What insurance is required for a food truck in Iowa?

Food truck insurance in Iowa usually consists of an owner's policy that includes general liability coverage and property insurance. Consider an umbrella policy for your food truck to save money.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Food truck operators in Iowa must purchase several different insurance policies to protect against a variety of losses
  • Compliance to various local and state rules is mandatory
  • Comparison shopping and bundling could lead to great savings on coverage

Imagine how lucrative it would be to own a food truck operating on the grounds of the Iowa State Fair. Or, for that matter, imagine the revenue that could be generated at college sports events or during lunchtime in the heart of Des Moines.

A food truck owner could do well many throughout the year and in many locations in Iowa.

Seeing the long lines buying sodas, hot dogs, and pizza from a mobile food vendor may lead an entrepreneurial-minded person to explore opening a similar business.

Serving great food helps the cause of owning a financially successful food truck, but all food service companies must also come with a well-crafted business plan.

Food truck operators cannot take shortcuts. They must institute a thoughtful business plan that keeps the food truck on budget while generating consistent revenue.

And then the owner of the truck must adhere to all local rules, laws, and regulations. The following requirements must be met:

  • tax
  • health
  • safety
  • business license requirements

Food truck business owners should also focus on maximizing an important component of both operating a vehicle and running a food service business: buying the right insurance.

Enter your zip code into our car insurance comparison tool above to get started finding the right coverage for your situation.

Auto Insurance and Food Trucks


Buying the right auto insurance for a food truck is critical since the business is also a vehicle. Purchasing commercial auto insurance shields the owner from liability claims and even covers losses to the vehicle itself.

Additionally, without insurance, the truck wouldn’t even be legally allowed on the road in Iowa.

Finding superior auto insurance for an Iowa food truck starts with searching for online quotes. Request four quotes – more would be even better – and look the quotes over carefully. Do so in order to purchase the best policy capable of protecting the food truck investment.

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Coverage for Food Trucks in Iowa

Since a food truck is a business enterprise, the owner opens him/herself up to a number of liabilities. To be fully covered against losses and perils requires purchasing a variety of insurance policies and coverage options.

The costs, however, might be lower than anticipated due to discounts, bundles, and simple comparison shopping.

In addition to buying the right level of insurance, Iowa food truck owners must remain in compliance with statewide and local rules. Des Moines is considered a friendly city towards food truck operations, but unique rules do apply.

Food trucks in Des Moines cannot operate within 100 feet of entrances and exits to buildings and cannot sell food between 1:30 AM and 5:30 AM. Other localities have their riles as well.

The city of Aimes requires a vending license for food truck owners. The state of Iowa imposes a host of health and safety rules for food trucks to operate.

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Failure to adhere to any rules or regulations likely leads to a business being shut down. Far worse than losing a license or permit would be facing a one million dollar judgment due to negligence.

Insurance protects against such potential losses. Food truck should become quite familiar with following types of insurance:

Commercial auto insurance

Any vehicle used for business must be covered by a commercial auto insurance policy. Even someone delivering pizza requires commercial/business auto insurance.

Personal auto insurance would not be valid if a liability or other claim was filed while conducting business. A food truck obviously falls under the category of a vehicle requiring commercial auto insurance.

Hired and non-owned auto insurance

Property damage and bodily injury are covered under this type of insurance when a vehicle is rented/hired or when employees or others use their own vehicles to conduct work for an employer.

A food truck owner may send an employee to pick up supplies and the employee gets into an accident. In such a situation, non-owned insurance provides liability protection for the employer.


Driving a food truck in the winter could lead to skidding on ice, riding up over a curb, and wrecking the transmission. The business would be shut down until the costly transmission repair work gets completed.

With collision coverage, the loss could be covered by the insurance company as collision coverage covers damage drivers cause to their own vehicles while driving.



Comprehensive can be deemed a “catch-all” term to describe non-driving and non-accident related losses. A food truck owner would be ruined if their vehicle was stolen. With comprehensive insurance, theft is covered as is the following:

  • vandalism
  • arson
  • acts of nature

Auto insurance, while important, is not the only coverage a food truck owner should purchase. Insurance related to other aspects of running the business must be in place. Two critical types of business insurance to purchase are general liability and property insurance.

General liability

General liability insurance deals with negligence related to the operation of a business. If ice and mustard spilled in front of the truck and no one cleaned it, a patron could sue if he/she slipped and fell. General liability insurance may save the day in this and other instances.

Property insurance


Property insurance refers to belongings – your personal and commercial property. A food truck relies on a lot of “property” to function. Refrigerators, grills, cash registers, computers, and more serve important duties.

Imagine if the truck found itself underwater after a hurricane. Comprehensive might cover the loss on the truck, but the contents of the truck would only be recovered through a property insurance claim.

Food truck owners rely on employees to keep the business running smoothly and efficiently. Owners must also worry about the safety and welfare of employees. Protecting both employer and employee entails investing in the following insurance:

Workers’ compensation

Employees run the risk of suffering an injury on the job and an employer may be held liable.

On a food truck, the potential for a slip and fall accident or other injury looms large.

Workers’ compensation claims cover expenses related to the employee’s medical bills and lost wages. Individual state laws related to workers’ compensation vary. Those running a business in Iowa must be clear on the state’s specific regulations.

Umbrella policy

Insurance policies are subject to limits, but an injured party can sue beyond policy limits. An umbrella policy reflects additional liability coverage beyond the underlying policy’s minimums. The added coverage could help employer and employee alike.

A Food Truck Owner May Wish to Bundle Policies


Buying numerous policies comes with several premiums costs, but means to save money exist. Purchasing more than one policy from the same insurance company is known as bundling and it can lead to discounts.

Food truck owners should not, however, focus too much on cost and keep an eye on the quality of coverage. Searching online for insurance quotes and bundling deals can lead Iowa food truck businesses to locate great deals.

Search right here for the best coverage for your situation. Enter your zip code into our comparison tool below to begin.

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