Do I Really Need Insurance to Sell Crafts at Craft Shows?

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You’ve been working hard on your booth, displays and wares; the craft season is quickly coming up and you’re super excited and ready to go. In the hustle and bustle to get set up and ready; it can be easy to forget certain important details – like insurance.  So, do you really need insurance to sell crafts?

What does vendor insurance actually cover? Is it worth the risk to not insure?

The short answer is YES – you do need to be insured, but the types of insurance you’ll need will vary depending on the craft you are doing. If you are expecting your homeowners insurance to cover your crafting business or art; you may be in for a rude awakening when you go to file a claim. For example, if you have a fire, or a burst pipe and it damages your art supplies; your typical policy will refuse to cover you. Annoying right?

Yes, I know. The truth is though, the minute you sell an item you’ve made for money; you are a business and insurance companies will expect you to behave accordingly.

Many crafters also need to carry liability insurance. If someone attending an event gets hurt in your booth, or with one of your products and sues you, and you are uninsured; you stand to lose everything you’ve worked so hard for.

Surely this is rare right? Yes, it is, but is it worth the gamble? I am not one to tell anyone what they “need” to do – but it’s important to consider all the options. Ultimately, only you can decide what you are willing to risk.

Many fairs do not check to see if you are insured. Others offer their own insurance that can cover you for their event. You will see this fee added on to your booth rental fee (or in some cases it may be included, but that’s not standard practice!)

If you are a food vendor of any kind – whether it’s pet treats or people treats; you must be insured and have a state issued food handlers license to participate in most events. If you create products like bath and beauty items; you need to accurately label your products and should ideally purchase insurance. Anything that goes on or in the body is a far greater risk for liability claims.

If you sell art, scrapbook materials or hair bows, etc. your risk of accidentally harming someone with your products is minimal to non-existent. In that case, I would concern myself with insurance for your supplies, your booth contents, and the value of your finished pieces, more than liability.

As I mentioned previously; your business items are not covered on the majority of homeowners policies. Check with your insurance company and ask them what they have available to protect the contents of your home business. Get a quote, then shop around. You’ll find rates will vary widely based on your specific needs and the amount of product and supplies you keep in your home.

Other things to consider – your vehicle. In many cases, if you get in an accident on a way to a show and it damages your products; your car insurance is not going to cover that. You need to have your vehicle licensed as a business vehicle. Again, this is all about risk.

If you are doing a handful of shows per year in areas without a lot of traffic and low crime; it may be worth the gamble to not fork over extra money in insurance. If you are in a city with a lot of traffic, bad drivers, and people who like to rob vehicles – you should probably consider registering and insuring your vehicle properly.

Very basic liability insurance is not expensive at all in most instances, but it will vary. “Per event” purchases are very pricey. If you are a full-time vendor, consider getting year-round coverage. If you are only a hobbyist; you may want to weigh the risks and choose accordingly depending on the items you sell.

Another consideration is if you have others working for you. If they get hurt; you need to be able to cover their expenses. Most of us crafters make and sell our own wares. If you get big enough that you need to hire help (kudos to you if so!) then you need to also keep things like worker’s compensation in mind.

Here is a link to a site with good information on the various types of insurance for home-based businesses and what they specifically cover.

Home Based Business Insurance

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Comments 1

  • In today’s litigious world it is better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. There are so many different types of coverage that you really need to weigh your options, especially if your business is just starting. Over time, you can figure out what to self-insure (not buy coverage and weigh the cost of the annual coverage vs the one time loss) and what you can’t.

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