Hot surfaces. Sharp knives. Food-related illnesses. Cleanliness issues. Restaurant owners face risks most other business owners don’t. And that’s in addition to the typical risks most businesses deal with, like damage to your workplace or loss of important records. Learn about the insurance coverage restaurants like yours typically need, and most often purchase, from The Hartford.

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Business Owner's Policy

  Rated 4.8/5 by Small Business Owners (1751 Reviews)

At a minimum, most restaurants have a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP). Why? Because it helps protect your business in much the same way that a homeowner’s policy protects your home and personal possessions.

By combining some of the most important coverages small business owners need, including Business Liability, Business Property and Business Income, a BOP can save you money while helping to safeguard what you’ve worked hard to build. It also provides an easy way to purchase optional, additional coverage tailored to your business.

The place where you do business – whether you own or lease it – is vital to your day-to-day operations. And, no matter how careful you are, unexpected events, such as fire or vandalism, can and do happen. Having property coverage could mean the difference between complete catastrophe and a minor blip. You should consider property insurance that not only covers damage to your buildings and furniture, but also your computers and the other things you need to keep your business up and running.

These days, even the most careful business owners can be sued. And, even if the outcome is in your favor, the legal costs can be staggering. Business Liability coverage helps protect your business from the cost of claims for damages caused by your employees, products and some services. It also helps cover the cost of your defense. So, how much coverage do you need? That depends on the size of your restaurant, how many customers you serve along with other factors. An insurance agent – or a representative from The Hartford – can help answer your questions.

In addition to Business Property and Liability coverage, a BOP may include Business Income coverage (also referred to as Business Interruption coverage). This helps cover loss of income when you can’t run your business because of covered property damage caused by an unexpected event. For example, a fire causes your business to close for 3 days while repairs are made. Business Income coverage can help you meet ongoing financial obligations, like rent and payroll.

Optional Coverages Businesses Like Yours Often Buy

We all depend on services such as power and communication in our everyday lives. For restaurants, these services are essential to the work you do.

Service interruptions are often beyond your control. But think about the impact it could have on your income if you need to shut down because:

  • A storm downs power lines and computer service is not available for several days.
  • A water main bursts, cutting off the water supply to your business. Due to the extensive work involved in repairing the break, you can’t open for 2 days.

Unfortunately, 40% of small businesses forced to close due to a storm will never reopen.* The Hartford’s OPUS coverage helps replace lost income, so you can pay ongoing expenses like rent and payroll. And, our coverage automatically includes features you won’t find from many other insurance companies, including:

  • Only a 12-hour waiting period before coverage begins
  • A $25,000 starting minimum coverage limit

* Source: Protecting Your Businesses, FEMA, last updated 3/1/2013

Restaurants depend on their computers to run their businesses, from inputting orders, maintaining employee files and booking reservations to scheduling staff, restaurant shipments and vendor appointments. Think about what would happen if:

  • The computers in your office were damaged, and you lose your best customer contact list.
  • An employee mistakenly opens an email attachment that contains a virus. The virus crashes your network and corrupts your client records.

Computers and Media coverage will help pay to research and replace the lost data so you can get back to running your business.

Restaurant businesses often store information about their employees and customers, including social security and debit/credit card numbers. If that information is lost or stolen, it could leave your business vulnerable to lawsuits, regulatory fines, penalties and a damaged reputation.

Contrary to popular belief, the risk of a data breach is not just a problem for big business and hacking isn’t the only way a breach can occur. Consider what could happen if:

  • An employee’s car is broken into and a laptop containing clients’ personally identifiable information is stolen.
  • An email containing sensitive customer information is sent to the wrong person.
  • Customers’ credit card numbers are taken during a break-in.

Many business owners aren’t aware of the costs associated with a data breach – or the actions they may need to take to address the liabilities they face when their paper or virtual records are lost or stolen. If you collect or store any personally identifiable information on employees or clients, you should consider data breach coverage.

The Hartford’s data breach program offers coverage to help pay for costs associated with notifying impacted individuals, managing public relations, good faith advertising and legal liability expenses. Customers also have access to services that can help reduce the likelihood of a breach and assistance to help navigate a breach if one occurs.

In your kitchen, cleanliness is key. But even the most careful chef could unintentionally serve contaminated food.

Imagine how much it could cost your business if several patrons become ill after eating at your restaurant and the local public health authority closes you down for five days or more while they investigate.

That's why many restaurant owners purchase Food Contamination coverage. It can help pay for:

  • Lost business income when a covered location is closed down by a Public Health Authority because of contaminated food.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing contaminated equipment costs.
  • Replacing contaminated food.
  • Costs associated with testing and treating ill employees.

Did you know you could be sued for bodily injury or property damage caused by a vehicle not owned by your business but used for company business? This can include a rented or hired vehicle.

How could this happen?

  • An employee, using their own vehicle, hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk while picking up napkins and other supplies for your restaurant.
  • You rent a vehicle to attend a food service or restaurant supply convention and rear-end another car, causing damage to the other vehicle and injuring the driver.
  • An employee, using their own car, hits a telephone pole while running daily business errands.

The fact is, personal auto policies generally don’t provide coverage when a vehicle being used for business purposes is involved in an accident. If you or your employees use your personal vehicles for business, you probably need Non-Owned / Hired Car coverage.

*For businesses without owned or long-term leased vehicles that would need to be covered on a Business Auto policy.

You're thoughtful about the types – and quantity – of liquor you serve your customers. But, every now and then, something can go wrong.

Did you know you could be held financially responsible if:

  • An intoxicated patron leaves your restaurant and hits another car – killing the driver – on their way home?
  • A patron is injured in a fight after drinking at your restaurant?

That's why many restaurateurs purchase Liquor Liability Coverage. It can help cover your legal costs, court fees, and any civil or criminal damages resulting from the sale of liquor at your restaurant.

Did you know you could be held liable for damages to a property you rent for business?

Imagine how much it could cost you if you’re held responsible for leaving a sink running that overflows and causes damage to the space you rent. And, think how much more it could cost if the water flows next door and causes damage to another tenant’s property.

Tenant’s Legal Liability coverage helps protect you if your landlord sues you for damage you cause to property you rent or if you cause damage to the property of another tenant in the same building or complex.

Did you know your business could suffer a significant income loss because someone else’s property is damaged? It's true.

Imagine what could happen if your restaurant supplier’s property is damaged and they can't provide you with the products or supplies you need to run your business.

Business Income from Dependent Properties coverage helps pay for your lost business income when a major supplier or distributor suffers a loss and must close while their damaged property is being repaired or replaced.

Optional Employee Coverages

Restaurant employees handle a great deal of sensitive personal information, especially credit and debit card numbers. That means employee theft can pose significant risk to your business.

Imagine what could happen if:

  • Your employee uses a client’s debit card number to steal funds.
  • An employee enters a fake vendor into your payables system and begins cutting checks to that vendor that the employee ultimately cashes.

Employee Dishonesty coverage helps compensate you for financial loss resulting from the fraudulent acts of an employee or a group of employees. 

Cooks, waiters, dishwashers and hosts – it takes a team to run a successful restaurant. And, the benefits you provide to your employees help keep them engaged and motivated to do great work.

However, errors in administering your employee benefits could be costly. Have you thought about what could happen if your benefits administrator fails to enroll an eligible employee in your group health plan, and the employee is later denied coverage? You, the employer, could be held responsible for the employee’s healthcare costs – and maybe more.

Employee Benefits Liability coverage helps protect your business if you are sued for an error or omission related to the administration of your employee benefits program, including your group health insurance. 

As a small business owner, you likely see your employees as extended family. You may even employ members of your family. So that must mean you’re safe from employee lawsuits, right? Actually, they can happen to anyone – and the financial repercussions can be hefty, whether you win or lose.

You could find yourself the target of an employment-related lawsuit, for example, if:

  • A former employee claims he was wrongfully terminated.
  • A current employee files a complaint claiming she was denied a promotion because she is the primary caregiver for her two children.

Also keep in mind that you don’t need to do anything wrong to be sued. And whether you’ve done something wrong or not, you need to defend yourself and defense costs can be staggering. The Hartford’s Business Owner’s Policy provides $10,000 of EPL coverage, but many small business owners purchase more -- up to $1MM with The Hartford.1 And when you purchase additional coverage, you’ll have access to:

  • The Jackson Lewis Helpline which includes, among other services, access to live legal advice on employment practices and procedures. 2
  •, a proprietary website providing access to a host of employment practices resources.

1 Employment Practices Liability coverage is not available in all states or to all types of businesses. The $10,000 limit applies to business written in Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd. A $5,000 limit applies to business written in all other Spectrum Business Owner’s Policy class plans. The EPL coverage described herein does not apply to EPL coverage written in California. There is no built in EPL coverage in Minnesota or New York. Limits up to $1MM are available to policies written in Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd. Limits up to $500,000 are available to business written in all other underwriting companies. Limits above $1,000,000 may be available through a separate Hartford policy.

2 Jackson Lewis is one of the largest law firms in the country specializing in employment law and related categories. The Help Line is not a substitute for the retention of legal counsel to obtain ongoing legal advice on specific problems, such as adverse personnel actions. Rather, it is designed to provide quick answers to basic or general questions. Inquiries that may require extensive research, review of personnel documentation or preparation of personnel policies or forms are beyond the scope of the Help Line service. The Hartford and Jackson Lewis LLP disclaim all liability with respect to any information provided during a Help Line call and/or any of the services described above. Please be aware that accessing the services described above will not constitute the filing of a notice of claim.

Stretching Your Dollar

It doesn’t have to be expensive to get valuable extra coverage for your restaurant. It’s possible to stretch your dollar through our Stretch® endorsements. For restaurants, we offer:

  • Restaurant Stretch
  • Super Stretch for Restaurants
  • Super Stretch for Business Services

These industry-focused endorsements bundle key coverages for businesses like yours, providing a cost-effective solution that helps take the guesswork out of selecting the coverage needed to help protect your business. 


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Workers’ Compensation

  Rated 4.8/5 by Small Business Owners (1879 Reviews)

If you have one or more employees, you probably need workers' compensation ("workers' comp") insurance – most states require it. Without it, you may be held personally liable for the cost of your employees' medical care for a work-related injury or illness and even their wages while they’re recovering. Not to mention, some states have laws with fines for failing to purchase coverage.

The laws vary by state, but full-time and part-time employees are generally covered by workers' comp. In some states, business owners, partners and officers must be covered too. Also, keep in mind that the definition of "employee" can vary by state. If you use subcontractors, it’s important to find out whether they’re considered employees. If you've issued your sub, or anyone else, a 1099, they may be eligible for coverage under your workers' comp policy.

Workers' comp provides benefits to your employees for work-related injuries or illnesses. And depending on the state you do business in, it could include medical care, wages from lost work time, rehab, disability benefits and survivor or death benefits. And, if one of your workers gets hurt on the job and their family decides to sue you, workers' comp can help you with related legal fees and more.

Providing workers' comp coverage for more than a century, The Hartford's program sets the standard for value, innovation and injured worker care.

Business Auto

  Rated 4.6/5 by Small Business Owners (525 Reviews)

For some, a Business Auto policy conjures up images of a fleet of vehicles used to deliver a vast quantity of food and beverages to a chain of restaurants. The truth is, you may need a Business Auto policy for vehicles used in the typical operation of your business. This could include vehicles used to:

  • Travel to pick up or drop off food or restaurant supplies.
  • Run errands to pick up the mail or office supplies, or to make a deposit at the bank.

And, if you or your employees use a personal vehicle for these types of activities, consider that personal auto policies generally don’t provide coverage when a personally-owned vehicle, used for business purposes, is involved in an accident. Not sure if you need a Business Auto policy? An insurance agent – or a representative from The Hartford – can help you decide.

The Hartford’s Business Auto policy includes 19 coverage enhancements, without separate elections or additional premium charges. And, features like our Fender Bender and Accident Forgiveness programs help keep premiums low.


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