Public and Product Liability

Trade Stall Insurance

If you're considering attending or have already started the process of renting a space at your local Market Stall, Community Fair or Trade Fair the chances are you've been asked the question (or read it on your application form)

"Do you have a Certificate of Currency?".

Your immediate response after a brief sense of confusion would have been either

".. A what?" or "What's a Certificate of Currency?".

To immediately address the elephant in the room, a Certificate of Currency is a contractual document between an insured party (that's you in the case of a Market Stall attendee) and an insurance company (everyone has something to say about them!). It will be provided to you once you have agreed to the terms offered by the insurance company and have paid a premium for the insurance policy. It outlines the key areas of  cover and the general details that the insurer is providing cover for. It is, in effect a condensed version of a full insurance policy that you can present to someone (a third party) as evidence that you have adequate insurance coverage.

Now that you have a brief understanding of what it is, the next question you'll ask is

"Why do I need it when I'm only going to the Markets? I'm not going to injure anyone sitting at a table!"

It's true, the likelihood of you injuring someone while attending a market or damaging their property is remote, however, not 100% unlikely to occur either. Generally speaking, causing damage to someone else's property is more likely to occur than anything else.  For example, when packing up your trestle table at the end of the day you bump into an adjoining stall holders table and one of their items smashes on the floor. Most people are courteous enough to apologise and to try to pay the cost of the damaged item, even in this day and age. Therefore, if people are still acting nobely and admitting that they were at fault and trying to rectify the issue, why do you have to pay for an insurance policy?

It's a fair question, historically, Market Stall Insurance was not a concern of the stall holder.  It was either being provided to you automatically by the Market Organisers (or possibly charged at a small fee) or perhaps even the local council was exposed to any claims for damages that could have occurred. With the growing fear of a major litigation claim against someone and the risk of financial loss, as a result of causing damages to someone or their property, everyone has started getting into a panic!

This panic makes everyone review the big question of who's responsible and who's going to pick up the tab? Ultimately, nobody wants to take that full responsibility on board so everything gets reviewed and gradually everything starts to change.

The local councils start to require the Maket Organisers to have adequate insurance cover. As this becomes a large exposure, a lot of pressure and a high cost on the small time organisers, they begin to ask that their stall holders also carry their own insurance. As we come full circle this risk is eventually being transferred onto you! As you can't afford the cost of a major lawsuit being made against you and as no one else is proving to be in a position to help you out, you now require to seek your own insurance cover, yes, you can be heard to still say

"..just to go to the Market Stalls?".

It's all about transferring the risk onto someone else. The insurance industry is effectively based on reducing the exposure of a risk they are covering and then charging an appropriate premium. In the case of the Market Organiser holding all of the Public Liability exposure, to the insurer, is a high risk and therefore they would charge a higher premium. As the risk has overtime been placed on the stall holder to have their own Public Liability, the risk to the insurer becomes spread out over a larger number of people (lower), therefore costs for their cover starts to reduce in premium. 

It's fortunate now, in Australia at least, that there are a number of different insurers who deal with providing Public Liability cover for Market Stall holders and believe it or not at an affordable price! One large insurer even offers a fully automated online service where you can enter your details, select your cover and pay our premium all within the space of a few minutes (depending on how quick you can type). Once complete your Certificate of Currency is forwarded to you by email or post. Just search for "market stall insurance" online and you'll be inundated with available products, or ask around at your market to see who is insured where. Simple!

The Market Stall Insurance will generally provide you with Public Liability cover only. This provides you with the security that in the event you do cause and injury or property damage to a third party that you will be protected. This type of product is quite limited in what it will cover you for. This is to protect the insurer from avoiding any major losses or claims, which in return provides the consumer (that's you) with a reasonably affordable premium.

Some key points to note or consider about Market Stall Insurance are:

  • The policy will generally only cover a certain square meter stall space
  • The policy will indicate the level of cover (i.e. $10,000,000) and will specify the period of insurance or the amount of days you are covered for under the policy.
  • Some policies may provide a particular number of stall attendances (i.e. 5 per year), however, this is less common now
  • The policy will not generally cover Products Liability (damage to a person or property as a result of something you sold them, i.e. food poisoning from food served) and this cover, if available to you, will carry a higher premium.
  • Most Market Stall Policies will not cover you in a shopping centre if you are the only stall holder present, this requires a full broad form Public Liability which provides greater coverage in the event of a claim, this too will be at a higher premium.

Don't allow yourself to blindly sign and pay for any insurance policy, make sure you read all the documents sent to you and raise any questions with the insurer at the time of the call or as soon as possible once recieved. Unless the insurer has provided you with incorrect information or the error was a result of their service they will not be responsible for ensuring that you have adequate and correct cover, this responsibility lay with you.

That, in brief, sums up Market Stall Insurance and the confusion surrounding a Certificate of Currency.

In reflection of this particular topic it's cover and the associated costs involved, spare a moment for the retired and older generation of your community. These people who originally enjoyed going to Market Stalls to be involved with the community, not just to make a quick buck reselling many imported products we see today, but to share their hobbies and wares and maybe if they were lucky make a few extra dollars to take home with them. Many of these people can no longer fathom paying for an insurance policy from their pensions and therefore can no longer participate in such an event. Hopefully this will help you to feel a bit more fortunate when paying for your policy.

I hope you enjoyed this article and please leave feedback, share your experience with Market Stall Insurance or obtaining a Certificate of Currency or ask any questions you might have!