Insurance

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
I always joke with people about the day that some idiot legislator gets a law passed that all knife blades must have a "safety ball" permanently affixed to the tip. It's sad that we'd even imagine something like that.....says a lot about how things have gone with personal responsibility. :(
You'd be surprised...or maybe not.

The last company I worked for before I retired was headquartered in the UK. Thus many rules came down from the UK mindset about sharp objects.

For instance in the shop the only knives that were allowed were those used for opening cardboard packages. And they had to automatically retreat into the handle when you let go of the push out mechanism. No other "cutting instrument" of any kind was allowed.

However me being me, I always used my Swiss Army knife and my Benchmade Torrent. Almost got into trouble a few times. The weird things is I felt almost a criminal being furtive about the knife I was using. Welcome to the bizarre world of UK ownership.

Also there was a law passed in the UK, last year I believe, that all kitchen knives had to have a blunt tip :rolleyes: so your not far off base.
However I believe it was repealed after a lot of shouting from chefs.
 

tkroenlein

Well-Known Member
We have safety cutters at work that retract when you interrupt cutting pressure on the blade. They took away all the regular utility knives.

I know a guy cleaning up with EDC belt knafs. :)
 

Daniel Macina

Well-Known Member
We have safety cutters at work that retract when you interrupt cutting pressure on the blade. They took away all the regular utility knives.
We had these at a job I used to work I would always sneak in my pocket knife (nice and sharp) which was Fun and games till I gave it to a coworker to break down some boxes and he sliced the snot out of his finger. May or may not have gotten into a pretty big trouble for that one. One idiot ruins it for everyone.
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
this is not helping me, fellers. insurance , remember?
I did some digging around. In other words I did some Googling. As far as I can tell Ed pretty much covered things. You might contact a lawyer and see what he says about liability.

The only other thing I can think of to limit your liability, would be to incorporate as an S Corporation. I don't know anything about them though other than what I Googled on the Small Business Administrations website.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Bruce...... I sent in a request for a quote via their webpage yesterday, and also called the listed number, was put on hold for about 10mins, before they hung up on/disconnected me. Not a good first impression so far.
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
I agree with that ,Ed. We seem to be caught on the horns of a dilemma. I did receive a quote from them for $500.00 per year for liability and E&O(errors and omissions). I'm just not comfortable with this until I get better clarification on the policy itself. I will keep you posted.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Well, IF they are legit, and actually offer the coverage, $500 a year is dirt cheap compared to anything else I've seen or even heard about when it comes to knifemaker liability coverage.

I gotta say.....right now my spider sense is tingling..... sounds too good to be true. If they ever get back to me, I would insist on seeing/reading the entire policy... and especially the fine print. ;)
 

Jon Buescher

Well-Known Member
IF you folks can find insurance that will cover anything knife related, at a rate that isn't impossibly expensive, PLEASE pass along the information. I get asked this question all the time from aspiring Bladesmiths/Knifemakers, and would love to be able to give them something positive.

Because of hard, personal experience, I do think it's worth the money/effort to pay a local lawyer to draw up a waiver of liability that gets signed by people who work in your shop(s). It's saved my butt in a few instances since I started doing it.

I have had exactly one person who tried to sue me when I sharpened a knife for him..... who went home, got drunk with a friend, and later took 14 stitches in his hand from the knife I'd sharpened. That was the ordeal that woke me up and made me realize just how greedy and stupid people really are. It also made me realize just how vulnerable Bladesmiths/Knifemakers are to rampant stupidity. ;)
just like firearms manufacturers that are held liable for the actions of someone who possesses their product
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
I still cringe because I know hardly anybody bothered to read the suit.
Sorry guys...I actually am running on ancient memories there...and I did NOT read the suit. I remember it being presented as a frivolous lawsuit in the court of public opinion....
I stand corrected.
 

MTBob

Well-Known Member
When I was in business for myself (30 years) I had a large amount of exposure to lawsuits - and I never obtained liability insurance - it's called "Running Bare". The real business risk is not the actual likelihood of a large payment to the plaintiff, but rather the high cost of paying lawyers to defend you from the lawsuit.
To avoid liability risk the objective is to make yourself so undesirable to be sued that no one will want to try to get your money. Liability insurance is outrageously expensive, and not worth the cost if you position yourself correctly.
Here's what I did:
1) Used a Limited Liability Company (LLC) for the business, making sure your wife is not a member of the Company. This offers some relatively good protection from lawsuits. Depending on your state's laws this can offer a high bar to penetrate to get to your assets. But, it's not perfect, lawsuits can be brought for any reason.
2) THIS IS TRICKY, but easy to do - Don't have any meaningful assets in your name. In my case I titled all my assets in my wife's name: house, vehicles, personal bank accounts, - but NOT the business accounts. AND, I did not employ her in the business, to limit her ties to the business. In this approach you do not want to commingle your business income and business expenses with your wife. All income and expenses need to flow through the business bank accounts, not your personal accounts. Using this strategy, the business must be a stand alone entity. This step presents some obvious risks if you don't trust your wife. Another option may be to place all your assets in a Trust. If you go that route you'll want to talk to an attorney about the details and laws of the state you live in. This separation of assets isn't hard to do, it just takes some time to re-title various assets.
So, when someone got pissy with me and talked about suing, I just told them to have at it because I didn't have anything other than a broken down horse and an old computer and printer. That always ended the conversation. I have never been sued, though there were some close calls.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
"Running Bare"......Liability insurance is outrageously expensive, and not worth the cost if you position yourself correctly.
This is nearly verbatim what experienced Bladesmiths/Knifemakers told me way back when I first started the business, but at the time I didn't have enough sense to listen to them.

With the level of stupid in this world these days, it seems that more and more shows/venues are requiring liability insurance. Honestly, my answer is that I simply don't/won't attend those particular shows. I have also made a policy of my own.... I will not attend any knife show in either New York, or in California. I've had bad experiences in both, and neither place is worth the trouble/frustration they cause.
 

MTBob

Well-Known Member
I will not attend any knife show in either New York, or in California. I've had bad experiences in both
That's good advice, avoid lawsuit happy situations. Frequently I had clients that required that I have liability insurance. I simply said that I would get it and charge them for it. That always ended the conversation. Sadly, having liability insurance actually makes you more of a "deep pocket" target than not having it. Simply avoiding situations that are risky is the practical approach - listen to your gut.
If you shelter your assets through your wife, it certainly changes ones attitude during a argument (call it a tie that binds). It could make a divorce pretty ugly for the business owner.
 

tkroenlein

Well-Known Member
Sorry guys...I actually am running on ancient memories there...and I did NOT read the suit. I remember it being presented as a frivolous lawsuit in the court of public opinion....
I stand corrected.
No worries. I thought it was a joke for years.

I actually looked it, and many other civil suits, up when Illinois passed concealed carry and some pols were trying to tag a million dollar liability policy requirement on to the permission slip. I learned stuff.

(Bruce, subject matter discussion incoming :))

You can't insure others' actions. You can't insure your own willful negligence or intentional actions. You can insure accidents.

Let's do hypotheticals. Remember, neither my talents nor my profession is lawyering...grain of salt and all that.

Knife guy sets up a knife table. Customer walks by, KG reaches out to swat a fly on customers liver, but forgets to drop the knife in his hand first. They won't insure that.

Customer at KG's table swats fly on customer #2's forehead, forgets he's looking at KG's knife. They won't insure that.

After several complaints, KG continues to use banana peels for ambience around his table. Customer approaches table to view the shiny things as expected, slips, and gets pin cushioned. They won't insure that.

KG insures the 200 sqft that he's renting as a purveyor of handmade goods and customer walks by and slips in the previous customer's ice cream cone drippings and cuts self on a handmade good while reaching to stop his fall. Now we got some insurance. Totally beyond KG's control, totally unexpected.

Bruce, I think you ought to warm up that sweet sailor swagger and talk to others who insure spaces in the venue(s) that you're interested in, and mention the word "knife" never, and only "cutlery," "utensil," or "tools" only as necessary in any official requests for info.
 

REK Knives

Well-Known Member
I have liability and property coverage, both for my business (knife making) which basically covers if my shop burns down or gets broken into and stuff stolen, as well as if someone cuts a finger off because a lock fails or something (of course testing and knowledge during building should prevent such issues but still, stuff can happen). Runs about $200/month. Pm me and I'll get you contact info on it.
 

samstewardeb

New Member
I regularly renew my insurance for both my house and my car. So far, I haven't needed it, which is probably a good thing. I've only needed bike insurance once, from https://sundaysinsurance.co.uk/cyclist-insurance. That was when I got hit by a car while riding my bike. Apparently, the driver was drunk because I was riding strictly in the bike lane.
Nevertheless, the insurance company reimbursed me for the treatment and repair of the bike. It's important to have some protection in such incidents because it's a huge stress and cost to the person.
 
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