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food liability insurance in TN

Understanding Restaurant Insurance in Tennessee for Small Business

Small Business Insurance TN cost

You’ve built your dream restaurant in Tennessee, pouring your passion and resources into creating a delicious and inviting space for your customers.

But what happens if a surprise event threatens your success?

A lawsuit, kitchen fire, or even a slip-and-fall accident can be financially devastating without proper insurance coverage.

Did you know Tennessee requires restaurants to have at least $1 million in general liability insurance?

This protects you from lawsuits and ensures you comply with state regulations.

But your insurance needs go beyond the basics.

Don’t let the unexpected ruin your culinary dream. By understanding your specific needs and choosing the right insurance plan, you can focus on what you do best – creating fantastic food and memorable experiences for your customers.
Let The Allen Thomas Group be your go-to Tennessee insurance agency that can help you customize the most approrpiate policies to shield your business.
Get a quote now by clicking on the button below.

Table of Contents

How much does business insurance cost in Tennessee for restaurants?

The exact cost of business insurance for your Tennessee restaurant can vary depending on several factors, but here’s a breakdown to give you an idea:

  • Restaurant type and size: Fine dining establishments with expensive equipment might pay more than casual cafes. Larger restaurants with more employees typically have higher insurance needs.
  • Coverages chosen: General liability and workers’ compensation are mandatory, but additional options like liquor liability or food spoilage insurance will increase the premium.
  • Your claims history: A history of accidents or lawsuits can lead to higher premiums.
  • Location of your restaurant: Areas with higher crime rates or natural disaster risks might have slightly higher premiums.

Here’s a general range for restaurant insurance costs in Tennessee:

    • Average: $4,300 annually (This figure includes general liability, commercial property, and workers’ compensation)
    • Range: $1,100 – $10,500 annually
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Why Do You Need Restaurant Insurance in Tennessee?

In the ever-evolving landscape of the restaurant industry, the question isn’t whether you need insurance – it’s how much coverage you require to fully safeguard your business property and reputation.

Here are just a few reasons why restaurant insurance in Tennessee is an absolute necessity:

Financial Protection from Lawsuits and Unforeseen Events
A single lawsuit or unexpected incident can cripple a restaurant financially.

According to the National Restaurant Association, foodborne illness outbreaks alone cost restaurants an average of $45,000 per incident.

Without proper insurance, you could be on the hook for exorbitant legal fees, medical expenses, and damages – a financial burden that could force you to close your doors for good.

Insurance can help cover the financial losses your business faces from various risks and liabilities. 

Peace of Mind to Focus on Running Your Business
As a restaurateur, your passion lies in creating delicious meals and unforgettable dining experiences for your guests.

But how can you truly focus on your craft when you’re constantly worrying about potential risks and liabilities? With the right insurance, you can leave those concerns at the door and concentrate on what you do best.

Compliance with State Regulations
In Tennessee, operating without proper insurance isn’t just a risk – it’s illegal.

Failure to maintain the required levels of coverage can result in hefty fines, penalties, and even forced closure.

Don’t let a lapse in insurance compliance put your business in jeopardy.

Choose the right small business insurance for your tennessee small business and get a business insurance quote at the earliest.

Insurance Requirements: Types of Business Insurance in Tennessee 

Commercial general liability coverage is the backbone of any comprehensive restaurant insurance plan.

This coverage can help cover your business against claims of bodily injury, property damage, and advertising injury caused by your operations.

Imagine a scenario where a customer slips on a wet floor and sustains a serious injury.

Without general liability insurance, you could be on the hook for their medical expenses, lost wages, and potential legal fees if they decide to sue.

Or what if a delivery person trips and breaks an arm while making a drop-off at your restaurant? General liability policy has you covered.

In Tennessee, this business insurance policy is particularly crucial, as it can also provide protection against claims of food poisoning or other customer illnesses – a common concern in the food service industry.

Restaurant owners in Tennessee must get workers comp as per the state law today.

Tennessee workers’ compensation insurance can help protect your employees and your business in the event of a workplace injury or illness.

It is one of the most important types of Tennessee business insurance options.

Workers’ compensation coverage can help cover medical expenses and lost wages for injured workers, ensuring they receive the care they need without putting an undue financial strain on your business. 

Additionally, workers’ compensation insurance can help pay for medical expenses of workers.

Get this coverage for restaurant to shield you from potential lawsuits related to workplace incidents, providing invaluable legal protection.

Your restaurant’s physical assets, from the building itself to your state-of-the-art kitchen equipment, are essential to your success. That’s why commercial property coverage is so crucial.

This restaurant insurance coverage can help pay for the perils like fire, theft, vandalism, and natural disasters, ensuring you can quickly recover and rebuild if the unthinkable occurs.

But that’s not all – many business property insurance policies also offer business interruption coverage, which can provide financial reimbursement for lost income during periods of closure due to covered events.

Imagine having to shut down for repairs after a kitchen fire – business interruption insurance can help pay for the expenses to keep your business afloat until you can reopen your doors.

Don’t let your deliveries turn into disasters!

While not required by Tennessee law, commercial auto coverage offers valuable protection for restaurants that use vehicles.

Insuring your restaurant with this coverage covers many of your business insurance needs in case of accidents, covering repairs, injuries, and property damage.

It also provides liability protection from lawsuits arising from accidents involving your company vehicles.

Whether you have dedicated delivery drivers, cater events, or need staff to run errands, commercial auto insurance provides peace of mind, allowing you to focus on serving delicious food without worrying about the road.

If your Tennessee restaurant serves alcoholic beverages, liquor liability insurance is an absolute must.

Thanks to the state’s dram shop laws, every restaurant can be held liable for serving visibly intoxicated patrons who later cause injury or property damage.

Without this specialized Tennessee restaurant insurance, a single alcohol-related incident could leave your business facing devastating legal costs and potential bankruptcy.

Don’t let a lapse in judgment put your culinary dream at risk – protect your Tennessee business with liquor liability insurance.

Imagine arriving at your restaurant one morning to find your walk-in refrigerator or freezer has malfunctioned, spoiling thousands of dollars worth of perishable inventory.

Without a proper type of insurance policy to protect your business, that costly mistake could put a massive dent in your bottom line.

Food spoilage insurance helps protect your business from unexpected losses due to spoiled food caused by power outages, equipment failures, or other covered events.

For many restaurants, this specialized coverage can mean the difference between a minor hiccup and a major financial setback.

Equipment Breakdown Coverage

In the restaurant industry, your kitchen equipment is the lifeblood of your operations.

A broken oven, malfunctioning refrigerator, or failed freezer can bring your entire business operations to a screeching halt – and the costs of repairs or replacements can be staggering.

Equipment breakdown coverage helps mitigate this risk by covering the expense of repairing or replacing damaged equipment, minimizing downtime and lost revenue.

For many restaurants, this specialized coverage is an essential safeguard against costly disruptions.

As a small business owner, you rely on the expertise and guidance of numerous professionals – from accountants and consultants to your very own staff.

But what happens if one of those trusted advisors makes a costly mistake or displays negligence in their duties?

Also known as professional liability insurance, errors & omissions insurance protects your business against lawsuits alleging professional negligence, such as a food poisoning outbreak due to improper food handling.

Even if the claims prove unfounded, the legal fees and reputation management costs can be substantial – making E&O coverage an invaluable asset.

In today’s digital age, cyber threats are a growing concern for businesses of all sizes, including restaurants.

From customer data breaches to ransomware attacks, the potential for devastating financial losses and reputational damage is real and does not vary by state. 

Cyber insurance helps mitigate these risks by providing coverage for data recovery, notification costs, legal fees, and even extortion demands in the event of a successful cyberattack.

As the restaurant industry continues its digital transformation, this emerging business liability insurance will become more essential to protect your restaurant.

For many small to medium-sized restaurants in Tennessee, a business owner’s policy can be an excellent way to bundle essential coverages into a single, cost-effective package.

A typical BOP combines general liability, commercial property, and often business income coverage, providing a comprehensive foundation of protection at an affordable price.

If you’re a new restaurant or a company in Tennessee with a lower risk profile, this restaurant insurance policy could be the perfect insurance solution.

Even with robust primary policies in place, the potential for a catastrophic lawsuit or judgment still exists.

That’s where umbrella insurance comes into play, providing an extra layer of liability coverage that kicks in when your other policies’ limits have been exhausted.

If you operate a high-end restaurant with significant assets or anticipate a higher risk of legal action, umbrella insurance could be a wise investment in protecting your business.

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Is a Certificate of Insurance Necessary for Small Business in Tennessee TN?

Business insurance in Tennessee

In many cases, third parties like landlords, vendors, and event organizers may require proof that your restaurant carries adequate insurance coverage before doing business with you.

That’s where a certificate of insurance comes into play.

A certificate of insurance is not an actual insurance policy, but rather a document that verifies you have active coverage with a specific provider.

It details the types and limits of your coverage, as well as any additional insured parties or special endorsements.

While a certificate of insurance is not a legal requirement in Tennessee, it’s often necessary for securing leases, vendor contracts, and event permits.

Most insurance providers offer the option to download or request a certificate online through their customer portal, or you can contact your agent directly to obtain one.

Insurance Solutions Customized For You

Yes, It's Really That Easy

We know how frustrating and complex the process of finding the right restaurant insurance can be and how it affects your peace of mind when you don’t have the right coverage. Let us help craft a policy that works for you.

Step 1: Assess

Tell us about your specific needs and we will find the right policy for you.

Step 2: Review

Review the results of our search.

Step 3: Service

We will walk you through your new policy step by step.

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Get a Free Quote Online on Tennessee Business Insurance Coverage from The Allen Thomas Group

At The Allen Thomas Group, we are an independent insurance agency that is committed to protecting your culinary dream.

We’ve spent over 20 years specializing in the unique needs of the food and beverage industry, with a particular focus on serving restaurants throughout Tennessee with adequate coverage to protect your business.

Our team of experienced insurance professionals will work closely with you to assess your specific risks and business insurance requirements before crafting a comprehensive insurance package.

We will help you find out how much insurance will cost.

But we don’t just sell insurance – we’re your partner in risk management.

Our team offers a variety of resources and training materials to help you minimize risks and keep your restaurant safe, such as food safety guides, slip-and-fall prevention tips, and more.

Ready to safeguard your culinary vision with the right insurance coverage? Get a free insurance quote online and see how The Allen Thomas Group can help you protect your Tennessee restaurant.

Simply fill out our quick online quote form or give us a call to speak with a licensed insurance agent about your specific needs.

Don’t leave your business exposed to unnecessary risks – let The Allen Thomas Group be your trusted insurance advisor and culinary dream protector.


Frequently Asked Questions

Get More Insights On Making The Right Insurance Decision For Your Restaurant 

What would happen if a fire, natural disaster, or other catastrophic event forced your restaurant to close its doors temporarily? Without a steady stream of revenue, even a brief closure could quickly become an existential threat to your business.

Business interruption insurance provides a financial lifeline during these difficult times, reimbursing you for lost income and helping to cover ongoing expenses like rent and payroll.

With this coverage in place, you can focus on rebuilding and reopening, secure in the knowledge that your business’s future is protected.


Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack: Birthplace of Nashville’s iconic hot chicken, known for its fiery flavors and crispy coating.

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken: Another major player in Nashville’s hot chicken scene, offering a range of spice levels.

Pancake Pantry: A beloved breakfast institution serving up fluffy pancakes and Southern comfort food.

The Loveless Cafe: A historic restaurant famous for its biscuits and traditional Southern fare.


Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous: A Memphis institution known for its slow-cooked ribs and barbecue traditions.

Central BBQ: Memphis-style barbecue with a focus on dry rubs and smoky flavors.

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken: Offering perfectly fried chicken with a secret recipe and crispy skin.

Alcenia’s: A fine-dining restaurant showcasing modern Southern cuisine with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.

Other Cities:

Sweet P’s BBQ (Knoxville): Award-winning barbecue joint known for its pulled pork and ribs.

Siler’s Old Time BBQ (Hendersonville): A family-run restaurant serving traditional Southern barbecue with a focus on wood-smoking techniques.

The Ruby Sunshine (Chattanooga): A popular breakfast and brunch spot featuring creative takes on classic dishes.

This is just a taste of the many famous restaurants Tennessee has to offer. Whether you crave fiery hot chicken, slow-smoked barbecue, or comforting Southern classics, you’re sure to find a delicious destination in the Volunteer State.


Tennessee Restaurant Association (TRA):

National Restaurant Association Restaurant Insurance Toolkit:
The Tennessee Department of Commerce Division of Regulatory Licensing:
Tennessee Department of Health – Food Protection:

Tennessee Cities We Serve




Ashland City










Church Hill















Eagleton Village

East Ridge



Fairfield Glade




Forest Hills







Green Hill









Jefferson City

Johnson City






La Follette


Lake Tansi

La Vergne



Lenoir City















Middle Valley





Mount Carmel

Mount Juliet

Mount Pleasant






Oak Grove

Oak Hill


Oak Ridge


Pigeon Forge

Pleasant View



Red Bank









Signal Mountain




South Cleveland



Spring Hill



Tellico Village

Thompson’s Station



Union City


White House