Catering Van Insurance - What Do You Really Need?

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Catering Van Insurance

As the owner of a catering van, you take pride in sending your customers away 100% satisfied. However, sometimes things can go wrong, and it’s important to make sure you’re well insured if something does happen. This guide to Catering Van insurance will different policies available to you, and answer any more specific questions you might have before signing up.

Getting a quote for your catering van is simple—just fill out a quote form and we’ll take care of the rest, connecting you with some of the UK’s leading catering van insurers.

Types of Catering Van Insurance

Like any other vehicle, you’ll need an appropriate level of traditional Van insurance before driving on public roads. There’s three primary levels of coverage that you’ll choose between:

  • Third Party Only: The lowest coverage level, insures you for damages to other people’s vehicles or property. Does not cover you for any damages to your own vehicle
  • Third Party, Fire and Theft: Same protection against damages to others as Third Party Only, but also covers you in the event your vehicle is stolen or damaged in a fire
  • Comprehensive: The top level of protection, provides protection for your vehicle in the event of an accident.
Types of Vehicle InsuranceThird Party OnlyThird Party, Fire and TheftComprehensive
Repair if your vehicle is damaged in an accident
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Repairs if your vehicle is damaged in a fire or stolen
red x
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Compensation if other people are injured in an accident
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Damage to other people’s property
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While you may think that Third Party Only would automatically be the cheapest coverage level, this usually isn’t the case. Our research indicated that Comprehensive coverage is, on average, cheaper by around 40%. It implies that insurers believe people who sign up to a Comprehensive policy are more likely to be risk averse, and therefore less likely to be involved in an accident.

Insurance for a catering business also should include liability and property coverages. Here's what you need to know about these important types of business insurance.

Public Liability insurance

As you regularly interact with the general public, Public Liability insurance is a popular choice for many businesses in the catering industry. It’ll cover claims made by members of the public for damages or injury, and covers both the cost of any compensation awarded and any legal fees incurred during your defense.


  • You spill a hot cup of tea on a customer while passing it to them and their hands are burned.
  • You drop a heavy utensil and it damages a car parked next to your van
  • An undercooked food item causes a customer to become unwell

Employers’ Liability insurance

A legal requirement for any business hiring staff, even if only on a short-term basis Employers' Liability insurance covers you against claims from employees in the event they’re injured or become unwell as a result of their work for you.


  • One of your staff burns themselves while preparing food
  • An employee becomes unwell due to a cleaning product you use
  • A staff member is hurt due to inadequate safety equipment

Equipment insurance

If you have expensive equipment that you might struggle to replace, such as grills or fridges, then it’s worth considering a form of Equipment cover. It’ll protect you in the event that your equipment is damaged accidentally, lost or stolen. Consider if you could afford the cost of replacement and loss of business of something going wrong—if not, Equipment cover could be right for you.


  • Somebody breaks into your secure van and steals your expensive utensils
  • A nearby food truck catches fire and damages the wiring of your fridges


While not a legal requirement, most caterers hold a policy, and you may find that some businesses make it a requirement before allowing you to bid for a contract. In 2019 the average insurance claim for a mobile catering van was £3,542, so consider the potential costs of not having an appropriate policy.

Quotes for £2M of Public Liability started from £187 per year—our * cost section goes into much more detail.

Traditional methods of saving money on vehicle insurance still apply here. This could include things like:

  • Comparing multiple quotes
  • Picking a smaller, less powerful vehicle
  • Choosing a vehicle popular with other caterers
  • Paying a higher excess
  • Long history of no claims/no prior convictions
  • Black box

For your business insurance, keeping your vehicle in secure lock-up overnight (as opposed to on the road or on a drive) can help reduce the costs of your equipment cover. Similarly to your vehicle cover, you’ll also get a better deal if you have a history of no claims and no prior criminal record or convictions.

Does a Catering Van Need Insurance

Absolutely—catering vans and mobile food trucks definitely need insurance to operate. At a minimum, you’ll need Van Insurance to make sure your vehicle is legal to drive on the road. And if you hire any staff, then Employers’ Liability is another must-have.

Public Liability isn’t a legal requirement, but most good food business owners wouldn’t operate without one, and you may find that some locations/events won’t consider you for work if you don’t have one ahead of time. And if you have any expensive equipment that you might struggle without, such as grills or freezers, consider a form of Equipment cover to help cover the costs of something going wrong.

How much does Catering Van insurance cost?

Business Insurance

Based on our sample profile, The average cost for a basic Public Liability policy is roughly £230 per year. It is, unsurprisingly, quite a lot more than the average cost of Public Liability insurance for UK businesses. Given that you spend your days working with hot ovens/grills and sharp utensils the risks of something going wrong are much higher than some other industries.

graph showing the average cost electricians insurance in the UK
Average Cost of Catering Van Insurance for a sole trader
£2m Public Liability (PL)£228
£5m PL£291
£2M PL, £2,500 Equipment£265
£2M PL, Personal Accident£309
£2M PL, Personal Accident, £2,500 Equipment£347
£2M PL, 1 Employee, £2,500 Equipment, Personal Accident£762

Vehicle Insurance

Insuring your catering van shouldn’t be much more expensive than covering a regular van of a similar size. Quotes for Comprehensive cover start around £1,300 for the year for an average van, and naturally increase/decrease dependent on a few variables that change the risk profile of your vehicle:

  • Vehicle size
  • Engine size
  • Level of coverage
  • Vehicle age
  • Driver age

For a much more in-depth guide, take a look at our article on the average costs of different Van coverages in the UK, that should be able to answer any additional questions you might have.

Where Can I Get Quotes?

Fill out this quick and easy form, and we’ll connect you with some of the UK’s top insurers. You’ll have a chance to build a policy that suits you, and ask any questions you might have to a specialist advisor.

Who offers Catering Van insurance?

Some of the UK’s larger providers shy away from offering coverage for mobile catering businesses. However, you shouldn’t struggle to find a reputable insurer to cover you. Here are some we found that would be happy to offer you a quote, and many of these appear in our partner QuoteZone’s catering van insurance panel:


Our sample profile was a 35 year old living in North West London. They had 1-2 years of prior catering experience and no prior claims or convictions. A minimum of 3 quotes were gathered and average to generate our cost estimate. Quotes for van coverage were averaged of dozens of quotes for some of the UK's top van models, using a 35 year old driver with no prior claims or convictions.

Luke Masters

Prior to NimbleFins, Luke studied economics at Brunel University and worked at FreshMinds, Investigo and BMW. His work in data analytics, pricing, strategy and business development helped him write business insurance content to support SMEs at NimbleFins. He now works at DataPOWA, a sports & entertainment data analytics company. Read more on LinkedIn.


The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.