Differences Between Insuring Food Trailers and Food Trucks

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 differences between insuring food trailers and food trucks.

Differences Between Insuring Food Trailers and Food Trucks

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 mobile food 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.

The Bottom Line

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.

To continue discussion on the topic of insuring food trailers and food trucks join us on social media. Facebook | Twitter

2017-03-31T08:42:22+00:00 By |Insurance|

About the Author:

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. Contact: mcarlson@risk-strategies.com Website: http://www.cateringtruckinsurance.com/


  1. Insuring Your Food Truck « Street Food Locator Jun 20, 2013 at 4:06 am

    […] Differences Between Insuring Food Trailers and Food Trucks […]

  2. Joel Paprocki Sep 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Very good overview. Many of my food trailer insurance clients, transition to a business auto, as they find more events that require it. Another angle to consider is that the food trailer owner does not own a tow vehicle, and they rent or hire a tow vehicle. An endorsement can be added to your policy for these scenarios, hired auto and/or non-owned auto.

  3. Melinda Burriola Jun 29, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Joel Paprocki, so are you suggesting getting the insurance for the food trailer under a personal insurance policy (added to my existing) and adding an endorsement for the tow vehicle?

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