You've worked hard at building up your reputation as a local business owner.
You're rightly concerned about protecting yourself from liability.
Recently in the US, liquor stores have been hit for lawsuits because of:
- Wrongful death of a 28-year-old man that died as the result of an assault by employees who suspected him of shoplifting.
- A clerk who sold a bottle of vodka to then-17-year-old without asking for identification.
- Three young underage men that sustained car crash injuries because they were illegally drinking and driving.
What would you do if you were hit with a liability suit for more than your current insurance covered?
Thankfully, here at InsuranceHub, we have experience helping package stores just like yours. You see we understand the risks that come with running a bottle shop. Whether you sell wine, spirits like vodka, rum, tequila, whiskey, scotch, and cordials, or simply supply kegs of beer to parties we are ready to help.
Types of exposure that liquor shops need protection from:
Property exposures: Your biggest concern here is from fire damage. Your electrical wiring, equipment, and refrigeration units can start electrical fires. Only use certified technicians to work on your equipment and licensed electricians to work on your wiring. Keep all your equipment well maintained and in good condition. As you are aware alcohol is highly flammable. Even a small fire can cause all stock to be ruined by smoke, water, and fire damage.
You also should be concerned about theft. Keep your most expensive stock behind the counter. Install security mirrors and cameras. Install a monitored security system with a panic alarm for hold ups.
Equipment breakdown exposures: If you have refrigeration equipment to keep your stock cold then this could be a big issue. Take the time to set up a contract with a refrigeration maintenance company. Be sure to do preventive maintenance on your equipment to prevent/ limit downtime.
Crime exposures: You have two big concerns here.
- Employee dishonesty: Your alcohol stock can tempt employees to steal it and resell it for personal profit. We suggest doing background screening of employees as well as regular inventory monitoring.
- Hold ups and shoplifting: Many liquor shops are targeted because they keep a lot of cash on hand. That is why the smart bottle shop owners regularly empty the cash drawers and move it to a safe. Make irregular bank deposits throughout the day and evening so you don't have a lot of cash on hand. Install cameras and a 24 hour monitored burglar alarm.
Inland marine exposures: This includes accounts receivables from any customers you offer credit to. This includes computers which are used for inventory purchases and to track inventory. Finally, it also includes valuable papers and records for suppliers. Please keep backup copies of all records, (including your computer) and store them off site.
Premises liability exposure: Your biggest concern here is from slips and falls in your store.
- Pick up spills immediately.
- Pick up broken booze bottle spills and glass from customer accidents immediately.
- Repair all floor covering frayed or worn spots on carpet and all cracks or holes in flooring.
- During rainy weather keep front door area mopped dry.
- During snowy weather be sure to salt regularly and shovel all snow asap.
- Make sure that all exits are well marked and accessible.
- Make sure that all emergency lighting is tested regularly.
- Repair parking lots and sidewalks holes and cracks.
- Ensure there is plenty of exterior lighting for evening customers.
Products liability exposure: This should be low as long as you buy from reputable liquor manufacturers.
Liquor liability exposures: This can be high.
- Make sure that you check ID for all customers... Especially for those that look under age. Selling liquor to minors can create a huge liability.
- Selling liquor to customers that are already intoxicated.
Remember that failure to comply with state and federal regulations can result in you losing you liquor permit. Do not allow anyone to consume alcoholic beverages on your premises should be prohibited. Finally, train your employees to recognize the signs of intoxication.
Automobile exposure: Do your employees use your company vehicles to run errands? Do you provide a delivery service? Check that all employees are properly licensed. Check MVRs regularly. Be sure to properly maintain your vehicles and keep records of all maintenance performed.
Workers compensation exposures: This can come from lifting, loading and unloading cases of alcohol. Poor lifting techniques can cause back injury, hernias, sprains, or strains. Wet, slick floors can call slips and falls. Teach all employees to safely lift and handle all inventory. Provide team lifting training for heavy loads.
Holdups can cause employee injury or even death. Take the time to train your employees on how to respond in such situations. Train customers on how to deal with intoxicated or unruly customers who are refused the purchase they want to make.
Here is the minimum recommended package store insurance coverage:
- Business Personal Property
- Business Income and Extra Expense
- Equipment Breakdown
- Employee Dishonesty
- Money and Securities
- Accounts Receivable
- Valuable Papers and Records
- General Liability
- Employee Benefits
- Liquor Liability
- Hired and Nonownership Auto
- Workers Compensation
Other bottle shop insurance coverage to consider:
- Leasehold Interest
- Real Property Legal Liability
- Computer Fraud
- Employment-related Practices
- Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage
- Stop Gap Liability