Massachusetts businesses that sell or serve alcohol may be held liable for incidents involving intoxicated patrons. Liquor liability insurance helps protect businesses from many of these potential incidents.
Liquor liability insurance policies are specialized commercial liability policies. As liability policies, they typically help pay legal fees and settlements associated with covered claims as soon as a claim is filed and verified. Payment normally doesn’t have to wait until a final judgement is made in court.
In order to obtain a liquor license in Massachusetts, businesses generally need to have liquor liability coverage in place. This is a stipulation put in place by the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
In certain situations, businesses that sponsor events where alcohol is offered may want liquor liability coverage even if they don’t actually need a liquor license. Companies that offer adult beverages at parties, for example, might want a policy in case events get out of hand at one party.
Nonprofits that host events where alcohol is offered may want coverage for the same reasons that businesses which hold parties might. Even if alcohol is given away for free at a fundraiser or other event, someone might try to hold the nonprofit sponsoring the event responsible for any alcohol-induced incidents.
Similarly, individuals who serve alcoholic beverages can benefit from having liquor liability coverage. In the event of a claim-worth incident, patrons will sometimes sue any party who gave them alcohol -- and that may include individual servers.
Before purchasing their own individual policy, servers should talk with an insurance agent who specializes in liquor liability policies. A specialized agent will know what types of policies are available for both businesses and individuals, and they’ll be able to review an employers policy to check what individual protection it provides for servers. In many cases, an employers policy will provide sufficient protection.
General liability insurance is a fundamental coverage that most businesses serving alcohol should have, but it usually doesn’t provide coverage for alcohol-related incidents. Even slip-and-fall accidents, which generally liability normally covers, are often excluded if the injured party has been served alcohol and is intoxicated.
Therefore, alcohol-serving businesses typically should get liquor liability coverage in addition to any general liability coverage that they carry. For protection against incidents involving alcohol, liquor liability is normally the best form of insurance.
Liquor liability coverage usually protects against a range of potential alcohol-induced incidents. Some examples of what a policy might cover include:
Falls and other accidents involving intoxicated customers
Fights involving one or more intoxicated customers
Sexual assaults by intoxicated customers
Car accidents caused by intoxicated customers after leaving
Carrying liquor liability coverage is not a substitute for checking IDs so underage customers aren’t sold alcohol. Selling alcohol to underage individuals is illegal, and many policies exclude incidents involving underage drinks from their list of coveages. Thus, businesses that sell adult beverages to underage customers may face several consequences even if they have insurance in place.
For assistance finding liquor liability insurance that’s tailored to your business or organization’s needs, contact Dempsey Insurance. Our independent insurance agents have the expertise necessary to review different insurance companies’ offerings and help you find the policy that’s right for your particular Massachusetts business.