Public liability insurance for market traders is not obligatory, but it is more and more accepted as being essential for any trader who comes into contact with members of the public. Employers liability insurance is actually a legal requirement.

Cover for stock and equipment is highly necessary as theft or damage could seriously impede the ability of your business to trade. All traders, regardless of whether they operate inside or outside and the frequency with which they trade, should consider looking at their insurance cover and needs.

What to look for when getting your traders insurance policy?

Public liability.

While public liability cover is not a legal requirement, it is crucial. It may be requirement of the festival organiser. This protection will cover you for costs that you may face that you are 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.

An example might be if your stall were to collapse and cause injury to a passer-by, or if someone tripped over a cable. It is important to remember that the third party would need to demonstrate negligence on your part. But it is easy to see how valuable such cover could prove.

Employers' liability.

This is obligatory if you have a person or people working for you on your stall or in a support capacity, such as someone to help transport items to and from your base. If you already have employers' liability insurance at your main place of work (assuming that is different from the stall itself), then the policy may cover your employees while they are on the stall itself.

The important thing is to check your policy and talk to your insurer if necessary. You can find out more about you legal obligations at HSE.

Product liability.

This is important cover if for example you sell homemade food. The cover would come into play if customers contracted food poisoning and sought financial compensation from you. You should check with your insurer if you are selling products manufactured by another business to see if they are covered too.
If you are selling food or drink products on your stall, you must register with your local authority. You’ll then be subject to inspection and be told if you need to have a certificate or licence.


This will protect you against damage to your goods or to your stall in a fire or through water damage. Cover against theft may not be available unless the items are locked. You may be able to get insurance against the theft of cash but, again, security restrictions may apply.

Commercial vehicle/Goods in Transit.

This is insurance for your business transport and any items to take to and from your trading site. Again, these may already be covered by an existing policy, but it is essential to check the extent and the scope of cover and to supplement your protection where necessary.