identified as ‘autos,’” the court said.

Find the entire article at 360Law.com (registration required) <here>

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There may come a time when you need to put your food truck into storage. Whether it’s because you are in a cold weather region or you are just taking a break from the rigors of the mobile food industry, you may wonder if you are required to keep the same levels and types of vehicle insurance coverage in place on your stored truck.

Food Truck Storage
Image from Roadstoves.com

As with many situations in life, the answer to that question is, it depends. Here are some considerations you’ll need to address to be sure that a food truck you put in storage (for any period of time) has the proper types and levels of insurance coverage in place.

Insurance needs based on storage reasons

To determine if and how much insurance you’ll need, you’ll need to be clear on at least the following questions:

  • Why are you storing your food truck? – if you have a lifestyle change that requires you to put your food truck in storage you may want to let your current insurance coverage run its course and insure your stored vehicle as personal property only. If you plan to keep the registration active and valid, you may want to put a low-cost comprehensive coverage option in place with a higher deductible just in case something happens where you mobile food business is being stored.

  • How long will it be stored? – if the time you plan to have your food truck in storage matches or nearly matches the current term of your insurance coverage, you may not need to worry about any supplemental insurance for it. If the time you need to store you food truck exceeds the term of your current coverage, you may want to look into a short-term extension of your current policy or consider a completely separate short-term insurance policy with coverage options and limits in place more suitable for you.

  • Where will it be stored? – if you plan to store your food truck on your own property or at a friend or relative’s property, you may want to consider adding it to a homeowner’s or even a renter’s policy. If you plan to store your food truck at a separate storage facility, ask if they offer insurance on the items being stored there. Be sure to read all the fine print on any insurance or rental agreement if you store your truck at such a facility and be aware of any limitations on terms or value of property being stored and insured. Be aware that some facilities specifically designed to store vehicles require that you keep a minimum level of insurance coverage on your truck, even if you do not plan to have anybody driving it while it’s being stored.

  • What are the insurance laws of your state? – while nearly every state requires licensed drivers to carry a minimum amount of vehicle insurance, there are some states that also require you to have a minimum amount of insurance on any vehicle with a valid registration, even if you do not drive it. Before you store your food truck, make yourself aware of your state’s insurance requirements for registered vehicles.

If you need to store your food truck for any length of time, you don’t want to have to worry if something happens to it and you need to repair or replace it when you go to bring it out of storage. Take a few moments and answer these questions, or consult with your insurance agent to get these questions answered, and you can rest assured that you and your stored food truck will be protected.

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What do the up coming federal health care reforms mean for the mobile food industry but more specifically, your food truck business?

ObamaCare and food trucks

 

Will the Affordable Care Act add thousands of dollars in extra costs and more paperwork or will federal subsidies make this a “game changer” for small small food truck businesses that have struggled to provide insurance plans to their employees?

Who it will affect

The good news is that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) will only negatively affect a minuscule number of existing food trucks. Food truck businesses with 50 or more employees (which includes less than a dozen food trucks in total) will have a choice beginning in 2014: they can sponsor a health plan for 100% of their workers or pay $750 per worker in penalties to the federal government.

For those truck owners, they might opt to take the penalty and do away with a health insurance benefit. Paying the annual penalty might be cheaper. So that would leave the employees uninsured and they would have to go to state health plan exchanges to buy health coverage that could be more expensive.

Tax Credits

The vast majority of food truck owners won’t be required to offer health insurance starting in 2014, and therefore these mobile food companies won’t have to contend with possible fines like the big boys in the industry. But while vendors with 50 or fewer staff members would be exempt from coverage provisions, they will still have to contend with rising premiums.

If you are part of the almost 99% of food truck business who employ less than 25 or are self-employed, you may find that the health care reforms bring you some tax relief.

If you are a food truck vendor with less than 25 employees and pay the premiums for your staff, you will qualify for a tax credit up to 35% of their premiums. (In 2014, that credit could be as great as 50% of premiums if you arrange insurance via one of the Small Business Health Options Programs, or SHOP Exchanges). The tax break you get will depend on a couple of variables: the number of employees you have and their average pay.

Please note that this tax break won’t be offered to food trucks that are formed as sole proprietorship’s. This factor alone may cause existing sole proprietors to incorporate or become an LLC.

Insurance might become cheaper

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the SHOP Exchanges could lower annual premiums for mobile food and other small businesses by 1-4% with a 3% increase in the amount of coverage.

If you happen to be a food truck owner that works for yourself, you will likely be able to take advantage of government health care subsidies in 2014. If you are self-employed in 2014 and earn less than four times the poverty level, you can qualify for these subsidies. (To give you some idea, 400% of the 2013 poverty level comes to $94,200 for a family of four.)

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Prestige-Food-TrucksORLANDO, FL – Custom Food Truck Builder & Manufacturer Has Added Owner Financing, Increased Inventory, Branding, Design and Online Business Development to Create a True “Business-in-a-Box” Turnkey Experience.

Prestige Food Trucks of Orlando, FL continues its recent expansion and has begun to implement additional components to its turnkey solutions in order to provide new food truck customers with a ready-to-roll platform.

“The interest in the Food Truck/Mobile Café industry continues to explode, and as such we have a tremendous amount of inquiries into our business from customers who want to be in the Food Truck industry but are not quite sure how to put all the pieces and parts together,” says Jeremy Adams, President of Prestige Food Trucks.

“When we began with our operations,” Jeremy continues, “our goal was to formulate the easiest way for new prospects to get into the Food Truck business. Many of our new owners had the passion to get into the industry, but had no idea what type of food they wanted to serve, how to come up with branding and design, or how to develop both an offline and online marketing strategy to get them running right out of the gates. We now offer all those services under one roof, and when you throw in Owner Financing we have completed our “Business-in-a-Box” solution.”

The Prestige Food Truck/Mobile Café Business-in-a-Box solution consists of:

  • Initial Consultation
  • Inventory Selection
  • Truck Build-out (Interior and Exterior)
  • Complete Owner Financing
  • Marketing
  • Branding and Design
  • Online Business Development
  • Promotional Materials

“Through our experience, we know that the more we provide the customer upfront, the more focused they will be able to do what they do best in the long run – and that is to sell great cuisine and provide superior customer experiences.”

Prestige Food Trucks custom builds, sells, buys, finances, leases and rents premium quality food trucks/mobile cafés & trailers to a wide range of clientele from sole-proprietors to nationwide chains. Their commitment is to offer complete turnkey development to their customers, from building to branding to getting on the street.

More information about Prestige Food Trucks is available online at http://www.prestigefoodtrucks.com.

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Insurance isn’t something that everyone thinks about when they get into the food truck business. At Progressive, we’ve noticed a sharp rise in the amount of food trucks we insure, with an increase of nearly 20% from 2011 to 2012. Food trucks are unique – they double as your work vehicle and your actual place of business. Knowing what insurance coverages you need for your truck will help you protect your investment.

Progressive-Insurance-LogoBelow are three coverages to consider as you insure your truck.

  • Liability coverage – If you are at-fault in an accident, liability coverage will help you pay for damage to the other vehicle.
  • Bodily Injury & Property Damage coverage – This coverage will help pay for injuries to people or damage to property caused by your truck.
  • Physical Damage coverage – There are two types of physical damage coverage – Comprehensive and Collision. Comprehensive coverage helps pay for damage to your truck caused by an event other than a collision, like fire, theft or vandalism. Collision coverage helps pay for damage caused to your truck if you hit something.
    • With both Comprehensive and Collision coverage, don’t just cover your truck, cover your equipment. If you have expensive grills or stoves, include them in your limits, so you’re not stuck paying to replace or fix them if you’re in an accident. Anything bolted to your truck can be covered by Comprehensive and Collision coverage. Keep all of your receipts to make the process as smooth as possible if you ever need to file a claim, and keep your coverage limits up-to-date as you update your truck with new equipment.

In addition to coverages, check how much each company is charging for an additional insured under your policy. The cost can vary greatly depending on your insurer. Also make sure you talk to an independent agent about coverages that go beyond your commercial auto coverage – coverages you still need for your business. This could include General Liability, Business Property to cover equipment that isn’t bolted to the vehicle and equipment breakdown coverage.

Knowing your coverage options puts you in a position to make the best commercial auto insurance decision. Whether you go through an agent or shop on your own, having the right coverage lets you work worry-free and concentrate on your food and your customers.

Win $5,000 for your food truck

In addition to insuring food trucks, Progressive is giving food truck owners the chance to win $5,000. All you have to do to enter is upload a picture of your food truck and tell us how you’d spend the money. Then encourage your customers, friends and family to go vote for you. The contest ends in July 2013. To enter, vote or get more details about the contest, visit http://www.progressivecommercial.com/hub/contests/2013-food-truck-contest.aspx#!/.

Rishi Arora is commercial auto product manager at Progressive. In business since 1937, Progressive is a market leader in commercial auto insurance and the #1 truck insurer. For more information on Progressive’s coverages or to find a local independent agent, go to http://www.progressivecommercial.com.

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Is your food truck’s fryer on the fritz? Does your oven need some lovin’? Is your range acting strange? Never fear! Flo is here to help you spruce up your food truck or catering vehicle just in time to help beat the summertime blues.

 Flo's Fabulous Food Truck Contest

A new contest announced by Progressive Insurance is asking you to share a photo of your food truck or catering vehicle and let them know how you’d spend $5,000 to take your truck from drab to fab. The contest encourages your family, friends, and followers to vote for your entry and you could be the big winner.

Are you getting ready to roll out your new food truck? Not to worry, those of you that are considering to open up a mobile food business can also submit an entry for a chance to win.

Not a food truck owner? Vote daily for your favorite food truck and help us determine who gets to drive away with the $5,000 grand prize.

Contest Requirements

Complete and submit the registration form including name, age, email address, and whether you own a commercial vehicle insurance policy. After completing the registration form, upload one (1) photo of your food truck or catering vehicle and a brief description of why you should selected as the winner.

Contest Timeline

Submission roundMay 18, 2013 @ 12:00 AM (EDT)July 18, 2013 @ 11:59 PM (EDT)
Voting roundMay 18, 2013 @ 12:00 AM (EDT)July 18, 2013 @ 11:59 PM (EDT)
Judging roundJuly 19, 2013 @ 11:59 PM (EDT)July 30, 2013 @ 11:59 PM (EDT)

Find the entire contest with rules and regulations at Progressive’s food truck contest site <here>

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Due to low inventories of food trucks, lower barrier to entry or just pure preference, food trailers are often a great option for people looking to get in the industry. However, you need to be aware of some pitfalls from an insurance perspective.

food trailer vs food truck

With a food truck, the kitchen and vehicle is combined to create a single vehicle exposure. However, a food trailer has the mobile kitchen exposure (trailer + kitchen) and a vehicle that is needed to tow the trailer to venues. Usually that tow vehicle is a truck they personally own or a vehicle they plan to  purchase. This is where most people think they can just get General Liability and Mobile Property coverage for the trailer and be done. Perhaps they are under the impression that the trailer is covered automatically under their personal auto insurance policy. Think again!

Many personal insurance policies have exclusions pertaining to business use and operation of the insured vehicle. They also have length limitations on trailers being towed by the insured vehicle. Most personal policies extend liability for the boat/motorcycle/etc trailers. However, carriers don’t intend to automatically cover business trailers for liability or property coverage. This means that you need to call your personal insurance carrier and tell them what you are doing.

Some personal insurance carriers have the ability to add a business use type endorsement to your personal policy. Despite this potential endorsement on the personal policy, you still need to purchase liability and mobile property coverage for your trailer. It is also possible that the insurance carrier may not be able to provide insurance based on it being a business vehicle or business trailer.

The safe way of protecting your business is purchasing a commercial auto policy for the tow vehicle and registered it under the business. This will help ensure that you will have coverage after a claim. If you are dead set on using your personal vehicle, you should add the business use endorsement and increase your liability limits. Don’t think that $50,000, $250,000 or $500,000 auto liability limits will cut it. All business vehicles should have at least a $1,000,000 liability limit.

One last advantage of having a commercial auto policy is that you can purchase an Excess Liability policy to provide additional limits. A commercial Excess Liability policy can provide extra coverage over your Auto Liability (and General Liability). Unfortunately, that will not be the case if you have the tow vehicle under a personal auto policy.

Hopefully this article prompted some questions in your mind. Perhaps it made you realize your planned or current insurance structure may not be the best way to protect your food trailer business. If so, make the changes sooner than later.

 

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tip of the day

A good driving record for you and the drivers of your food truck will help you maintain the best auto insurance rates. So to say that it’s important to have a good driving record is an understatement when it comes to keeping your monthly expenditures down.

Today’s Tip of the Day centers around driving and how to keep a clean driving record. No matter what the reason, should you rear-end a vehicle you are driving behind…it is your fault, and in all likelihood will result in a ticket for following the car in front of you too closely. To prevent this from happening, use the “three-second rule” to help prevent rear-end accidents.

The “three-second rule” accounts for your reaction time to the movements of the vehicle ahead and your vehicle’s stopping distance.

NOTE: You should add more time if the road is slippery or if you’re being crowded by a tailgater. Since full sized food trucks or trailers weigh so much and take a lot of time to brake, it couldn’t hurt to add a second or two.

The three-second rule:

  • When the vehicle ahead of you passes a stationary object, start counting:  1,001 … 1,002 …
  • The first second is your reaction time; the next two seconds account for your braking distance
  • You should not reach the object before you count to … 1,003. If you do, you are following too closely.

At a vehicle speed of 55 mph, the three-second rule creates a gap of 243 feet between vehicles.

 

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Congratulations…you just landed a great opportunity to serve food at a large office building lot, college campus, festival or movie studio. In the beginning, they may have asked if you had insurance and of course you said yes.

CTI Logo Twitter

 

You put a ton of work into planning, organizing and promoting…then they say “oh by the way…here are our insurance requirements”.  Suddenly you see the nitty gritty details of what they consider “adequate” insurance to serve food at their property/event.

Too often I see building management or property owners using the same contract for a general contractor as they would for a food truck. A food truck should not be required to purchase $1,000+ of extra premium for an event they are profiting $1,000 on. I get it, the location/venue/event is protecting themselves. However, don’t hand a food truck the same contract as you would a plumbing/electrical/etc contractor.

So I advise all of you food trucks out there to get the insurance requirements up front before you are knee deep in the process. Also don’t be afraid to negotiate some the of coverages and limits down.

Good luck out there!

Matt Carlson is an Insurance Broker at Risk Strategies Company (RSC) and specializes in insurance and risk management solutions for food trucks/catering trucks and restaurants across the United States. He is a foodie and second generation commercial insurance broker. He provides his clients with General Liability, Auto, Workers’ Compensation and other coverages. Matt currently insures over 30+ food trucks across the country. Some of his more notable clients are Kogi BBQ and the Grilled Cheese Truck. Visit www.cateringtruckinsurance.com to download a quote application. You can also go to www.risk-strategies.com to learn more about the Top 100 national insurance broker he represents.

 

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