I just got insurance and am wondering how often it is that customers, wedding planners or venues in particular ever ask you to produce a certificate of liability? I'm not planning on branching out into this field yet, but I've got insurance on the brain lately, and am curious.
In my 12 years, not once.
once, a cafe that I was supplying product to on a wholesale level
A certificate of insurance is rarely requested by an individual customer and mostly by retail or wholesale vendors. If you are selling via a farmers market, flea market or coffee shop, outside retail vendor etc they usually request it. Now with that said, with the boom in home-based bakeries and home food processing businesses I will step out and say you may hear more folks requesting it. Look, folks want to know someone is taking responsibility for processing the food they are purchasing and it is not a bad thing, plus if you shop around it can be quite affordable and definitely worthwhile.
Many venues that I worked at required a cert of liability. Major hotels usually did not. Privately owned venues usually did.
Usually I only had to provide it once; some required one for each event specifically naming the bride and groom (i.e. "Cert of Liab for ABC Venue for the Jane Smith Wedding of 8-12-11"). Most that require one will stipulate it in the contract between them and the bride/groom, who SHOULD cover this in their consultation with you as one of their questions.
A photocopy of your liability policy won't work. if the venue is requesting this, they need to be a named insured. All I had to do was email my agent with the info and he emailed/faxed the paperwork directly to the venue.
On any first-time deliveries to a venue, I'd inquire "Do you need a copy of my HD license and do you require a cert of liability insurance?" If they needed the cert, I'd ask them how they needed it made out (for example, one needed it made out to cover "ABC Venue, the board of directors of ABC venue, and Blah-Blah corporation, owner of ABC venue") and what fax/email they needed it sent to.
My insurance company did not charge a fee for these certificates (and in my many years of working in commercial insurance, we never charged a fee for them either) but some CC'ers have mentioned their company DID charge a fee, so find out up front.
I've only been asked for my business license, no insurance forms.
Thanks indydebi for sharing that information. I think sometimes we forget that what works for one person does not work for another since the insurance regulations are different from state to state and a retail or wholesale establishment can request any information they choose from a vendor they want to do business with...I learned that the hard way. I appreciate all your great advice.