The serving and/or selling of alcohol exposes businesses to certain risks, for a business might be held financially liable for incidents involving inebriated guests or customers. Liquor liability insurance may help protect Massachusetts businesses from a range of risks that come with serving alcohol.
Liquor liability insurance is specialized commercial liability insurance for businesses that provide alcoholic beverages. Like most liability insurance policies, liquor liability normally covers attorney fees, court fees, settlements and judgments associated with covered claims.
Most businesses that regularly serve and/or sell alcohol are required to obtain a liquor license from Massachusetts’ Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, and obtaining a license generally requires liquor liability coverage. Thus, most restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, wineries, breweries, caterers and food trucks that offer adult beverages as part of a standard menu likely need liquor liability coverage.
Businesses that only serve alcohol at special events usually also can benefit from the protections that liquor liability coverage offers. Even if alcohol isn’t actually sold at a company party or nonprofit fundraiser, the sponsoring organization might still be held responsible if alcohol is served and something happens. A short-term liquor liability policy that’s in effect only during an event’s dates can often be purchased for these sorts of situations.
In some cases, whether liquor liability coverage is needed isn’t immediately clear. Businesses that are unsure whether they need this type of insurance can talk with an insurance agent who knows these policies well. A knowledgeable agent will be able to make an informed recommendation about coverage after reviewing a business' particular situation.
Servers are sometimes also held liable if one of the people they serve becomes too inebriated, and individual servers can be sued. Most servers receive liquor liability coverage from their employer, though.
Uncommonly, an employer could have less liquor liability coverage than a server would personally like. Purchasing an individual policy can make sense when this happens, although this is the exception to the norm. Anyone who’s concerned that their employer might not have sufficient coverage can review a copy of their employer’s policy with an experienced insurance agent.
While the exact incidents that a liquor liability policy will cover are dependent upon the policy’s terms and conditions, most policies provide coverage for incidents akin to the following scenarios that involve an inebriated person:
Some policies cover psychological harm in addition to physical harm. For example, a policy might cover the psychological harm that stems from an assault or all-out fight. This can be particularly important coverage, because spectators who only witness an event may still suffer psychological effects.
For help purchasing liquor liability insurance that provides either ongoing or short-term coverage, contact the independent insurance agents at Roger Keith & Sons Insurance. Our agents have the expertise needed to help you find a policy that provides the protections you need, and we can recommend the best available policy regardless of what company offers it. With our assistance, you can be confident that your Massachusetts business is well insured whenever a drink is served or sold.