Does public liability insurance cover food poisoning? 

What does public liability insurance cover?  

Public liability insurance protects a business in the event that it causes injury or damage to a member to the public or their property.  

Damage or injury could be something very minor, like staining a shirt because something was spilt on it. It could also be something major, like life changing injuries or even death.  

Does public liability insurance include food poisoning cover? 

Food poisoning counts as an ‘injury’. Your public liability insurance will normally cover you if something you do results in a customer or member of the public suffering from food poisoning.  

The reason that it occurred could be due to several factors. For example, something may not have been cooked properly, the fridge may have failed, or you may not have realised that ingredients had expired.   

Do I need cover if I’m not a restaurant or café owner?   

Many businesses may think food poisoning is unlikely to be an issue. However, even businesses that are not cafés or restaurants may find themselves providing food or drink to members of the public.  

Consider the following: 

  • You provide a client with tea or coffee which unknowingly contains contaminated water. 
  • As a plumber, a client’s water source becomes contaminated because of a mistake you made. 
  • While hosting a small event, you provide sandwiches and snacks which cause someone to fall ill.  

I run a café or restaurant. Does my policy cover me for this?  

Usually. If you are in any doubt, check with your insurance provider.  

When you originally applied for your insurance cover, you should have told your insurers the nature of your business and the sort of catering you will be doing. Your policy should be tailored to meet those requirements. 

I deliver food. Do I need cover?  

If you are involved in the delivery of food, you should ensure you have appropriate public liability cover. Even if you don’t have anything to do with food preparation, things can still go wrong which may be your fault.