Host liquor liability insurance is coverage that protects your business against alcohol-related incidents and liabilities resulting from events where you sell or serve alcohol. In other words, it’s kind of like your license to party safely and responsibly.
Host liquor liability is only available to businesses that don’t make, sell, or serve alcoholic beverages. It’s intended as a safety net to protect businesses when they put on social events like a company picnic or Christmas party.
Whether the alcohol is provided free of charge, there’s a cash bar or it’s a BYOB get-together at the office doesn’t matter. Should someone over-indulge and cause bodily injury or property damage to a third-party, host liquor liability insurance helps cover court costs, legal expenses and settlements (up to coverage limits.)
Often included as part of a general liability policy, host liquor liability allows small businesses to have events that include alcohol while protecting themselves from liability.
Next Insurance currently does not offer host liquor liability insurance, but we do provide customized liquor liability insurance as an add-on to our commercial general liability insurance.
Host liquor liability only covers businesses that aren’t in the business of making, selling, or serving alcohol — basically just social hosts. So, if you are a business owner with a cafe or family restaurant that serves alcohol, the rules are different — you need different coverage.
Most states have laws that hold businesses liable for selling or serving alcohol to individuals who cause injury or property damage because they’re intoxicated. General liability coverage for these types of businesses doesn’t include alcohol-related incidents.
Instead, you’ll need a liquor liability insurance policy. Like host liquor liability, it provides coverage for injury or damage to third parties due to alcohol-related incidents. However, where host liquor liability is limited to special events, liquor liability is covered all day, every day, any time something happens.
From a neighborhood coffee shop that sells cans of locally brewed beer to a 50-seat fine dining restaurant that’s poppin’ bottles of champagne on the regular, if your business sells or serves alcohol, you’ll need liquor liability insurance coverage instead of host liquor liability insurance.
Now, don’t think that just because you’re covered by host liquor liability, you and your employees can go completely wild at the next company get-together. If you violate local or state liquor laws, you could face fines or jail time, neither of which host liquor liability can help with. Sorry.
For example, many locales have laws in place against adults providing or serving alcohol to minors. Even if there is no incident, by providing underage individuals access to alcohol, you could end up in a heap of trouble including getting your liquor license suspended.
Also worth noting is that many states hold the host responsible if they continue to serve a noticeably intoxicated person who later causes injury or damage. These are known as “dram shop laws.” While host liquor liability can help with insurance claims, you still need to follow local laws.
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