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Liquor Liability Insurance: Not just for Restaurants

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 04, 2018

Do You Need Liquor Liability Insurance?It will soon be that time of year when many businesses will offer their employees a chance to celebrate the season with a holiday party. At some of these parties, alcohol will be served, and, as we all know, too much alcohol can make people do crazy things!

But how much is too much alcohol?

The answer to that question is entirely different if you’re talking about a 110-pound woman who hasn’t eaten all day and a 210-pound man who has been eating from the buffet for hours.

Be Careful - You Can Be Held Liable

What happens if one of your employees drinks too much and gets into a car accident on the way home? What if a vendor who stopped by your party drinks too much and breaks a leg falling down your steps? What if one of your managers drinks too much and gets into a physical altercation with a colleague?

The truth is that your business could be held liable or responsible because you served him or her too much alcohol. That means that you might have to pay for damages to your employee’s car and the car he hit, plus any injuries. That means that you may have to pay for your vendor’s medical expenses. And it means you could be sued for any injuries sustained in the altercation. That's where liquor liability insurance comes in, but more about that later.

Dram Shop Laws Also Apply to Private Events

Pennsylvania is one of 43 states that have Dram Shop Laws. That law states that any business or individual that serves alcohol in any form – wine, beer, spirits - to a visibly intoxicated person is legally responsible for bodily injury or property damage arising out of the serving of alcoholic beverages. This law applies to not only businesses like bars and restaurants that are in the business of selling alcohol, but also to businesses that provide alcohol at private events. It can also apply to a business giving alcoholic beverages as gifts to clients, vendors, or employees.

Liquor Liability Insurance 

The good news is that there is a way to protect your business: Liquor Liability Insurance. This insurance won’t keep you from getting sued, but it will help cover the cost of your legal defense and any settlements you may be required to pay if you are sued. 

Host Liquor Liability Insurance

While businesses with a liquor license are required to have Liquor Liability Insurance as part of their restaurant insurance coverage, Host Liquor Liability Insurance protects businesses that don't manufacture, serve, or sell alcohol from liquor-related lawsuits. It helps protect companies that host social events where alcohol is served, and it is often included in your Commercial General Liability policy. 

Host Liquor Liability coverage under your general liability policy may not cover you if you are negligent in any way such as serving alcohol to a minor or violating ordinances and regulations related to the distribution of alcohol.

How to Reduce Liability Exposure

You can also reduce your liability exposure by either not allowing alcohol at business events or if alcohol is allowed, practicing responsible behaviors. Here are a few tips to reduce your liability exposure:

  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages
  • Serve food
  • Consider hosting your party at a venue – like a restaurant or bar – that has a liquor license
  • Hire a professional bartender who can recognize the signs of intoxication
  • Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who shouldn’t drive
  • Stop serving alcohol well before the time the party is scheduled to end
  • DO NOT charge employees for alcoholic beverages because then you are technically in the business of selling alcohol and all the implications that go with it.

 

Get the Right Insurance Protection - Contact Us Today

Buy Liquor Liability InsuranceIf you decide to serve alcohol at your next business function, check your commercial general liability policy to make sure that it provides coverage for liquor liability.

To protect your business from liability, give the experienced agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online. You'll get great insurance protection at a great price. Contact us today to get started.

Tags: Liquor Liability Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Business Insurance

Drunk Patrons & Restaurant Insurance: Are You Protected?

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

Will Your Restaurant be Held Liable for Accidents? How Much Can Restaurant Insurance Help?

Restaurant insurance protection for drunk drivers via liquor liability insurance. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, York, Harrisburg, Lebanon, Erie, Pittsburgh and beyond with quality business insurance for over 25 years.Let’s say you own a restaurant.  One night, a group of friends enjoy dinner and a few drinks at your restaurant.  They decide to go to a club where they dance and consume more alcohol.  Then, they go to a corner pub to wind down with a few more drinks.  On the way home, one of those friends causes an accident that injures or – God forbid – kills someone in the process.

Who is responsible?  You and your restaurant?  The club?  The pub?  That depends on which state your restaurant is located.  If it’s in Nevada, none of the establishments will be held responsible for injuries caused by intoxicated patrons; all of the responsibility lies with the person directly causing the injury.   However, many other states place the responsibility elsewhere.

Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Statute

In Pennsylvania, all of the establishments could be held responsible – even your restaurant.  Under Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Statute, a licensed drinking establishment can be held liable for injuries caused by intoxication if the establishment served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual or to a minor.

Not only could you face administrative and criminal fines and penalties, but you could also be sued in civil court for damages that person might cause after leaving your establishment.  You could lose your liquor license. If you serve alcohol to a minor, the establishment's owner, operator, or the server could face a term of imprisonment of three months to one year, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Determining whether a server should have realized the extent of a patron's intoxication is fuzzy.   How the alcohol affects a person is what matters, not how many drinks were consumed. 

When is a Driver Considered Legally Drunk in Pennsylvania?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration is .04 percent or greater.
  • School bus drivers are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 or more.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration is .02 or more.

How to Protect Yourself, Your Employees, and Your Business

If your establishment serves alcohol, all of your servers and managers should undergo some type of training in alcohol service, such as the National Hospitality Institute’s Techniques of Alcohol Management or Pennsylvania’s Responsible Alcohol Management Training Program (RAMP).

RAMP, created by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, helps licensees – such as restaurants, hotels, clubs, and distributors - and their employees serve alcohol more responsibly.  RAMP certification offers practical advice on detecting fake IDs, using the FEAR method of carding, and identifying a “visibly intoxicated patron.”

But, what if that person was not intoxicated when he or she left your restaurant and is of a legal drinking age?  You could still be held responsible.  If an incident does occur, your best defense is a written policy and documentation that you adhere to that policy.  Review the policy with your employees regularly. 

Liquor Liability Insurance - Important Restaurant Insurance Protection

Liquor liability insurance can be an invaluable form of restaurant insurance protection. It can help protect your restaurant business from highly damaging lawsuits into the millions of dollars resulting from property damage and injury caused by intoxicated customers who purchased alchohol in your establishment.

These policies may differ significantly by insurance provider in terms of costs and coverage details. This is why you should consult the independent insurance professionals at American Insuring Group. We offer policies from competing insurance companies. We'll help you find the right restaurant insurance policy at the right price. 

Contact us to learn more about restaurant insurance and liquor liability insurance. We serve Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, Lehigh Valley, Allentown, Reading, Erie, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond. Call today.Contact an American insuring Group agent at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to find more ways to protect your business with the right restaurant insurance.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Liquor Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Lancaster PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, Accident Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Commercial Insurance York PA, Commercial Insurance Berks County