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Bartending is a demanding profession that needs you to have excellent hospitality skills. In your role as a bartender, you prepare and serve drinks at various events or at a business, coffee shop, or restaurant, for example. You can also be hired as a private bartender for corporate events and weddings, much like a catering business does.
As a freelance bartender, while you might have everything in order, you can't have total control over the event or the business ; the chances of making mistakes are always there. In case of any errors or accidents at a wedding, for instance, you could be held liable for damages.
To better understand bartender insurance, in this article we will discuss the various forms of this profession-based type policy and what it covers. We will also discuss the average bartender insurance cost and the best companies you can compare quotes and buy this policy.
At every wedding, there’s a wedding reception; and in every wedding reception, wedding bars exist to entertain guests.
It’s the norm for wedding bars to hire a licensed bartender to tend to the guests. And when an accident or injury happens, the reception might not only be the one liable but the bartender too. In case a bartender is pressured to take the blame, insurance for bartenders can help.
It’s well established that a bartender has liability over injuries a guest sustains if ever proven that there’s the failure to refuse an intoxicated guest or minor alcohol. In accidents/injuries in weddings, a bartender is the most vulnerable against lawsuits because of the direct participation in serving alcohol.
Still, it’s possible for a bartender to avoid liability by being smart before signing a contract with a wedding reception. It’s best if a bartender refuses to work if ever the wedding reception doesn’t shoulder responsibility for any injuries/accidents. Also, it will help if the bartender asks the wedding reception to add him/her as an additional insured. By being an additional insured, the bartender can enjoy the protection of the wedding reception’s insurance policy.
Nonetheless, the best protection for liability for trouble during wedding events is to get bartender insurance for weddings, because it fully protects the bartender from all kinds of claims the complainant files.
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General liability insurance and liquor liability insurance for bartenders are very useful. These policies will pay for the cost of lawsuit and settlement if ever a bartender ends up shouldering the injuries and damages drunk customers cause or sustain.
Just like food vendors, bartenders to some lesser or greater degree have responsibility for their customers. The question is, “ in the event that a customer gets drunk and causes injuries or gets injured, can the customer sue the bartender for damages?”.
There’s no definite answer and it all depends upon how the bartender in question serviced the customer. The bartender may face a lawsuit if it’s proven that he or she served a drink without evaluating the condition of the customer (in the United States, most states prohibit serving customers excessive amounts of alcohol).
Another question we have to answer is how often do bartenders over-serve alcohol and why do they resort to doing this? There’s no research answering the former yet. However, research published in the International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research answers the latter. It turns out that the bartenders, who took part in the study, stated that overserving was due to a working station that’s poorly adapted to responsible serving, a community that holds scant regard to overserving of alcohol, and disagreement with laws that promote responsible serving of alcohol.
Aside from the study we mentioned, other research papers explain why bartenders find it hard not to over-serve patrons. Here they are:
there is an increased risk of bartenders overserving if they work in poorly managed venues characterized, for instance, by poor cleanliness, crowdedness, and high levels of noise
To refuse service may puncture the mood and limit the drunken ‘fun’, and it may also generate conflicts with patrons who expect to be served, whether or not it is against the law
Bartenders and other workers in the nighttime economy tend to be young and with low education, limited training, and little prior working experience
Not following the law and serving customers, even if drunk, is a coping mechanism that helps bartenders simplify their job as it smoothens hectic work, prevents conflicts with customers, and helps them become more effective, therefore ensuring long term employment
Customer gives their consent whenever they ask bartenders to serve them more drinks. However, the situation goes sideways when the customer suffers injuries or causes injuries out of drunkenness. State laws can put the blame on bartenders. Here are some examples:
|Lindsay Glass, a bartender, served drinks to a customer named Spencer Height. Reports state that she followed protocols despite serving her customer who was already intoxicated. After drinking, Height proceeded to go to her ex-wife’s home and murdered eight people.|| Glass faced a lawsuit charging her with a misdemeanor and was imprisoned briefly before the court decided to dismiss her case. |
|Bartender, Kailey Mendes, of New Hampshire served drinks to teens at the Happy Crab bar. Said teens then got into an accident.||Police arrested Kailey Mendes for violating dram shop laws. Mendes will face a $2,000 dollar fine for each count of misdemeanor|
|Shafay Look and Jon Ward, bartenders, served a drink to a customer named Gerelyn Weberlein, who later caused an accident by ramming two bicyclists killing one and injuring the other.||The court ordered Look and Ward to pay a $7,500 bond, $500 penalty, and a year in jail|
|Police officers arrested a bartender named Michael Carter for serving drinks to an intoxicated customer who died in a car crash.||Carter faced a lawsuit with 60-days imprisonment and a $500 fine|
|Miguel Rizo, a bartender, overserved his customer, Zachary Castro. Castro then plowed pedestrians after leaving the bar overly drunk.||Rizo faced misdemeanor liquor violation charges of providing alcohol to an intoxicated person and permitting an intoxicated person to remain on the premise|
|Tammy Kobylka, died from acute ethanol toxicity after having drinks from the pub owned by bartender Derek Allen Tithecott.||Tithecott faced manslaughter and criminal negligence charges|
|A 19-year-old girl tragically lost her life in a car accident at the beginning of the year after a night of drinking in downtown Wilmington||The bartender that served the girl drinks, Vincent Tyler Murphy faced criminal charges and could have been imprisoned for 120 days|
" Penalties for a bartender or server who serves an obviously intoxicated individual may include loss of their license issued by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency, civil liability to injured persons (money damages), and criminal liability (for criminal negligence, for example),” Neal Nagely, lawyer and CEO of BookLawyer explains.
Such injuries or damages are not limited to accidents happening within the premises of the bar or club the bartender works for.According to the United States Public Health Service, more than 100,000 deaths are alcohol-related . Twenty percent of these deaths are a result of drunk driving and bartenders can also face lawsuits due to the drunken frenzy of drivers.'
Dram shop liability doesn’t only apply to bars, pubs, and other businesses that serve alcohol, but also applies to bartenders. Before we proceed with the discussion, we suggest you read our content explaining the different dram shop/liquor liability laws in the different states of the US .
Dram shop liability mandates how much alcohol can bartenders serve. It also sets the legal age of alcohol consumption. Violating this results in lawsuits that may charge bartenders with felony or misdemeanor. Dram shop liability also sets fines amounting to only $250,000 or even more, depending on the state.
Alcohol can sometimes lead to destructive behaviors such as aggression and reckless driving. And so, lawmakers crafted dram shop liability to mitigate the negative impact of alcohol consumption. True enough, dram shop liability has been quite effective in reducing the severity of road accidents.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was a 6.4% median reduction of fatalities in vehicular crashes with dram shop laws in place.
The consequences of dram shop liability lawsuits can be overwhelming. And so, insurance companies offer dram shop/liquor liability insurance to cater to the needs of bartenders. Liquor liability insurance provides protection for personal injury claims filed by a customer. Also, this policy will also provide coverage if a bartender is held liable for accidents and injuries a drunken customer causes.
Bartenders can follow guidelines to avoid infringing dram shop liability laws. In this part of our discussion, we’ll discuss some best practices to follow.
The first thing to remember is that there’s no serving of alcohol to underage persons at any event even if there’s consent from the parent or guardian. Bartenders shouldn’t take the word of a customer who looks strangely young and says that he/she is of legal drinking age. Experts recommend that if facing such a situation, bartenders shouldn’t forget to ask for the ID of the customer to confirm his or her age. In connection, ideal ID’s for confirmation are:
State Issued Identification card
Knowing when to refuse to serve drinks is a practice that many bartenders fail to do but is crucial to prevent infringing the law. Before serving a drink, bartenders must evaluate the customer to know if he or she is already intoxicated. Signs to keep a keen eye on are:
Awkward movement/lack of body coordination
Becoming very friendly to other guests in an imposing overconfident manner
Lack of restraint to one's behavior
As said earlier, bartenders can be held liable for drunk driving accidents that customers cause. Therefore to avoid lawsuits arising from such a situation, bartenders can prevent guests from going home by driving, let the guest sleep on the premises to sober up, and hire a chauffeur to drive the guest home.
The final best practice bartenders should do is to join bartender training programs. States in the U.S. have intervention training that teaches bartenders how to manage guests, what protocols to follow to avoid liability, and so on.
The cost of bartender insurance depends on the state and different needs of your bartending business. The fee also depends on the type of policy you choose and the risks your business faces.
The average mobile bartender insurance cost is about $43 per month or $516 per year for a $1 million general liability insurance. Many times, general liability insurance policies include host liquor liability coverage, you just want to make sure that it does before signing up for a policy.
Insurance for bartenders at wedding is $30 a month or 360 a year. However, if someone avails this insurance as short-term insurance, premiums can be as expensive as $179 for a single day coverage.
Bartending business insurance offering general liability, commercial auto, and errors and omissions coverage costs $164 a month or $1,968 a year. Though expensive, this is the best option for someone who is aiming to become a comprehensively insured bartender for a wedding.
Clients are more likely to work with licensed and insured bartenders, who are backed by the best bartending insurance companies. And so, here are the insurance rates of some of the best companies in America for GL+Liquor Liability policy.
|FLIP Insurance||$33||$399||Established Mobile Bartender Insurance|
|Coverwallet Insurance||$28||$336||Bartender Insurance Quote Comparison Online|
|Hiscox||$38||$456||Larger mobile bartender business insurance|
|Thimble Insurance||$35||$420||On-Demand Bartender Insurance Policy|
|Next insurance||$150||$1,800||Fastest General & Liquor Liability Insurance for Bartenders|
|biBERK Insurance||$38||$456||Insurance for Smaller Bartenders in Restaurants and Bars|
Please find below our reviews of 2 of the best bartender insurance companies in America. To compare bartender insurance quotes online from more top bartender insurers, click the 'Get Qutoes' button at this page and complete the questionnaire.
FLIP is a reputable insurance company specialized in providing insurance to those in the beverage and food industry. FLIP offers estimates depending on what you will pay for a policy. The prices of most policies vary from state to state; however, they are affordable.
FLIP Bartender Insurance Policy Details
This company offers comprehensive and flexible bartender insurance options that cover a wide range of claims. Furthermore, you will enjoy general+liquor liability insurance accessible to a wide range of businesses in the bartending industry, including tailored ones for events and bartending businesses that hire chefs and caterers. Whether you are a wholesale distributor or a private club, FLIP has a bartender insurance policy that is tailored just for you, it is affordable and is definitely one of the best choices for bartender insurance.
No cap on alcohol sales
Coverage offered for all types of retail bar establishments
Battery and assault charges are available
Tailored coverage for your needs including event insurance coverage, general+liquor liability and coverage for chefs or caterers that you may hire
Not offered in all states
Average cost: $399 per year
Best for: Established mobile bartender insurance
biBERK is a developed insurance company founded in 2015. It provides insurance to business owners in different industries. biBERK has grown rapidly over the last few years, spreading its services to most parts of the country.
biBERK Policy Details
biBERK has a comprehensive insurance for bartenders and those in the bartending business. Being a Berkshire Hathaway company, biBERK has robust policies that include a long list of coverage options. This offers you tailored insurance cover that protects you against a wide range of claims.
You can get a quote online
Policies are offered directly
Fast claim responsiveness
You cannot have stand-alone liquor liability insurance.
Average cost : $456 per year
Best for: small bartending business insurance serving in restaurants, bars and other businesses
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