Shisha Bar Insurance

In recent years, shisha lounges (also known as hookah bars) have been popping up across the UK. Centred on the premise of sharing shisha from a communal hookah pipe, the shisha lounge is a relaxed and fun setting for socialising with friends, family and colleagues. Shisha smoking originated in the Middle East, and with the wide range of flavoured tobaccos and dramatic bubbling pipe, the concept has taken off in the UK. The laid-back atmosphere and novelty of the steaming hookah pipe are proving to be a big hit, but how do you get the insurance right for a tobacco-based business?

Since 2007, smoking indoors has been banned in the UK. Shisha, a flavoured tobacco that is smoked through a waterpipe, faces the same legal restrictions as other tobacco products. Shisha lounges, therefore, need to comply with strict regulations to ensure their premises aren’t classed as “enclosed”. With the careful creation of open spaces, shisha lounges can legally operate, but due to the nature of business, owners of these establishments must be careful to cover all the associated risks where possible. If you own a hookah bar, you can learn how shisha lounge insurance can protect your business.


Shisha bar insurance - Shows a Shisha pipe on a red velvet chair


Is shisha bar insurance a form of public liability insurance?

Though a shisha bar’s main selling point is the ornate, shared hookah waterpipe, these establishments are cafes or bars. For this reason, shisha bar insurance offers public liability cover to protect against claims made by members of the public.

Public liability will be used to defend claims for injury or personal property damage attributable to the shisha bar premises. In scenarios such as a customer slipping on a wet floor or tearing an expensive item of clothing on a poorly maintained item of furniture, a costly claim could be made. Both the legal costs of defending the claim and any compensation are covered by public liability.


Do I need product liability cover for a shisha café?

Product liability is concerned with claims made for injury or personal property damage attributable to a product used or provided by a business. Naturally, in a shisha café, the main product you might wish to cover is the shisha itself. Some cafes create their own shisha blends for sale or relabel pre-made shisha. Given that this item is tobacco, with its irrefutable health implications, securing product liability for the shisha is complicated. Seeking out an insurer with experience in specialist cover will help smooth the path to comprehensive product liability coverage.

Shisha café insurance will always benefit from product liability cover because many other items used within the business could pose a risk of injury or property damage to members of the public.


Shisha lounge insurance - Shows burning coals


I employ staff at my hookah bar. What cover do I need?

If you hire staff within your hookah bar, it is currently a legal requirement in the UK to hold at least £5 million worth of employer’s liability cover.

This employer’s liability cover can be added to your hookah bar insurance. It’s used to defend and pay out for legal claims by staff members for injury or illness attributable to their work within your business.


Will my shisha bar insurance cover my contents and stock?

When you’ve started up your own shisha bar, you know just how much time and money goes into creating a venue that not only meets the regulations relating to the use of tobacco but that creates the right ambience for this style of establishment.

With their intricate designs and multiple pipe attachments for hygiene purposes, the communal waterpipes for customers to smoke shisha represent a significant investment. Sadly a target for theft due to their value, it’s essential to discuss with your insurer how to protect these assets, and the others held on your premises.

There’s far more to your shisha lounge than the hookah pipes. With the food and beverage side of operations to take into consideration, you’ll want to provide sufficient cover for your:

  • Shisha, bar and kitchen stock
  • Fixtures, fittings and furniture
  • Waterpipes, glassware, silverware and crockery
  • Kitchen equipment
  • Decorations


Abstract Shisha photo


Will my Shisha Lounge Insurance Cover Against Injuries Caused by the Waterpipes?

Hookah pipes have been in use for centuries, and in many ways, little about their basic design has changed. To produce the steam, water must be heated; therefore, hookah pipes include a heat source.

With both the heating element within the waterpipe, the bubbling water and the steam, there are risks that must be taken into consideration by your shisha café insurance. Public liability cover deals with claims pertaining to injury from your water pipes, so discuss an adequate level of cover with your insurer – taking into account the potential for multiple claims across a year.


Should I Include Professional Indemnity Insurance?

Given the nature of your venue, your insurer will need to discuss your unique risks with you – including those which standard cover cannot negate. Professional indemnity offers protection against claims made by a member of the public who asserts that the service you provided or the advice you offered led to harm.

A shisha bar involves tobacco use, with all the associated health risks of inhaling shisha smoke and breathing in that smoke second-hand. As a business, you need to provide adequate and up-to-date advice for your customers and any members of the public entering your premises.

If you’d like to include professional indemnity cover to your hookah bar insurance, be sure to discuss the limitations of that cover regarding tobacco use with your insurer.


At Park Insurance, we are passionate about working with business owners to provide them with bespoke cover that meets your exact requirements without going over budget. We will take the time to learn about your shisha bar, identifying the insurable risks and keeping you informed of those risks that cannot be covered. Give one of our friendly insurance experts a call today to see how we can support your business.

    Get a quote now