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Liquor Store Insurance

What is liquor liability insurance? Liquor liability coverage typically is added on as a policy endorsement. The cost of this add-on depends on the size of the liquor establishment and the number of persons served. Most states in the U.S. require establishments that sell alcohol such as bars and restaurants) to carry liquor liability insurance. However, Foley says some business owners don't realize that having a general commercial liability policy isn't the same thing.

This insurance provides coverage for bodily injury or property damage for which you may become legally liable as a result of contributing to a person's intoxication. This coverage is provided by a separate policy and will only cover insureds "in the business of" manufacturing, selling, distributing, serving alcoholic beverages for charge or no charge if a license is required for the activity. This exposure is not covered under the general liability policy.

Who Should Apply for Liquor Liability Insurance?

  • Bars and taverns
  • Restaurants
  • Social and fraternal clubs
  • Organizations that hold fundraisers where alcohol is sold
  • Liquor stores
  • Grocery and convenience stores
  • Catering companies

Claim Example for Liquor Stores

A 16-year-old boy purchased beer from a local retail store where his ID was not checked. He took the beer to an underage drinking party. Several hours later, his 20 year-old sister arrived to take him home, and she also consumed some beer. After they left, she lost control of her convertible which flipped over and killed her brother.The mother of the deceased filed suit against the retail store. Even though the person who caused the accident did not actually purchase the alcohol, the retail store was held liable due to the illegal sale to a minor. The claim settled for $580,000 in damages and expense costs totaled an additional $100,000.

A 19-year-old was consuming beer he purchased at a local gas station when he crashed his car into a tree. The passenger in his vehicle sustained significant brain damage, fractured legs and other internal injuries.The passenger sued the gas station for selling alcohol to a minor. The claim settled for the full policy limits of $1,000,000.

A convenience store denied service to a patron who appeared intoxicated. The patron was later involved in an automobile accident. Despite denying service, the convenience store was named in the suit. Ultimately, the convenience store was not found liable, but expense costs totaled $75,000.

An adult woman purchased a bottle of alcohol at a local liquor store. Her husband previously instructed all nearby stores not to sell alcohol to her because she was an alcoholic. The day after purchasing the bottle of alcohol, it was discovered that the woman drowned after falling or jumping off a bridge.The deceased?s family brought suit against the liquor store for selling alcohol to a known habitual drunkard, and the case settled for $850,000.

Should I get Liquor Liability for my Party/Event

Rental agreements with the commercial venues where the parties take place may have additional insurance requirements. For example, some may require you to have a large general liability limit and provide evidence coverage. This may require you to buy a special one-time event policy.

Some Other Insurance Considerations for Store Owners

Consider these claim and insurance coverage scenarios:
  • Are you covered for a slip and fall injury that occurs in your store?
  • Are you covered for a lawsuit related to liquor liability laws?
  • Do you have coverage for a robbery or theft of cash?
  • Do you have coverage for employee theft or dishonesty?
  • Are you covered if an alcoholic beverage you sell is contaminated?
  • Do you have coverage for loss of business income should your business operations be suspended?
  • Are you covered for employee claims of sexual harassment, wrongful termination or discrimination?
  • Does your policy automatically cover special events such as wine and beer tastings?

In Summary

If you operate any kind of business involved in the commercial sale or distribution of alcoholic spirits you need a Commercial Liquor Liability policy. Liquor Legal liability insurance pays the damages for liability imposed upon you or your business by the law. It also pays the cost of defending you when a claim is made against your policy.

Liability policies are designed to help protect you if you are sued by a third party who is injured or whose property is damaged. A third party is generally someone who is not a family member or employee. The policy covers defense costs and pays claims for which you are legally liable up to the policy limits.

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