Seven Essential Questions to Ask When Seeking an Insurance Agent

Restaurant Operations, Risk Management,

Seven Essential Questions to Ask When Seeking an Insurance Agent


The restaurant industry has unique risks and challenges. When it comes to insurance, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. When looking to protect their businesses, restaurant owners should look for an agent with specialized knowledge of the food service industry and consider asking the following questions to ensure they are covered before the inevitable happens.


  1. What carriers do they represent that specialize in the food service industry?

When choosing an insurance agent, it is important to assess the coverage available and the protection of the business. By evaluating the agent’s ability to articulate why they represent certain carriers, restaurant owners will be able to gauge the level of service they will receive and the protection to expect from different carriers. Restaurant owners also should see if the carrier has a protective safeguard endorsement, which excludes certain coverage and can put the restaurant at risk.


  1. What kinds of coverage are unique to the risks restaurants face?

Restaurant owners will want an agent who is highly knowledgeable about the industry. Restaurants are complex with unique risks that change rapidly. It is imperative to choose an insurance provider with risk analysts who know what to look for when assessing the restaurant. The agent should be able to explain the risks to take care of that can become issues for the restaurant and elaborate on the types of coverage needed. 


  1. How will coverage apply to off-site events?

In food service, there is an opportunity for off-site events, and caterers face traditional risks like equipment failure and damage to property and may need other types of coverage such as for spoilage, outdoor property, hired and non-owned vehicle insurance and contamination.


With food transportation, there is a higher risk of contamination, and restaurant owners will want protection in case customers become sick due to the food prepared. Asking this essential question can protect your business against unique risks that you could potentially face.


  1. If there is an opportunity for curbside dining, is that space considered on the premises?

Outdoor dining spaces and patios have become a big hit in recent years. Restaurant owners will want to ask agents about potential insurance coverage to accommodate the space. In this space, they will specifically want to ask questions about liquor liability, general liability and umbrella policies to protect the outdoor area. Agents who are experts in the restaurant industry will be able to advise of any issues that may affect coverage with curbside dining. They will be able to guide owners in the process to protect that area through new types of coverage, updating existing coverage or another solution.


  1. How and when do local liquor laws apply to bartenders?

Local areas have specific laws regarding the sale of alcohol and liquor. A major component of protecting a restaurant is to ensure the staff is properly trained, certified, licensed and able to be covered by the appropriate insurance is essential in keeping customers safe and avoiding costly fines for the business. If an agent is unaware of the training needed in the covered area, the restaurant owner may be better off finding a new agent. 


  1. What is the claims process like?

Restaurant owners always hope that they will not have to file a claim but should also prepare for the worst. If the time ever comes to file a claim, the process should go as smoothly as possible. If the agent can walk through personal experiences with other clients, restaurant owners can trust that their business is in good hands. A good agent will explain the specific resources available when managing claims, billing and auditing issues, and they will be able to answer any underlying questions. They should always be reliable when communicating about a claim.


  1. What factors will affect coverage and price?

Restaurant owners will want a clear understanding of what is impacting the cost to cover the business. These factors will include:

  • How long the business has been in operation
  • Business hours of operation
  • How big the business is—in every way—including annual sales, building square footage and number of people employed
  • What your existing claims history indicates
  • Insurers also may be interested in any unique features about the restaurant that draw customers, such as specials, happy hours, entertainment features and more that could potentially lead to additional risks


The quality of an insurance agent is imperative to the protection of any business, and it is important to go with an agent capable of managing the business’ risks. Restaurant owners who ask these questions in advance will have better insight into how to reduce costs while remaining protected.


Society Insurance is recognized throughout the industry as a leader in providing superior restaurant and bar insurance, custom-tailored to fit each operation's unique needs. To learn more, visit