Vaping, or using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), is an increasingly popular habit. As a result, there’s been a boom in vape shops and e-cigarette stores around the nation.
If you own a vape shop, it’s imperative that you understand all of the risks to your business, especially the risks to your customers from using your products.
If a customer is injured in your store, or worse yet becomes severely ill after vaping with one of your devices or liquids, your only financial backup in the face of a lawsuit would be your business insurance. And only if you have the right coverage.
An independent insurance agent can help you purchase coverage from a specialty insurer who offers customized programs especially for e-cigarette and vape shops.
Why Do You Need E-Cigarette and Vape Shop Insurance?
Vape shops sell a variety of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and gear, including vaporizers of various sizes and styles, as well as nicotine-infused liquid called e-juice or e-liquid.
These devices allow users to inhale an aerosol containing nicotine or other substances. Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vape juices are generally battery-operated and use a heating element to heat the e-liquid from a refillable cartridge, releasing a chemical-filled aerosol.
Currently, the FDA does not regulate vaping devices or e-liquid, leaving some gray area about how and where products can be sold. What’s more, with more time a variety of dangers are becoming evident.
Initially, concerns about e-cigarettes revolved around “explosions” and other burn dangers. For example, a Florida man was killed when an electronic cigarette exploded, causing a fatal head wound from a projectile as well as burns to his head and body.
In recent months, hundreds of teens and adults have fallen ill with a pneumonia-like illness that has been tied to vaping. Long-term lung damage and several fatalities have been reported.
In addition to having risks like fires in the shop, severe weather damage, and customer trips and falls in the store, vape shop owners now must contend with the potential—and unproven—dangers of the products that they sell.
Insurance coverage is becoming more difficult to find for vape shop owners. But there are several surplus lines insurers who specialize in the kinds of risks you face, and can offer coverage that you can afford.
An independent insurance agent can help you access a vape shop insurer that truly understands your risks and has committed to offering coverage to businesses like yours.
What Does Vape Shop Property Insurance Cover?
After you’ve jumped through multiple hoops just getting municipal approval to open your vape shop, one of the first things you’ll need to do is acquire appropriate insurance.
The first risk you need to address is theft, damage, or destruction of your commercial property. This includes your building (if you own it), and everything inside including your inventory, office equipment, computers, stockroom supplies, and so on.
Your inventory is likely more valuable and more susceptible to damage than what is found in a traditional tobacco shop. Vaping equipment can be expensive. Certain products are made with glass or other fragile components that can be easily broken if dropped or if some type of unforeseen event impacts your store.
Your commercial property insurance covers your inventory and all of your commercial belongings when you sustain damage after a fire, theft, vandalism, severe weather, and other natural disasters. It reimburses you for repairs and replacing what you’ve lost.
Commercial property policies also include business interruption insurance, which reimburses you for lost income and other fixed expenses (rent, salaries, etc.) if you must temporarily close to rebuild after a covered loss.
What Does Vape Shop Liability Insurance Cover?
Your vape shop general liability insurance protects against incidents like customers getting injured in your shop, and even things like accusations of slander, libel, and advertising injury.
And in a perfect world, your vape shop liability insurance covers claims that one of your products has caused harm. While vaping is very popular, it is also a new phenomenon that is not regulated by the FDA. The long-term health effects of vaping are largely unknown.
If an e-cigarette explodes or someone becomes ill from a vape juice product, every business along the supply chain—from the manufacturer to the distributor to you, the vape shop owner—will likely be included in a claim or a lawsuit. Strict liability laws in many states will hold everyone accountable, including your vape shop.
But don’t forget to read the fine print on your vape shop liability policy. Many insurers marketing to vape shops offer liability policies that explicitly exclude coverage for bodily injury or property damage caused by batteries, or those caused by vape juice.
This is called a “health hazard exclusion”, and if your policy has it, you’d have virtually no coverage for injuries or illnesses caused by your products.
What’s more, as vaping recreational cannabis becomes legal in more states, many insurance policies also specifically exclude coverage for cannabis-related products.
Fortunately, some insurance companies who specialize in covering vape shops offer product liability insurance with “no health hazards exclusions” for many of the products that you might sell.
This means that despite the potential health dangers, your policy would still cover you for certain health hazards inherent in e-cigarettes and e-juices.
It’s important to work with an independent insurance agent to help you find appropriate liability insurance for your vape shop. Independent insurance agents aren’t tied to one carrier. They can shop around and find the best coverage for your unique needs.
How Much Does E-Cigarette and Vape Shop Insurance Cost?
If you can find an insurance company who will cover most or all of your risks, your vape shop business insurance will likely be costly, especially when compared to other retailers of similar size who sell less dangerous or benign products.
It’s best to work with an independent insurance agent who can shop around and obtain multiple quotes for you to compare.
Find and Compare Quotes
An independent insurance agent can work with you one-on-one to determine the types and amounts of coverage you need. Your agent can get quotes from multiple insurance companies so you can evaluate the cost and coverage options and make the best choice.
Benefits of an Independent Agent
Our agents simplify the search process for finding the right e-cigarette and vape shop insurance. They’ll walk you through the handpicked policy options and explain the details.
Most importantly, they’ll be there for you when claim time comes. They know the ins and outs of the process and will make sure your claim is handled appropriately.
The Lowdown on Online Quotes
Online quotes can be tempting. They are fast and easy to get, but are they accurate? And are you getting quotes for the right coverage? For business owners, choosing speed over accuracy can cost you.
Online quotes can’t and don’t see the whole picture. They can omit important coverage that will leave you devastated if something unexpected happens. And they can leave out cost saving opportunities that an agent can help you take advantage of.
Instead of getting an online quote, find an independent insurance agent now, and get one-on-one consultation and affordable options for the best coverage for your unique needs.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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