What Insurance Do Taverns, Bars, and Pubs Need?

Bars & Pubs Liability Insurance: How it Works & What You Need

As a bar, pub, or a tavern owner, you need insurance. Yes, you’ll need your classic CGL (or commercial general liability insurance.) You’ll need your commercial property insurance to defend your assets and building contents against physical disasters, such as fires or theft. But what about the biggest risk aspects that comes with running a bar, pub, or tavern? Businesses that serve liquor cannot be insured the same way as establishments that do not.

Here’s what you need to know to protect your bar, pub, or tavern from liquor liability claims that allege property damage and/or bodily injury.

What Insurance Do Taverns, Bars, and Pubs Need?

Insurance can look very different for taverns, bars, and pubs as compared to regular restaurants or establishments that sell food and beverages but not alcohol. There’s an added risk when liquor is thrown into the mix. Poor liquor serving practices, intoxicated customers, and rowdy patrons can all be a huge liability risk, potentially leading to lawsuits or third-party claims.

First, to understand insurance for taverns, bars, and pubs, we need to know how each of these businesses are different from one another. These are all drinking establishments – all necessitate some form of liquor liability insurance, but a pub is not a bar and vice versa.

  • A bar only serves alcohol – no food, apart from maybe a few small snacks.
  • A pub (or a tavern) has a full food menu in addition to the liquor that they serve.
  • Taverns are known historically in the United States for being a place that people would go to “do business,” whilst enjoying the served drinks and various food items.

Pubs and taverns are pretty much interchangeable, although pubs may have a stronger focus on leisure than on business. Both will offer similar experiences: a social environment with plenty of drinks, and maybe a decent selection of hearty food to choose from.

What is liquor liability insurance?

Liquor liability insurance is a necessity for any establishment that serves alcohol. Liquor liability insurance, or simply liquor liability, is designed to cover any unexpected costs which may arise due to claims against your pub, tavern, or bar, alleging that property damage or bodily injury ensued from an intoxicated person. Business requiring liquor liability insurance may include:

  • Bars, pubs, nightclubs
  • Taverns
  • Hookah bars
  • Lounges
  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Event hosts where liquor is served

What do I need to serve alcohol in Ohio?

State by state the process of acquiring your liquor license varies. In Ohio, getting a liquor license is a necessity to serve alcohol (and a must for anyone serving, selling, or manufacturing alcohol that works for you) and necessitates the submission of an application, along with a $100 fee to the Ohio Department of Commerce.

After processing of your application has begun, a notice will be sent to your local legislative authority as well as your local police department. A Licensing Office compliance officer will promptly begin a physical inspection of your premises to ensure it’s up to snuff and zoned for the distribution and sale of alcohol. If requested by a public institution or legislative body, there may also be a hearing. It takes between 10-12 weeks to be approved for a liquor license in Ohio, and the price can be up to $2,344.

What Other Insurance Coverages Might a Bar, Tavern, or Pub Need?

A comprehensive bar, tavern, or pub insurance policy includes more than just liquor liability insurance. The following coverages may be beneficial to these kinds of establishments:

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance

Commercial general liability insurance is a necessity, otherwise known as slip-and-fall insurance. It protects you from issues and accidents that can happen on a day-to-day basis, especially when interacting with third parties (customers). Claims of bodily injury or property damage can put a business out thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars.

Commercial Property Insurance

If you have a physical property – leased or owned – you need commercial property insurance. Bars, taverns, and pubs all thrive on the fact that they are physical places for people to socialize and enjoy great drinks together. Fires, theft, vandalism, and storms all pose a threat to your business, and what would it cost you to repair or replace everything you owned if something happened? Commercial property insurance gets you back on your feet faster.

Equipment Breakdown Insurance

Does your bar, tavern, or pub use a specific instrument or piece of machinery to manufacture its alcohol or to do business? If so, it’s wise to invest in equipment breakdown insurance. This specialized insurance option will protect your business if its precious machinery breaks down, compensating you for a temporary replacement or paying out for the repairs.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Your business may not solely carry out its transactions online, assuming your physical presence sees the most of your business. However, if you do deliveries where purchases are done virtually or if you store customer data, then you’ll need cyber liability insurance. Nearly every business requires some form of cyber liability insurance since every business is increasingly dependent on technology.

How Much Does Tavern, Bar, and Pub Insurance Cost?

Serving and distributing alcohol presents a certain heightened risk that not every other business presents. As such, you may find that adding liquor liability insurance to your existing program will increase your premiums. Your location, insurance history, business history, and average revenue will also affect your premiums. You can reduce costs by working with a Hitchings Insurance insurance professional who will help shop around for you and find you the best possible coverage for your bar, pub, or tavern.

Have any other questions about liquor liability or insurance for pubs, bars, and taverns? Discuss with Hitchings Insurance team members today for more information. We can’t wait to work with you one-on-one to navigate your insurance needs easier.