There are different types of insurance protection that businesses need to be aware of when it comes to liquor liability insurance. Most businesses might believe that this type of liability insurance is only required by businesses that manufacture, distribute, sell, serve, or furnish alcoholic beverages on a normal basis—like restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
However, this is not entirely accurate, and businesses could be at risk even if they occasionally serve or furnish alcoholic beverages. These types of businesses require host liquor liability insurance. This type of coverage is different from standard liquor liability insurance carried by restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, and other such businesses.
Host liability insurance provides protection for the business in the event of accidents and injuries that can be related to the serving or furnishing of alcoholic beverages. It is meant to be used only in cases where alcohol is served or furnished occasionally—for instance, there is an open bar at a company holiday party for employees and their families to enjoy.
Who Needs Host Liquor Liability Insurance?
Holiday parties would be considered occasional events and, therefore, the company hosting the party would require host liquor liability insurance protection. Aside from companies that host events where alcohol is serviced or furnished, other types of businesses that could require this type of liability insurance protection include:
- Catering Companies: If you cater weddings, dances, corporate parties, and other events where alcohol is occasionally on the menu, you will want to protect your interests if you or your employees are the ones serving or furnishing alcohol to the guests.
- Contracted Bartenders: If you work as an independently contracted bartender where you tend bar for weddings, parties, or other special events, you will want to protect yourself with the right liquor liability coverages.
- Concert Halls: If the concert hall does not have a liquor license, but will be hosting concerts and events where alcohol is furnished or served, they may need this type of coverage.
- Special Events: From county fairs to other community and special events where alcohol will be served or furnished, the hosts of the event will want to verify they are protected with the right liquor liability insurance.
It is important to stress that host liquor liability insurance only applies to those businesses that do not manufacture, distribute, sell, serve, or furnish alcohol beverages as part of the day-to-day operations of the business. This type of coverage only provides protection for the occasional serving and furnishing of alcoholic beverages.
Six Instances Where Host Liquor Insurance Saved the Day
To help give you a better idea of how host liquor liability protection works, let’s look at six different cases where it helped protect the business and save the day.
Case 1: Corporate Party Gone Wild
To kick off the launch of a new clothing product campaign, your company hosts a private party for employees and their families. At the event, the company is serving and furnishing alcoholic beverages. You notice your co-worker Ted is intoxicated. You say something to Ted that he might want to slow down on the alcohol.
Ted takes offense and starts an argument, which leads to Ted punching you repeatedly in the face and other areas of your body. After the fight, you need to seek medical treatment for your injuries. Even though you know Ted was just acting out because he was drunk, your employer could be held responsible for paying for your injuries and other damages because they furnished and served the alcohol.
In this case, as long as the company has host liquor liability protection, they could avoid the negative publicity a lawsuit could bring, as well as make you a reasonable settlement offer.
Case 2: BYOB Wedding Goes Up in Flames
A bride and groom want to rent your venue to hose their wedding reception. You do not have a liquor license, but the bride and groom want to make BYOB (bring your own booze) arrangements. You agree, and you allow them to bring whatever alcoholic beverages they want to furnish and serve their guests.
During the wedding reception, several guests become drunk and start playing with a butane lighter. They decided they want to recreate a scene from their favorite movie, where the actor lights a lighter then spits a mist of alcohol out of his mouth to create a fireball.
While they attempt this feat, they start the building on fire. By protecting your venue with the host liquor insurance, you can rest easier knowing the damages caused by the fire are covered.
Case 3: Picnic in the Park Ends Badly
Your company is hosting the annual “picnic in the park” concert event for the community. Part of their hosting responsibilities is serving alcoholic beverages to guests during the concert. During the concert, you notice fellow co-worker Tammy is a bit drunk. After
the concert, Tammy gets behind the wheel of her car to drive home.
She inadvertently drives down the blocked-off section near the park where several vendors have set up booths to sell products during the event. She ends up hitting and injuring several people and damaging several booths.
Luckily, your company took the time to verify they had host liquor insurance coverage so they are protected should anyone decide to file a lawsuit against them since Tammy is their employee.
Case 4: Open House Party Brings the House Down
You are opening a new business and decide to host an open house event so people can get to know you and learn more about your business. You decide, to help entice people to attend, you want to serve beer and wine. The open house starts off rather well, and you think things are going great.
You are meeting several people who are part of your community, as well as fellow small business owners. Unfortunately, you fail to notice that one of the attendees has become rather intoxicated and exits the event. A few minutes later, the same person accidentally drives his or her car right through the front wall of your business, injuring several of your guests.
Since you hosted the open house and furnished alcoholic beverages, you could be held responsible for the driver’s actions and injuries to your guests. Thankfully, you have host liquor coverage, so you can rest a bit easier knowing, if you are sued, you are protected.
Case 5: Hotel Conference Dinner Gets Messy
A company rents several conference rooms from a hotel. The company also wants to provide alcohol during special dinner events they have planned. The company intends to furnish the alcohol themselves but has asked the hotel’s waitstaff to serve it.
During dinner, several of the guests have gotten intoxicated. Two particular tables are having fun by tossing dinner rolls back and forth. One of the rolls goes astray and lands in the soup of a guest at another table, staining her dress. She gets upset and, in response, flings a spoon full of soup back at the other table.
Eventually, the whole situation escalates into a full-blown food fight between numerous tables and guests. While no one is injured, there is significant damage done to the conference rooms. Since the food fight was essentially started by drunk guests, your company’s host liquor coverage pays the hotel for the property damage.
Case 6: Nonprofit Fundraiser Guest Topples Down Stairs
A nonprofit is hosting a fundraising dinner and silent auction event. The event is being held in a private residence owned by one of the members of the nonprofit. The event planners decide it would be a good idea to furnish and serve alcoholic beverages to help raise money in the way of “tips.”
During the evening, a guest has one too many drinks. The guest staggers upstairs to use the bathroom. Afterward, as the guest is heading back downstairs, he or she slips and tumbles down the stairs, breaking several bones and sustaining other injuries.
Since the nonprofit furnished the alcohol, they are responsible for the guest’s injuries. Prior to the event, they checked with their insurance provider and confirmed they had the right type of host liquor liability insurance coverage just in case of an accident.
As you can see, host liquor coverage can help protect a business for those occasional times where they might serve or furnish alcohol or agree to a BYOB arrangement.
Please keep in mind, these are just examples to illustrate how this insurance coverage could protect a business. It does not take into account specific state and local laws, which may require the business to secure certain permits and other such things prior to hosting an event. In addition, in some cases, the business may not be entirely responsible and multiple parties could be held liable.
For additional information about liquor insurance coverages, including regular liquor liability and host liability liquor insurance, please feel free to contact Tabak Insurance Agency at (281) 857-6426 to speak with an insurance agent today!