Everything Bar Owners Need to Know About Liquor Liability

If you operate a business that serves alcohol, you probably know the dangers of your line of work all too well. A drunk patron is more likely to cause damages than a sober one, and under the wrong circumstances, those damages can be extreme. How can you protect yourself against the many liabilities that accompany alcohol? Liquor liability insurance should be your first line of defense. This type of insurance is specifically tailored to meet the needs of alcohol-serving establishments by offering coverage for property damage, legal liability, and other related expenses. Read on to better understand the importance of liquor liability insurance and why it’s a good investment for your bar or restaurant.


The history of liquor liability dates back to the 18th century when shops began cropping up throughout the U.S. that served alcohol. This led to the Prohibition era and Temperance movement, both of which were unsuccessful in the quest to eliminate alcohol. Dram shop laws were eventually passed in the 20th century to legalize alcohol and delegate further legislation to the states. The liability associated with serving alcohol became apparent, and liquor liability insurance emerged as a coverage option by the end of the 20th century.


What exactly does liquor liability insurance cover? The answer depends on the insurer you choose and the policy you decide on. Generally, though, this type of insurance will provide coverage for damages to people and property that occurred as a result of alcohol consumption. If a drunk patron smashes their chair, for example, an insurance policy may provide coverage. More importantly, if a patron causes bodily harm to another due to inebriation, the expenses may be covered by a liquor liability policy.


Does your bar need liquor liability insurance? It’s important to note that this kind of insurance is a requirement in some states. Whether or not you are required to carry it depends on the dram shop laws in your state. States that maintain dram shop laws typically hold businesses responsible for any damages that occur as a result of serving alcohol. Without liability coverage, a single incident could bankrupt your business. Even if liquor liability insurance is not required in your state, it’s a good idea to keep a policy in place.


One of the biggest benefits of a liquor liability policy is the protection it provides in cases related to drunk driving. Every responsible bartender does everything in their power to prevent an inebriated patron from getting behind the wheel, but ultimately, staff cannot control the actions of patrons. This could leave an establishment susceptible to legal liability if a patron drives drunk after drinking at your bar. Protect yourself against these dangers by investing in insurance.

About Byrnes Agency

At Byrnes Agency, we offer insurance solutions that can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Whether you’re looking for personal policies or commercial coverage, we have the right coverage for you. To learn more about our products, contact us today at one of our two locations.

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