If you own or operate a bed & breakfast, you may call yourself an innkeeper or a bed & breakfast owner. But, when you’re looking at insurance options, you will undoubtedly hear two different things: Innkeepers insurance and bed & breakfast insurance. As the business owner of a bed and breakfast or Inn, it’s important you understand the differences in insurance coverage.

So, what’s the difference, and which one do you need?

Is There a Real Difference Between a Bed & Breakfast and an Inn?

Before we discuss insurance, let’s first take a close look at the differences between a bed & breakfast and an Inn. The hospitality industry is smaller than you think and depending on who you speak with, you will get two different answers. Some say “yes, there’s a difference” and some say, “no difference at all”.

In general, most bed & breakfasts tend to have 1-5 bedrooms for guests, are historic properties and in historic areas. They always serve breakfast and typically it’s homecooked, hence the second ‘B’ in B&B!

Bed and breakfast owners almost always live on site and are very knowledgeable about the area. Each bed and breakfast has it’s own personality.

A typical Inn or Country Inn would be larger in size, offering 8+ rooms and have a dining hall or area not included in the price of the room. The dining area would not only offer breakfast, but dinner as well.

Inns also tend to have more amenities than bed & breakfasts such as event planning, equine, local tours, and resemble something closer to a boutique hotel experience. Inn’s typically have an Innkeeper and additional staff outside the ownership. It’s common for owners to live both onsite and offsite at an Inn.

By nature, a bed & breakfast and Inn are very similar, but do have three key differences. The number of rooms, the food served, and amenities.

Bed & Breakfast Insurance vs Innkeepers Insurance

Insurance for a bed & breakfast and an Innkeeper is fundamentally the same at its base, but can have big differences when it comes to add-on coverages.

The core is commercial property and commercial liability insurance.

Both need comprehensive ‘all-risk’ or special form property coverage for the building(s) itself and the contents or ‘stuff’ inside of them. This would include coverages such as fire, wind, hail, water damage, vandalism, theft and more.

Both bed and breakfast owners and Innkeepers earn an income from their properties or businesses, so business income coverage is needed for both. In the event of a covered property claim such as a fire, the business operation shuts down to make repairs, in turn resulting in lost income. Not all business income is created equal. Make sure you understand ‘actual loss sustained’ and time limits on coverage.

With regards to food and alcohol, both a bed & breakfast and Innkeeper would need foodborne illness liability insurance as well as liquor liability insurance if alcohols is served or sold.

Where insurance differences begin to occur is when we get into the finer details of the operation, such as employees, vehicles, and potential amenities offered such as horseback riding.

Most Innkeepers have employees such as maids or cooks, so workers compensation coverage is needed. If the Inn has vehicles such as a van to shuttle guests, commercial auto insurance should be purchased.

A coverage often overlooked at both a bed & breakfast as well as an in is personal liability insurance which is different than commercial general liability for the actual business. If the bed & breakfast owner lives onsite at the property and considers the bed & breakfast their primary residence, then personal liability insurance is important to have as the owners would not carry it on their personal homeowners’ insurance. The same goes for an Innkeeper in this scenario.

Are You a Bed & Breakfast Owner or An Innkeeper?

Regardless whether you identify your business as a bed & breakfast or an Inn, insurance can get complicated quickly. The best thing to do is find an insurance broker who has the experience to ask the right questions and identify potential gaps in insurance coverage.

We encourage you to reach out to Wister Insurance as we can walk you through Bed & Breakfast Insurance vs Innkeepers Insurance.

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