Business insurance for cafés and coffee shops: All you need to know

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    Chris Godfrey

    Page written by Chris Godfrey. Last reviewed on June 13, 2024. Next review due April 6, 2025.

    The UK’s coffee shop and café market was worth more than £4.5billion in 2022. Branded chains and independent operators now populate every high street, shopping mall, train station and airport, selling everything from a hot cup of joe to an exotic wrap or salad. However, the continuing success of this area of hospitality is also increasing business risk. More customers, more outlets, more employees, and more products only create more opportunities for things to go badly wrong – and the potential for catastrophic impact on your business. 

    This is why most operators rely on café insurance to protect them if accidents or mistakes should occur. Providing a safety net against personal claims or the loss of equipment, stock and more, it’s the best way to ensure your café or coffee shop can keep going if the worst should ever happen.

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      What's the difference between a café and a coffee shop?

      Cafes and coffee shops have come a long way. Gone are the days of weak tea, ham sandwiches and a slice of fruit cake. Today’s coffee and food retailers offer specialty drinks such as espressos, macchiato, americano, and are often experts in roasting and preparing coffee as well as being vendors of a wide range of foods. However, although the gap between the traditional café and a modern coffee shop has narrowed, there are still some key distinctions.

      Firstly, cafes tend to focus on food sales, while coffee shops are more about the beverage. Secondly, many cafes function more like restaurants, providing full-service dining options as well as selling alcoholic drinks, whereas coffee shops are typically counter service only, with a focus on selling drinks to take away. 

      Why do I need insurance for my café?

      No matter if you run a café or a coffee shop, one thing is common: Accidents, mishaps, errors and omissions can happen at any time and their impact on your business could be devastating.  


      What does this mean? Imagine if a fire in your café or coffee shop destroyed your fixtures and fittings and all your stock, perhaps even took the building down. What would you do? Could you rebuild from scratch? Could you afford to find other premises to make a fresh start? Additionally, how would you cope if a visitor to your store tripped on a loose floor tile and made a large claim for compensation? Or what if one of your employees became sick because of the work they do for you? Could you afford to pay these claims? Could you afford to stay in business? 

      Café insurance is a must for every café and coffee shop. Providing an important financial cushion, it’s designed to reduce or eliminate the impact of many common risks. Operating without this kind of cover is just gambling with your business.

      What types of cover can I choose from?

      Café insurance is an umbrella term for a range of business insurances that can provide protection against almost every type of negative event. Important insurance includes:

      Public liability insurance

      Public liability insurance protects your café or coffee shop if someone is injured, or their property is damaged because of the services that you or your business provides. This type of cover, also known as PL or Liability Insurance, is designed to protect your business against third party claims for injuries or property damage from a customer or client, passer-by, or a visitor to your business premises – whether you’re at fault or not.

      Employers’ liability insurance

      Under the Employers Liability Act of 1969, employers’ liability insurance (EL) is a legal requirement for most UK employers. EL protects you and your employees, (including those who no longer work for you), should they be injured or become unwell as a result of working for your business. EL typically covers the associated legal and compensation costs, and other damages of such events, but it can also cover accidental injury or damage caused by an employee to a third party, such as your customers. 

      Contents cover

      Business content cover for cafes and coffee shops is designed to replace the contents of your business premises in the event of fire, flood, theft, and accident. Use contents insurance to pay for new fixtures and fittings, equipment, stock and samples, raw materials, and employees’ personal belongings if they’re damaged, lost, or stolen.

      What does café insurance cover?

      Café insurance can cover your café or coffee shop against:

      • The costs of any claims by third parties or your employees for personal injuries or property damage they say has been caused by your business. The cover may also include your legal expenses or those claimed by the other party
      • Claims from third parties who say they have been harmed by the products you sell
      • Loss of equipment, stock, fixtures and fittings due to fire, flood, theft or vandalism
      • Downtime or closure of your business due to damaged equipment or premises
      • Damage to or complete loss of your business premises if you own the building
      • Damage to your business reputation or loss of trust by your customers

      How much will my insurance cost?

      Premiums for café insurance can start at less than £25 per month, but just as no two cafes or coffee shops are alike so no two café insurance needs are the same. The price you pay will depend on your business type, where you are located, your turnover, the risks attached to what you sell, and a variety of other factors unique to your business. 

      How Swoop can help

      All business involves risk, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer the consequences if things go wrong. Don’t let your café or coffee shop go cold because of accident, mishap or error. Contact Swoop today to compare top-quality café insurance from a range of providers and to discuss all your business insurance needs. 

      Written by

      Chris Godfrey

      Chris is a freelance copywriter and content creator. He has been active in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries for more than twenty-five years. Writing for Barclays Bank, Metro Bank, Wells Fargo, ABN Amro, Quidco, Legal and General, Inshur Zego, AIG, Met Life, State Farm, Direct Line, insurers and pension funds, his words have appeared online and in print to inform, entertain and explain the complex world of consumer and business finance and insurance.

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