Does my Atlanta restaurant or bar need liquor liability insurance?

If your Atlanta dining establishment serves alcohol, you’re open to a number of risks. What if a fight breaks out because one of your patrons is intoxicated? What if one of your patrons leaves and gets into a car accident that injures the other driver – and what if your patron is found to be legally drunk? Your business could be found responsible on the basis of being the place that served the alcohol. But that’s where liquor liability insurance comes in. We’ll explain how liquor insurance can protect your business and what to look for in a policy.

First of all: What is liquor liability?

Okay, before we go any further, let’s define what liquor liability insurance is protecting you from. Liquor liability is the legal responsibility of a business that serves or sells alcohol for the actions of patrons who drank said alcohol at their establishment. That means that you could be found responsible if one of your patrons causes someone bodily harm or causes property damage. So, restaurant safety should include training for employees about serving alcohol.

Why do I need liquor liability coverage?

General liability insurance may provide host liquor liability for occasional instances where alcohol is served (like as a company holiday party.) However, this host liquor liability is not enough for a business that sells and serve alcohol. As we mentioned above, alcohol comes with many risks, and you need to make sure that you’re covered for any mishaps that happen because of serving it.

What does liquor liability insurance cover?

The short answer to what liquor liability insurance covers is that it can protect you if you get sued because of the actions of an intoxicated patron. For example, some things that may be covered by liquor liability insurance covers are…

1. Unruly customers. Alcohol can make people unpredictable, and it can even make them violent. You can include assault and battery with your policy (we’ll explain more about this in a moment.)

2. Legal fees and court defense costs. If you’re on the receiving end of an alcohol-related claim or lawsuit, the legal fees and damages that you’re obligated to pay can become astronomical. But liquor liability may help you cover these expenses.

3. Your employees. You want to trust your employees to serve alcohol responsibly and follow any protocols you have set up – and not to drink on the job – but your policy can provide an added protection for your employees.

How to choose the liquor liability policy that’s right for you:

It’s extremely important to note that not all liquor liability policies are the same. Some may exclude certain scenarios, meaning you would need to add coverage to be sure that your business is fully protected. Be sure to check for the following in the policy you’re considering:

  • Assault and battery coverage: Many policies actually exclude assault and battery, so make sure that you add this coverage to close the gap. You can usually extend assault and battery coverage to include specific situations, such as shootings, stabbings, or sexual assault.
  • Defense costs: You need to make sure that your policy will cover defense costs outside of the policy’s limit. Legal fees can add up and they can eat up your policy’s limit quickly, leaving no money to cover damages you have to pay. Basically, you need to check if the cost of defending yourself against a claim is covered in addition to the limit on your policy.
  • Coverage for employees: Earlier we mentioned that your employees can be a risk to your business if they don’t serve alcohol responsibly or if they drink on the job. It’s a good idea to make sure that your policy accounts for your employees and covers them just like it does your patrons.
  • Coverage for claims of mental damages: If a third-party is involved in an alcohol-related incident caused by one of your patrons, they could sue for stress, anguish, or psychological injury even if they were not physically injured. Check and see if the policy you’re considering covers these sorts of claims.

A note about serving alcohol to minors:

The drinking age in the United States is 21. There’s no arguing with it. If you have a liquor liability claim that arises from serving alcohol to a minor, that claim will not be covered. It’s crucial that all of your employees know to ID people and how to identify fake IDs. Everyone needs to understand that serving alcohol to minors will not be tolerated at your establishment.

So that’s why liquor liability insurance is so important for restaurants and other establishments that serve alcohol. Serving alcohol opens your business to a number of risks, which is why having the right insurance is key to your business. To find out what kind of insurance you need for your business, you can fill out our online form or give us a call today. We would be happy to discuss your business and your insurance with you. We can also help you shop for the best rate for your insurance and get business insurance quotes for you.