Ordering Catering

What is a COI? How Do They Work?


Written by Danielle Smith • December 28, 2023

What is a COI? How Do They Work?

A caterer’s worst nightmare: the food catches on fire, which then sets the tablecloth aflame, which then shuts down a large function and places all eyes on you, the one holding the spatula. This is extremely rare — we promise — but sometimes accidents pop up and when they do, having insurance to cover the costs is extremely helpful.

Getting a Certificate of Insurance (COI) is required for many buildings or event spaces, especially for caterers who are cooking on premises. But what is a COI and how do they work?

Certificate of insurance

A Certificate of Insurance, shortened to COI, is a document that is created and issued by an insurance company or through an insurance broker. It states out the details of an insurance policy, including time of coverage and amount of coverage.

The COI is proof that you have insurance, which is why many event spaces require them from people hosting, facilitating, or working at events. In short, the event space wants to make sure that if something terrible were to happen during an event, that there would be adequate insurance coverage from each of the parties involved. Without insurance, the event space would be liable for any accidents, which they’re understandably not keen to go through.

When is a COI required?

Showing proof of insurance through a COI is generally required for event space rentals, as mentioned, but also for movers, construction or renovation work, delivery of large items into an office space, or even if there’s on-site cooking through a catering company. They’re required when there’s risk and when an involved party wants to minimize that risk.

Typically, as you’re going through the contract phase for a job, you’ll learn whether there’s a requirement for insurance. If there is, you’ll need a COI to prove that you have active insurance that has appropriate and adequate coverage.

How to get one through CaterCow

If you find yourself in need of a COI, you can get one through CaterCow. To do so, please reach out to our support team at support@catercow.com to request one and we can help you get the details right. We’ve found that it’s best to request one before it’s required, that way you aren’t on the back foot when asked to present a COI. It can sometimes take up to 3 business days for us to get something that fits your building's specific needs.

While it’s impossible to predict when accidents will happen, having insurance means being prepared. A COI can help you put the details in place so you can focus on the matter at hand without worrying about the “what ifs.”