market stall liability

If you have an indoor or outdoor market stall from which you sell any manner of goods to the public, you might consider yourself to be trading in a very safe environment where risk potential is minimal.

So, too, do thousands of other business people who operate in different sectors and are, for example, office based. Their public liability risks are of varying natures to yours, although you also share numerous common risks with them.

Any business that comes in to contact with members of the public does – and, in your case, you perhaps deal with the public moreso than many other sectors. Selling your wares to the public is your aim and your livelihood. Your workplace is in the public domain rather than in a private office or other business premises.

Resultantly, the onus on you to carefully consider suitable liability protection is potentially far greater than that on other business types and needs to be taken with the utmost seriousness.

Bearing in mind what liability cover means to any business, it offers financial protection and peace of mind in case any instances should occur where you might be held legally responsible for damages, injuries or illnesses caused to members of the public. In your working environment, you are quite probably used to expecting the unexpected.

As your entire business revolves around enticing the public to your stall and ultimately selling your goods to them, the potential for accidents and mishaps is immense.

Whilst the public are your most immediate concern when perusing policies, they are not your only one. It is one thing to think about the amounts and different types of accidents, damages to their property and even illnesses that might befall your customers whilst they are actually present at your stall – or following their visit to you stall, particularly if you sell foodstuffs.

It is another to do a ‘stocktake’ of other people you come in to contact with on a regular basis and other environments apart from your stall where you do business.

A liability policy is legally optional rather than obligatory, although common sense prevails for many market traders, who acknowledge the clear and present daily potential for adverse incidents. Taking the need for insurance as read, there are perhaps other aspects of your business requiring additional indemnity cover that you have flagged up via your ‘stocktake’ or risk assessment of your set up.

What Other Liability Considerations Are Pertinent for Market Traders?

Savvy market traders and stall holders are generally only too aware of the risks they face in relation to members of the public doing business with them and accordingly opt for suitable liability coverage. As already established, these risks are daily, voluminous and can range from the most minor of property damage or injury to major accidents and illnesses.

That is the public side of this type of business cover sorted, but why not try asking yourself the following questions about how you conduct your business:-

  • Do you purchase your stock from Wholesalers or other suppliers?
  • Do you collect your stock from your suppliers’ premises or do they deliver it your stall, home or alternative business premises?
  • Do you keep holding stock at your stall, at home in storage or at alternative business premises?
  • Do you use a van or other vehicle type that can be classed as a commercial vehicle to transport your stock to your stall?
  • Do you operate as a sole trader or do you employ anyone else outside your immediate family circle to help you run your business?

Your answers to at least a few if not all of these questions are most likely yes. And for every box ticked, a new liability consideration that might not previously have occurred to you is now presented.

Sounds Complicated?

It need not be – most aspects of cover for market traders are more clearcut than you might expect if you have done a little basic pre-preparation and can provide honest, sensible information.

It is also worth stepping back for a second and reminding yourself that policy cover means far more to you than a way of insurance companies getting their hands on your money by force feeding you with worst case scenarios.

If you regularly visit Wholesalers to buy new stock, your liability cover could prove your saving grace if you were to cause accidental damage to their premises or unintentional injury to a member of their staff. Likewise if they deliver stock to you, either directly to your stall or another premises where you hold your stock.

Whether you keep your excess and new stock at your stall, at home or at another business premises, you might have future cause to claim against your insurance for damages or theft. You must be upfront about your business premises when applying for a liability policy. If you have suppliers visiting you, either at your stall, your home or a lockup, the potential risks whilst they are on your premises are equal to those of a one man band business working from a home office or small rented unit.

Commercial vehicles require separate cover besides your liability. What a PLI policy does include, however, is cover for goods damaged or stolen in transit. This is a welcome plus point that works in the reverse direction of claims being made against you and your business.

If you employ anyone to assist you in the running of your market stall – and this might include ‘back office’ staff, besides additional team members on your stall itself – Employers Liability is legally essential. You are classed as any other employer across all sectors and sizes of companies, with the responsibility of safeguarding your business against any accidents, damages or illnesses suffered by your staff carrying out business on your behalf.

Market traders have numerous considerations besides simply setting up stalls and selling from them. PL cover ranges between indemnity levels of £2million, £5million and £10million. When teamed up with commercial vehicle insurance and EL if necessary, the combined package represents a small price to pay for financial security amidst a minefield of risks.