It seems that for every season there’s a reason to go out and celebrate something. From American holidays to holidays originating from other countries to ringing in the New Year, there’s never a shortage to come together and toast to something. But with all this comes the risk of being held accountable for the actions of intoxicated patrons. In fact, 30 states in the United States have what are called Dram Shop laws, which hold licensed establishments liable for the selling and serving of alcohol to those who suffer an injury or death, or who cause it as a result of drinking.

Obtaining appropriate insurance coverage, specifically bar and tavern insurance, is an essential component to the success of a bar and restaurant.

Common Dram Shop Exposures

Often bars and restaurants just aim for General Liability insurance as their sole policy to satisfy lease requirements. However, this type of insurance does not cover claims that may arise because of alcohol, as seen below:

  • DUI: Common liability claims typically stem from the over-service of alcoholic drinks to patrons who eventually climb behind the wheel of a car. Even if the person who caused an accident only had one drink this could still hurt the establishment in question.
  • Activity Hazard: Hot tempers and alcohol do not mix. Bar owners know that there will be the occasional bar fight at their establishment, but what they might not consider are other injuries caused by things like mechanical bulls, stairs, bar stools, slipping, falling, and more. To make sure all possible injuries or freak accidents are covered, the bar and tavern insurer needs to clearly state them during the application process so they can secure appropriate coverage.
  • Flammable Decor: Patron injuries caused by something like flammable decorations or servers spilling hot food or drinks on someone can create big problems for bar owners who don’t have adequate coverage. Flaming shot tricks look great, but they don’t always go according to plan. Burn injuries, maiming and disfiguring, and other associated issues can hurt a bar or restaurant. Bar owners should make sure to consider an insurance program that conducts loss control during inspections. Not every risk or scenario can be prevented or even prepared for, but limiting these risks will help with coverage.
  • Fake ID’s: Underage patrons or those with expired ID’s will never stop trying to get into bars. Instead of only trying to cut down on these risks, bar owners should invest in ID scanners to help identify false documents. Once that underaged or unlawful patron is inside the door illegally they become the responsibility of the bar or restaurant.

Preventing loss isn’t always possible, but making an effort to protect against potential risks can save money and hardship. Insurance policies can be tailored to a bar’s environment, and can provide peace-of-mind to owners.

About RMS Hospitality Group

At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For more information, contact our knowledgeable experts today at (516) 742-8585.

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