Liability insurance for selling at farmers markets

deansfba(z9 SanFranArea)March 13, 2007

Does anyone have any suggestions for companies who sell liability insurance to people whose 'farm' is the back yard? This is harder than I thought...

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I have a rider on my homeowners policy which gives me liability at my small farm stand and at the farmers market plus product liability. It is only an extra $30 a year. Check with your homeowners first, and if that company can't do it, ask others.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 5:52PM
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deansfba(z9 SanFranArea)

I tried my homeowners first and he wouldn't touch it. Others wanted me to take their homeowners as a condition...which I'd prefer to avoid. The ones I've gotten tentatively are in the $500 range...When you're working with less than a 1/4 of an acre this seems like a lot of selling to pay this off, especially when many agents admit they have never had a claim....
I'm trying with my county farmers bureau now to get their recs....

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 6:34PM
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First, rates depend partially on the state. I only have something like $100,000/300,000.
Some have a million dollar coverage and some farmers markets require that. If I needed that, I'd have to go for a farm policy.
Second, I go through a local agent who has several companies to choose from. I am not sure which one mine is right now. But the agent looks at companies that he works with to find which one(s) might cover what I need.
I'm pretty sure the actual company that covers me is not a national company, but rather just PA or regional.
So, I guess you have to do some homework.
Your $500 figure is what I'd have to pay for a FARM policy that would cover everything...home, farm, farmers markets, etc. for $1 million total. The $500 was a figure I got 2-3 years ago. At this time, I pay either $200 or $250 for the year, for the lower liability limits, including the rider for the farmers markets and my stand.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 7:11PM
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silverwind(z5 IL)

Does anyone have any ideas on what to do if you're not a homeowner? :( We rent. :P

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 11:26PM
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Do you have to carry liability insurance to sell at farmers markets? I'm going to be doing herbs and cut flowers, and possibly mushrooms, at the local farmers market this year. They don't require insurance.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 3:15PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

our farmers market is requiring 1,000,000 liability insurance this year because of all the food claims that have been made regarding vegetables/produce. I did find a business liability policy through a local independent insurance agent that costs $333 a year. So you might want to check with an independent insurance agent. Our homeowners is through State Farm, they won't touch it.
Some markets require insurance, some don't. Ours didn't last year.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 6:08PM
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Check with your local countys FARM BUREAU , Their weekly paper AG Alert has ins agents advertising in it.
Youo can find it on line if a member os FB

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 7:00PM
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I'm in Indiana, and for the first time in 10 yrs our farmers market are requiring a copy of our auto and business insurance. Auto insurance is not a problem, but finding insurance to cover the farmers market is being a problem. I only sell fruits, vegetables, herbs and plants. Any suggestions on which companies MIGHT cover me. At this time, I don't have farm or homeowners insurance. I own 28 acres. Any help will be appreciated.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 7:06PM
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Join either the farm bureau or farmers union and you can get liability insurance for your farm/produce. I do not know the cost.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 5:31PM
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Thanks for the info. I'm checking into the farmers union, and will check the farm bureau agent this week.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 7:22PM
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I went to an agent for Grange insurance, and found out with sales of $7,000, they could insure me for about $300/yr. the agent also checked out AutoOwners for a policy and came back with $125/yr. both have 1 million coverage.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 3:10PM
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I will be baking for my local market in MA. I've been told insurance would cost $350-$500 which seems like a lot for 8 weeks of baking. My homeowners won't touch it either. If the town doesn't require it, should I still get it?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 8:23AM
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>>If the town doesn't require it, should I still get it?yes.

i recommend a consultation with a CPA and attorney familiar with the laws in your state and county/city, it is well worth the cost.
you may want to incorporate (LLC) your business and separate the business assets and liability from your personal assets and liability.

getting everything set up correctly up front will save you much hassle and headache in the long run. you never know if or when your recipe/product/business may take off bigger than you expected.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 5:53PM
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I received the following message from Christie Welsh who is sort of the FM liason with the OH. St. Extension Service:

Thanks, Sharon, for weighing in. Greg, as to your question, which I notice you also posted on FMC's facebook page, I wanted to chime in and respond.

There are more and more enterprises geared at serving the farmers market sector just about every day, it seems, and we at FMC are often in the position of 'scoping them out.' We do this not necessarily with a goal of endorsement, but because it's due diligence to be able to respond to questions like yours. In some cases, companies seek our input about the strengths and weaknesses of their business models-- a service we can provide, obviously, only on a very limited basis. This was the case with Farmers Market Insure Now, with whom I've personally had several phone and email conversations, as have members of the board of directors. There were initially some concerns about aspects of their general liability policy, which we spelled out and which were ultimately addressed by the company. Based on our analysis, they are "legit," and the policy coverage, on paper, comparable to others out there. However,their rather unique model (involving membership in a FM Insurance Association where "All producers in the market must have a liability policy" to be eligible for the 50% discount) might understandably be a turnoff for some markets. Other markets already requiring producer liability coverage may find their compliance monitoring toolkit helpful.

As Sharon suggests, there are MANY MANY insurance brokers out there, and in the end, a market or farmer will go where they feel the policy best meets their needs and with whom they have a good working relationship. Relationships are what we're all about in this movement, right? ;)

For the record, the insurance webinar powerpoints (and registration links to upcoming webinars) are at Deb Connors from the City Market in Kansas City shared some of her producer compliance checklists in the most recent webinar this Monday, and those are available in our resource library at

Thanks to everyone for the lively discussion!

Stacy M. Miller
Executive Director
Farmers Market Coalition
Office: 410-667-0583
Cell: 304-685-2669
Donate : Join : Renew
Farmers markets are good for everyone. Join us to make them even better.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 12:19PM
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My local farmers market requires liability insurance, and my insurance guy is going to tack $30 onto our yearly homeowners policy for it.

But I've just heard from the farmers market that "because the insurance is designed to protect the vendor, the market, AND the private
property on which the market is located, we do need the City and the
property owner listed as insureds on the policy / certificate as follows..."

Is this common? Shouldn't the city and the property have their own liability insurance, and I have mine for my booth?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 3:15PM
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They probably do have their own, but they need to be listed as an additional insured. Standard practice from what I hear.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 5:32PM
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Unless you have a LARGE market and can sell a LOT of produce I would just skip the market.

We sell over 50k a year, mostly to chefs. The markets are a dismal last place for sales. CSA, institutions, etc. are where the money is. They will be much less likely to try and pin food safety issues on you compared to people at the market. The market types even have the gall to come back the next week and say your strawberries went bad after four days. FOUR DAYS.

Liabilty insurance for the farmer's market is crazy unless you are selling 10K or more there.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 6:43AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Our home and auto company State Farm is giving me a quote right now. I didn't think they covered that but they must to some extent. We'll see what they say for market and product liability.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 12:34PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Yeah, idiot guy. They offered me a $1 million liability just for the market stand for about $300 per year. They did not offer product liability and he should have just said so off the bat. then he was just going to sign me up before he gave me the details. I asked what it covered for $300 and that was when I found out it was just the stand. So $25 per month year round when I only sell from mid May to mid October and it just covered accidents at market! I don't make enough to use that.
He did give me the number of a guy who is an independent insurance man that works with various policies. I am going to call him now.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:44PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I am waiting for the quote but haven't gotten the call. I just remembered she never called back after Wednesday. I hope that doesn't mean there is nothing for me.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 8:22PM
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I find that I usually have to park myself in their office to get a quote that might be easy. Definitely an independent, they'll have more options as far as companies to work with.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 8:54AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

As soon as I have $340 I will finally have liability insurance. It will cover anything I sell to any customer and accidents at market. I have had way too much spending this year so far so I have to wait a couple weeks to pay this. It is Capitol Indemnity Corp.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 7:33PM
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I'm sure you've check to see if they will take payments? Mine did, but it wasn't with the same company.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 9:05AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

They said they did but it comes to more in the long run. So it is cheaper to pay it up front.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Because I sell soap and toiletry products AND produce, no local insurer would touch me. I tried grange. I tried farm bureau. I tried my home policy. I tried a broker who put it out to a bunch of companies. It was totally ridiculous. I ended up going with Campbell Risk Management. It's a blanket policy for 1 million for anything I sell, at any market (I sell at two). My markets require a policy. Last year it was $250. This year it is $289. The specialize in this, and a lot of FM Associations are recommending them.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 3:37PM
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Only reason I suggested payments was to 'get you going'. I've done that when money was tight. Yes you usually pay more, but in my case it totalled less than $20 to make monthly payments. It hurt less just lasted longer, like removing a band-aid.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 6:00AM
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