CHEF INSURANCE

liability INSURANCE - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS



WHY DO I NEED GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE?

Working in the foodservice industry, you are handling food every day, and the risks to your client's health and your personal safety are of the utmost importance.  What happens when a client claims that they had an allergic reaction to something that you prepared?  No matter how experienced you are, none of us are infallible and accidents can happen to anyone.  What if the reaction was caused by the client consuming something else that day, not the food you prepared?  Are you going to have the time and know-how of how to deal with this?

Whether it's cross-contamination causing food poisoning or a cut to your hand while chopping or even damage to the client's property or a commercial kitchen that you are using, the risks to your business and to you personally are high.  For the price of a cup of coffee a day, you can get liability insurance to protect you, your business and your clients, letting you focus on what you love most - cooking great food!


WHAT IS A DEDUCTIBLE?

Insurance pays for substantial losses, not minor ones. The deductible is the amount for which you are self-insured, and they help to keep insurance premiums low. The higher the deductible you select, the lower your annual insurance premiums.



WHAT TYPES OF CHEF BUSINESS WOULD BE COVERED BY THE LIABILITY INSURANCE?

The policy may cover the following services; there are too many variables, so if you don't see your business listed, contact us and we'll let you know.


  • Personal Chef services conducted in a client's home or premises, with up to 20 diners.  For this service, food must be prepared on-site, not in a commercial kitchen or elsewhere.  It can apply to the traditional personal chef service (customised freezer-friendly meals), private cooking classes in a client's home or commercial premises, dinner parties, BBQs, menu planning services, mis-en-place services etc. 
  • onsite catering with up to 200 guests - this option can be added at any time throughout your membership.
  • some items prepared for sale at Farmer's Markets and fairs; please provide information to our office for verification (see below).
  • some items sold directly to consumers, not through retail locations; please provide information to our office for verification (see below).
  • recreational cooking lessons up to 20 people; please provide information to our office for verification (see below).
  • baked goods created by Artisan or Personal bakers, making one-off custom cakes for various clients (if selling a set product line through stores, it would not fit); please provide information to our office for verification (see below).
  • prepared meal service, where meals are prepared in a commercial kitchen, packaged and then the client picks them up from the location; please provide information to our office for verification (see below).
  • preparing meals in the Chef's own home (subject to municipal licensing, health and safety protocols etc) for clients, where the clients can either have the meals delivered or picked up from the home (recommended that Chefs have a lawyer draft a release for the clients, indicating that they understand that the meals will be prepared in Chef's kitchen not a commercial facility, and that transporting foods must be done in accordance with food safety protocols); please provide information to our office for verification (see below).
  • cooking at a licensed kitchen in a school, or similar facility, for people to pick up meals for take-out; please provide information to our office for verification (see below).



WILL MY HOME INSURANCE COVER MY HOME BUSINESS?

A home insurance policy offers a small coverage limit for books, tools and instruments necessary for a business, profession or occupation. If you operate a business from home, you should inform your insurance agent and obtain additional coverage to mitigate the risk of a potential loss. There may also be limits on your home insurance and it may not be adequate for all of the equipment used by your business.​ 


Some claims may be covered by the insurance that comes with membership, if the claims are in respect to business related incidents, and you run your business from home.



I'VE BEEN HIRED TO COOK FOR A WEDDING for 150 guests.  CAN I GET EXTRA INSURANCE?

It's always great to hear success stories!  The standard policy only covers events up to 20 people.  The insurance company needs to be aware of all personal chef or catered events over 20 people in order for the events to be covered by the insurance.  Don't leave anything to chance.  You can get additional coverage for multiple events of up to 200 people (Large Event Coverage or LEC) for a nominal fee.  Simply call or email us so that we can get all of the required information.


DOES THE INSURANCE COVER ME WORKING IN A RESTAURANT OR for a CATERING COMPANY ETC?

No - Restaurants/ catering companies etc. will (we hope!!) have their own liability insurance should anything go wrong.


IS MY HOME BUSINESS EQUIPMENT COVERED WHEN IT'S IN MY CAR?


Any equipment or supplies stolen from or damaged while in your car will not be covered under your auto or home insurance policies.  It is important to have coverage under the home business endorsement policy or a specific commercial policy.



WHAT IF I DO NOT DECLARE A HOME-BASED BUSINESS AND SOMETHING HAPPENS TO MY EQUIPMENT?


You must declare your home-based business to your insurer or the business equipment will not be covered under your homeowner’s policy. Not disclosing a home-based business to your insurer can result in your policy being voided by the insurer, as operating a business from home would be a material change of the risk that they insure.


​Some claims may be covered by the insurance that comes with membership, if the claims are in respect to business related incidents, and you run your business from home.



CAN I PREPARE FOOD AT HOME AND DELIVER TO THE CLIENT?

Most municipalities have very strict laws regarding where food for sale can be prepared and how it can be transported.  These laws protect the client from food-borne illnesses should food be prepared in a kitchen that has not been inspected and passed by the health department; there are also risks to the food during transportation, if it is not transported in a refrigerated truck, for example.  The General Liability Insurance included in membership may not cover your business if you do not adhere to related laws should anything go wrong.

​Personal Chefs avoid these issues by transporting the raw ingredients to the client's home, and preparing all of the meals in the client's kitchen. 


For catering, you can use a licensed, inspected commercial kitchen or have your home kitchen inspected and approved by your local Health Department.  If you are doing the later, you must notify your Home Insurance provider that you are running a business there.


Transporting food also carries risks.  You may consider having your clients pick up the prepared meals from the place of preparation, but should have clear instructions for the client on how to transport and store the food to keep it 'food safe'.  Some members may have access to continuous temperature food storage bags/boxes to keep hot/cold food at safe levels.


Having a waiver or contract addressing transportation, handling and storage recommendations with your clients is highly recommended for all situations where you hand over the control of the food to the client.


I MAKE JELLIES & JAMS, BAKED GOODS, VEGAN/VEGETARIAN MEALS ETC. THAT I SELL AT LOCAL events, FARMER'S MARKETS & TRADE SHOWS.  IS THIS COVERED?

This type of service may be covered by the policy; however there are restrictions.  Contact our office for details.


If you are preparing any type of food for sale, the facility you are cooking in should be inspected and have the approval of your local Health Department.



DOES THE INSURANCE COVER ME FOR LARGE EVENTS, E.G. TRADE SHOWS?

There are a number of factors involved that can affect the answer to this question. For example:
What are the requirements of the event organisers?  Do they need to be added as a 'named insured?'  What is your participation in the event?  Are you being hired to hand out product samples?  Are you catering for a large group?  Are you doing a cooking demo or holding a cooking lesson?  Where is the event being held, and how many days will the event last?  Are you preparing food on-site or off-site?

In some cases, a simple rider added to your certificate will suffice at no extra cost.  In other cases, you may be required to take out additional coverage for that event.  Our experienced insurance contacts will be able to answer your questions, and will quote you at the best rates available, if applicable, should this be required.



I HAVE ACCESS TO A KITCHEN IN A LOCAL CHURCH.  CAN I PREPARE FOOD THERE AND THEN TRANSPORT IT TO A CLIENT'S HOME or an event?

The Chef Alliance does not approve of, or endorse, any of its members providing food-related services except as permitted by the laws and regulations of our respective jurisdictions, and as covered in the liability insurance policy.  

Using church kitchens or those in service clubs, organisations or schools as a location to cook food and then for you to transport it to clients may not be covered by the policy.  You should use legal, inspected commercial kitchens and should abide by your local health & safety regulations, both while cooking and transporting the prepared foods.  


You may need to have a refrigerated van to transport the prepared foods or specialty equipment to hold the prepared food in etc.  Some members may have access to continuous temperature food storage bags/boxes to keep hot/cold food at safe levels.


Should you decide to proceed without taking the recommended safeguards, you may not be covered by the policy.  Should anything go wrong, you may be wholly responsible.  This could be a costly mistake
.



I PROVIDE RECREATIONAL COOKING CLASSES AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS.  DOES THE INSURANCE COVER THIS SERVICE?

Yes.  The policy covers recreational classes up to 20 attendees.  The facilities may ask that you add them to your certificate of insurance.  This can be done easily for little or no cost.  Simply contact our office for details.



IS IT OK FOR ATTENDEES OF MY COOKING CLASSES TO THE TAKE THE FOOD HOME.


You should provide clients with handling and storage instructions for any food that they take away, so that if the items need to be refrigerated, the instructions clearly indicate this.  Having a disclaimer on your invoice/quotes/receipts etc would also be helpful; members get special-priced legal consultations for this.  The last thing you need is for someone to take food home, leave them on the counter-top or in their car and then eat the food a few hours later - a food-illness disaster waiting to happen!


I PROVIDE A MEAL PREPARATION SERVICE WHERE I COOK MEALS FROM MY HOME (WHICH HAS BEEN INSPECTED AND APPROVED BY THE APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES) AND THESE MEALS ARE PICKED UP BY MY CLIENTS ON THEIR WAY HOME FROM WORK.  DOES THE INSURANCE COVER THIS SERVICE?

Yes, this type of service may be covered by the policy.  However, there are some restrictions, which our team can discuss with you - contact us for details.



I create custom dessert tables for private events and sell desserts & cookies at local events, farmers markets and for special orders. Do you provide insurance for this?


Yes; selling food & drink products directly to consumers and private catering events is typically covered by the liability insurance provided with our membership**.



CAN I SERVE OR PURCHASE ALCOHOL FOR AN EVENT OR CLIENT?


The purchase of alcohol is not permitted unless you have been granted a licence by your local liquor control board.  Serving alcohol at an event is not covered by the insurance policy, irrespective of whether you have Safe Serve certification.  Wine recommendations and the use of alcohol as a cooking ingredient (where the alcohol is 'burned off') are permitted.



Can I host a food drive auction event for charity? i.e. auction desserts to the community for pick-up from the commercial kitchen location where i make them.


Yes; that would be fine. It would be covered.



Can I deliver meals or other food items that I make in a commercial kitchen?


Delivering food should always be done in a food-safe manner, using temperature controlled, food-safe bags or boxes, a refrigerated truck or deliver services such as Skip-The-Dishes, Uber Eats etc.



I provide a few different services - will they all be covered under one membership or do I need one membership for each?


If all of the services are provided under one business name/ entity, then only one membership is required.  So, for example, if you provide private cooking lessons, attend at a weekly farmers market to sell your vegan dips, and also cater private and corporate events, these would be covered under one membership.