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From fresh food and irresistible treats to clothing, arts, crafts, and bric-a-brac, Australia has become spoiled for choice when it comes to markets. And with the festive season fast approaching, there’s no better time to jump onboard the market stall bandwagon to bring in some extra cash.
Whether you’re just a regular at your local market or going to multiple markets across the region in a bid to making your big break from regular market stall holder to an iconic Australian brand, you’ll need to ensure you have the correct insurance before you can sing ‘to market, to market we go’.
Operating a market stall at a busy market, event, festival or concert exposes you to a wide range of potential risks. Insurance for market stall holders is designed to protect you and your business against the financial risk in the event that something goes wrong,
It usually consists of two types of cover – Public Liability and Product Liability.
Public Liability covers you for the costs that arise from claims for legal liability if a member of the public or another stallholder is injured or suffers damage to their property as a result of your negligence.
For instance, someone trips over a cable that you haven’t secured down properly and breaks their wrist; your stall collapses and causes injury to a passer-by; or a potential customer knocks over a cement pot from your art stall and breaks their foot. If you’re found responsible you could be held liable for their medical costs, as well as any lost income whilst they’re recovering from their injuries.
Other potential incidents that could easily occur at market stalls include a gust of wind knocking your gazebo down into a neighbouring stall damaging their contents; or your umbrella flying into a nearby car causing damage to it. Again, if you are found liable you are responsible for the costs of repairing or replacing other people’s property that has been damaged or broken.
Product Liability is designed to protect you against claims for damage or injury caused by a product you sold. It is especially important if you manufacture and sell any kind of food or drink.
Say, you incorrectly marked a cake as nut free and an unsuspecting customer suffered an adverse reaction; or someone contracted food poisoning from the food you were selling.
Under the Australian Consumer Law, consumers are protected if they suffer loss or damage due to safety defects in the goods they purchase, allowing them to seek compensation from manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and retailers.
To read more about food safety standards visit www.business.gov.au/info/plan-and-start/start-your-business/choose-a-location/market-stall
<h3Other types of insurance to consider
Whilst most insurers won’t cover for theft or damage of your stock whilst at your market stall, if you’re a regular market stall operator it’s a wise idea to consider cover for you stock when it is in storage at your premises, or in transit to and from the market. Portable stock cover is available under a Business Insurance policy to provide protection against theft, fire and other perils under these circumstances.
You also have the option of including cover for money belonging to your business that is either lost, stolen, or damaged whilst in transit, or in your personal custody.
It’s important to check the policy Inclusions and Exclusions as some restrictions will apply.
While it may be tempting to forgo insurance to keep your costs down, markets can be hazardous places and the likelihood of being sued for negligence is unpredictable and can be very costly.
Most market organisers/owners make it mandatory for stall holders to have their own Public and Product Liability insurance and may request a copy of the policy before you can even set your stall up.
In some cases you may be covered under the market organiser’s group insurance policy, however be careful to check with them what you are covered for as there may be some exclusions which could, depending on the products you sell, potentially leave you either short of the cover you require or not covered at all.
Accidents can happen when they’re least expected. The simplest option is to take out your own cover to avoid unnecessary worry and provide peace of mind.
* Note: BizCover only provides annual policies and does not cover one off events.