Liquor Liability Insurance 101
According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, or TABC, there are three tiers of alcohol-related businesses in Texas – you’re either (or some type of combination of) a manufacturer, a distributor, or a retailer. Most businesses getting permits and licenses to legally operate are retail liquor stores and bars, selling alcohol to consumers directly from a brick-and-mortar shop. If you think of how many liquor stores and bars are between San Antonio and Austin, you can imagine that many businesses are having to keep up with the latest demands of the TABC. Now factor in how many issues can arise, not just from confusion in regulations, but also from unfortunate situations happening at those shops and bars. Things can get fuzzy, and it’s not the alcohol talking this time.
Liquor liability insurance can help your business when some of those unfortunate situations happen. Whenever there is alcohol involved, the stakes rise and things can easily get out of hand. If a drinking customer at your bar causes damage or injury (to themselves or others) after being served alcohol at your establishment, that customer can blame the bar and you can be held liable. As unfair as that may sound, you can even be held responsible for serving that customer even just one drink because the customer could have already been intoxicated from enjoying drinks at another location. While it’s usually easy to tell who is intoxicated and who is sober, there is always the chance that the one person you serve to is a calm, seemingly level-headed person up until they are triggered, so you never know what is going to happen or when.
While insurance policies vary, some also cover assault and battery on the premises, which helps protect against claims of your staff injuring an intoxicated person while escorting them off the premises, even if the injury was unintentional. Having security cameras in your bar is helpful, but it’s not usually enough protection against this type of claim, as most people willing to sue the bar will try to use the video evidence in their favor, meaning even more expenses for your business lawyer to analyze and turn that evidence to favorable discovery.
Legal actions are common against small and local bars because angry patrons who feel wronged know that legal fees, time, and bad press are all factors toward taking down the business. Having a liquor liability insurance policy can help your business cover the costs of legal fees and help with the financial burden of damages awarded if the court finds your business or staff at fault. The policy can also help cover consulting costs if and when your business needs to hire a marketing agency to help with damage control. Alcohol can inspire people to act bravely and out of control, inciting violence and creating chaos, so having that extra press consultant to draft a crisis plan helps explain the situation to the media and public in a more favorable light for your business.
We hope your retail store or bar never has to go through the trouble or embarrassment of any issues, and we can help ensure that if this does happen, that you are covered appropriately and effectively. Get in touch with our agents and let us work on a quote for your exact needs for liquor liability insurance, among other policies if needed.
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