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Best Liquor Liability Insurance

Make sure your business is protected

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bartender pouring drinks at a bar

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Liquor liability insurance is designed to protect businesses that sell, serve, or manufacture alcohol. If someone becomes intoxicated at your place of business and causes damage or injuries as a result, the harmed party could file a lawsuit against your business. Liquor liability insurance helps pay for legal fees and medical bills so that your business won’t be left financially vulnerable. Since liquor liability insurance is typically excluded from most general liability policies, you’ll need to purchase it separately or as an add-on if your business deals with alcohol.

The best liquor liability insurance for you will depend on the type of venue or business you operate and where it’s located, the share of your sales that come from alcohol, and other risk factors. For example, a nightclub will pay more for liquor liability insurance than a convenience store. It’s important to compare quotes from several different insurers to get the lowest premium for the coverage your business needs. Continue reading to learn about the best liquor liability insurance.

Best Liquor Liability Insurance of 2021

Best Overall: Westchester

Westchester

Westchester

Why We Chose It: Westchester, a subsidiary of Chubb, checks all the boxes with high financial strength ratings, great coverage options for a variety of businesses, and an online quote and application process.

What We Like

  • A++ financial strength rating from AM Best
  • Provides up to $2 million in liquor liability coverage
  • Assault and battery either included or available
  • No cap on alcohol sales
  • Coverage available for unlicensed businesses

What We Don’t Like

  • Wineries, after-hours clubs, and bars with bottle service are excluded
  • Not available in Alaska, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Montana, and South Carolina
  • No instant, anonymous quotes

Westchester is a subsidiary of Chubb, a global insurer that has been around since 1882 and has an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best. Westchester has a very low complaint index with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which indicates far fewer than average complaints for a company of its size. Westchester offers several small commercial insurance products, including monoline liquor liability insurance for a variety of business types, and special event insurance, which can include both general and liquor liability insurance.

Its monoline product provides coverage up to $2 million for both licensed and unlicensed businesses with no cap on alcohol sales. Assault and battery is either included or available for an additional cost, and when you sign up for a policy, the liquor license holder is automatically added as an additional insured.

Preferred classes served include retail liquor/convenience stores, restaurants, banquet halls, caterers and bartenders, wholesale distributors, and private fraternal clubs. While there are no anonymous online quotes, you can easily submit an application online and receive coverage within minutes.

Best for Events: Markel

Markel

Markel

Why We Chose It: Markel offers event policies starting at $75 with the option to add liquor liability insurance and receive a bundling discount when pairing liability and cancellation insurance.

What We Like

  • Policies start at just $75
  • Save 15 percent when bundling with cancellation insurance
  • $500,000 to $2 million in coverage available for a variety of events
  • You can purchase a policy up to one day before the event
  • Venues named as “additional insured” at no cost

What We Don’t Like

  • $1,000 property damage deductible
  • $300 limit on gifts
  • Liability coverage not available for international events

Founded in 1930, Markel has an A financial strength rating from AM Best and fewer complaints than average for a company of its size with the NAIC. The company offers several business policies in addition to an individual policy for event organizers. Liquor liability insurance is an option you can add when purchasing special event insurance from Markel. The company's policies cover a variety of events, from weddings to private parties to business conferences. Premiums start at a competitive $75.

Markel is a great option for last-minute coverage since you can purchase liability coverage up to one day before the event. If you also elect to purchase cancellation coverage, you’ll need to buy it two weeks beforehand, but you’ll get a 15 percent discount for bundling. It’s easy and fast to get a quote and apply for coverage online. Coverage is available in all 50 states, including for cruise ships leaving U.S. ports. The biggest downside to coverage from Markel is that there is a $1,000 deductible for property damage. However, event cancellation policies have a low $25 deductible for each area of coverage.

Best for Small Businesses: Huckleberry

Huckleberry

Huckleberry

Why We Chose It: Huckleberry makes it easy for small business owners to get a business owner’s policy with liquor liability coverage online in minutes.

What We Like

  • Excellent customer service reviews
  • Quotes and coverage online in minutes
  • Policies issued by Markel

What We Don’t Like

  • Not available in every state

Huckleberry is an insurtech startup leveraging artificial intelligence to provide a quick and easy quote and application process for small business insurance. Huckleberry was founded in 2017, but its policies are underwritten by Markel. While the company isn’t listed with the NAIC, customer service reviews on platforms like Trustpilot are generally very favorable.

The median premium cost of a Business Owner’s Policy from Huckleberry is just $750 per year and includes general liability coverage, business property coverage, and business interruption insurance with coverage limits up to $4 million. It’s easy to add liquor liability coverage to one of these policies. The best part about using Huckleberry to insure your business is that the process is fast and can be completed entirely online. You can get an instant quote and then provide more information to get an exact price and purchase your policy.

Best for Food Service: Food Liability Insurance Program (FLIP)

Food Liability Insurance Program (FLIP)

Food Liability Insurance Program (FLIP)

Why We Chose It: FLIP specializes in providing liability policies for food service establishments and offers affordable monoline liquor liability coverage in addition to a bundled policy with general liability coverage.

What We Like

  • Excellent customer service reviews
  • Liquor liability-only policies starting at $199 annually
  • Up to $2 million in aggregate coverage
  • Assault and battery coverage included

What We Don’t Like

  • Not available in all states
  • Excludes after-hours establishments and bars with aggressive drink specials, BYOB, or bottle service

Liquor liability insurance from FLIP is backed by Lloyd’s of London and has an A financial strength rating from AM Best. The program has excellent customer service reviews on several online platforms and specializes in providing insurance for bartenders, caterers, chefs, vendors, and more. You can get liquor liability coverage with general liability coverage starting at $498 per year or $128 for one to three days of coverage, or you can purchase liquor liability coverage alone starting at $199 annually or $99 for one to three days of coverage.

FLIP makes it easy to get a quote and instantly purchase coverage online. You can purchase up to $2 million in aggregate coverage for liquor liability claims, and assault and battery is included in the annual option. You can also add additional insureds at no cost.

Final Verdict

Whether you’re a mobile bartender, a caterer, or a brewery owner, you’ll need liquor liability insurance if your business serves, sells, or manufactures alcohol. Of all the liquor liability insurance providers we evaluated, Westchester stood out because of its strong reputation for financial strength and customer satisfaction, its flexible coverage options, and the variety of businesses it serves.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Liquor Liability Insurance Cover?

Liquor liability insurance generally covers the following:

  • Third-party medical bills if the intoxicated person injures someone
  • Property damage repairs if the intoxicated person gets in a car accident or causes other damages
  • Legal fees and settlements

Many liquor liability policies also include assault and battery coverage, which can help businesses that are held liable for an intoxicated customer assaulting someone, while other policies specifically exclude this coverage.

What Are 'Dram Shop' Laws?

In states that have dram shop laws, businesses can be held liable if they serve alcohol to someone who then gets behind the wheel and causes damages or injuries to another person. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia all have these laws in place, which makes liquor liability insurance especially important for businesses operating in those locations.

Do I Need Liquor Liability Insurance for a House Party or Office Event?

Not necessarily. Many homeowners policies cover host liquor liability, but you should check the limits of your policy to make sure you have enough coverage. An office party may be covered under general liability insurance, as long as your business doesn’t regularly serve or sell alcohol. However, you should look into the details of your policy and your state’s laws before hosting an event without liquor liability coverage.

How Much Does Liquor Liability Insurance Cost?

Your premium amount will depend on several factors related to your business. Certain precautions can reduce your premium, such as having adequate security. According to Insureon, retailers pay an average of $255 annually for liquor liability insurance, while bars pay a median of $2,060 per year. Other businesses fall somewhere in between.

How We Chose the Best Liquor Liability Insurance

We evaluated a dozen liquor liability insurance providers based on financial strength, customer satisfaction, variety of coverage options and limits, ease of online quotes and application, and state availability to choose the companies that stood out from the pack. We eliminated insurers that don’t provide coverage in the majority of states. All of the insurance companies we chose had great financial strength ratings, an easy online application process and are available in most states.