Everything You Need to Know about Restaurant Insurance in Nebraska
(So you can start cookin'. . . with protection)
Christine Lacagnina |February 28, 2019
So, you've just opened your own restaurant in Nebraska, and you've been replaying visions of your perfect menu on repeat. Hit the pause button though, because before you start serving up the delicacies, you should first get your restaurant equipped with the proper coverage. That's why our independent insurance agents are here, to help you get set up with the protection you need, at a price that works for you. But first, we'll break down what restaurant insurance is and what kind of state-specific requirements Nebraska has. So let's dive right in.
What Is Restaurant Insurance?
In short, restaurant insurance is a policy designed to cover all the components involved in your restaurant, from your property and supplies to your employees and customers. Obviously, serving food to the public ties directly into concerns about protecting their health, but restaurant operation comes with many different risks that are important to consider before setting up shop.
What Type of Restaurant Insurance Do I Need in Nebraska?
Before we cover the Cornhusker State's specific requirements, let's begin by taking a peek at the coverage needed by restaurant owners all across the map. A standard restaurant insurance policy typically includes the following:
General liability: This coverage protects against lawsuits related to injury or property damage done by the business, and it's mandatory. Food poisoning claims would fall under this category.
Workers' compensation: If your employees become ill, get injured or die from a work-related incident, this aspect of the insurance will cover the financial ramifications. Coverage is mandatory in Nebraska, as well as in most other states.
Property insurance: This covers any damage to the physical building that houses your restaurant, in case of fire, etc. The type of cooking equipment your establishment uses will contribute to the risk of fire damage, and may influence the cost of your policy. Businesses with deep fryers that use grease, for example, are considered a higher risk. Note: Restaurants with a drive-thru will have extra property that needs coverage, and paved surfaces (like driveways) are not typically covered by general property insurance.
Business income: A part of property insurance, this aspect covers the financial loss suffered while a business is closed due to fire damage or other disasters.
Ordinance and law: Another part of property insurance, it covers the financial ramifications if your building is found to not be up to current state code. This coverage also applies in the event that you need to rebuild your restaurant, or if you're building one from the ground up, yourself. Handicap compliant features, fire safety equipment, and emergency exits are all factors, here.
Boiler & machinery: Also known as "equipment insurance," it covers electric equipment in the building (e.g., AC units and boilers) that breaks down due to power surges, etc. Property insurance may cover this stuff, but not always.
Spoilage: This coverage takes care of the replacement costs of food that spoils due to power outages caused by storms, surges, etc.
Communicable disease: Covers any illnesses transmitted to customers due to improper hygiene of your employees.
Optional Add-Ons to Restaurant Insurance in Nebraska
The basic restaurant insurance package is undoubtedly a great place to begin, but truth be told, you'll probably end up needing more coverage. Your independent insurance agent will hook you up with any additional coverage that's necessary, but until then, let's check out some of the most common add-ons:
Commercial/business auto insurance: If you run a carry-out restaurant that makes deliveries, you'll want to look into getting coverage for your company vehicles from things like theft and vandalism. Your restaurant will also be held responsible for damage done by your driver while in a company vehicle. Food trucks will also need this coverage.
Coverage for signage: This coverage protects your signage from things like weather and vandalism since it's not typically covered under regular property insurance. It's especially important for restaurants with a drive-thru, with all the extra signage that could be damaged due to distracted or impaired drivers, or vandalism.
Art floater insurance: This option exists mainly for the bigger/fancier restaurants with artwork on display. Scheduling an appraisal for the specific pieces you want to cover is the first required step. In case of fire or even theft, this coverage can help prevent having to pay for the replacements out of pocket.
Liquor liability insurance: While not mandatory, this coverage can fill in some important gaps. General liability will NOT protect you if your employees overserve a customer who ends up with a DUI or other alcohol-related charge. Coverage is more necessary for smaller restaurants, as chains tend to have stricter serving rules and training policies in place to prevent mishaps.
Do I Really Need Liquor Liability Insurance in Nebraska?
Nebraska is one of only eight states that do not have dram shop laws, which means that if a customer is overserved liquor at your restaurant and causes damage after leaving your establishment, your business cannot be held accountable. That being said, anyone could still file a case against you because of a mishap with an intoxicated patron.
The lack of dram shop laws in Nebraska could mean that the case is much more likely to be ruled in your favor, however, there are still fees to pay when someone files against you. Court fees and any expenses for a lawyer are your responsibility. Liquor liability coverage is still important to have, to save you from paying out of pocket for any lawsuits.
Check into Tornado Coverage for Your Nebraska Restaurant
Nebraska plays host to tons of tornadoes each year. The state is nestled comfortably (or not) in Tornado Alley, and it sees an average of more than 50 of the storms annually. Having coverage for your restaurant could potentially save you a lot of grief. Though property insurance coverage will usually cover tornado damage, restaurant owners in Tornado Alley have more need to make extra-amazingly sure their policy will. Ask your agent to review your policy with you, to up your confidence level to bulletproof-status. Having adequate coverage in place from the start can allow you to redirect your focus to more important things, like running your restaurant.
How Much Does Restaurant Insurance Cost in Nebraska?
It depends on what kind of restaurant you run and a few other factors, such as if you've got employees, offer a delivery service, operate a drive-thru or serve liquor. However, a typical range for coverage starts on the low end of about $10,000/year for a smaller establishment with fewer employees and hits the high end of more than $100,000/year for a much larger restaurant, like a chain. A restaurant insurance policy is typically the cheapest and easiest way to go. This package offers most of the liability and property coverage you'll need, and you can always add on specifics as necessary. Your independent insurance agent will know exactly what to hook you up with.
What's the Safest/Cheapest Kind of Restaurant I Can Start?
Obviously, smaller is going to be cheaper. A food truck or corner stand downtown will be by far the cheapest option since there won't be as many sales as in a larger chain, there aren't any other employees (that would require workers' comp), and you won't be serving alcohol. Coverage costs would most likely be in the low thousands each year.
What's the Most Expensive/Riskiest Kind of Restaurant I Can Start?
On the other end of the spectrum, a large dine-in restaurant chain with tons of employees and features like salad bars, buffets, and liquor bars is by far the priciest/riskiest venture. All the required workers' comp, property, and liability insurance drive up costs exponentially. It ultimately depends on lots of specifics like the number of employees and the value of the property, of course, but we're talking big numbers, like more than $100,000 per year.
What's So Great About an Independent Insurance Agent?
Insurance policies are often filled with lots of technical jargon. Additionally, it's a real process to hunt for the RIGHT policy. Fortunately, sifting through the available options and pinpointing the necessary coverage is a task that can easily be handed off to someone else. That's where independent insurance agents come in to save the day. Independent insurance agents will not only help you get the best possible deal, but also the type of coverage that's right for you. They shop and compare insurance quotes for you, and even break down all that complex jargon into plain old English, so you understand exactly what you're getting.
Our wise and helpful agents will help you determine which types of coverage make the most sense for YOU. They'll also compare policies and quotes from several different insurance companies to make sure they're setting you up with protection that's among the best around. In other words, they'll make it happen.