4 Ways Bar and Nightclub Owners Can Limit Their Exposure to Alcohol-Related Insurance Claims

There are a ton of rewards that go along with owning a successful bar or nightclub. However, there are some fairly hefty risks that go along with it as well. It’s important that bar and nightclub owners take whatever steps are possible in order to limit these risks—particularly alcohol-related risks that can prove costly in the form of liability lawsuits, customer injuries, and other potential problems. These are four of the things you can do as a nightclub or bar owner that will limit your exposure to many of these risks.

1) Be Aware of Local and State Laws

Alcohol laws vary by state. In the state of Texas, these laws would fall under the authority of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Regardless of state though, alcohol laws exist for two primary reasons:

1) to ensure the safety of your restaurant customers and the general public, and
2) to point out the responsibility of your business in promoting alcohol drinking safety.

Compliance with these laws is never optional. If you want to do business in the state of Texas or the city of Houston, you need to be aware of the local law of the land and follow it to the letter. Otherwise, you risk losing your ability to serve alcohol.

2) Be Responsible When Serving Alcoholic Beverages

Image source: securityinstitute.org

Responsibility isn’t a buzzword. It’s something your bar or nightclub needs to practice at all times. These are just a few of the ways your establishment can be more responsible when it comes to serving alcohol.

  • Train employees how to identify and refuse service of alcohol to patrons who are intoxicated.
  • Go through the TABC Certification process, for which an insurance specialist can help.
  • Require bartenders to properly measure portions when mixing drinks.
  • Refuse service of alcohol to patrons who have a reputation for violence and/or abusiveness under the influence.
  • Create and enforce proper policies for verifying age.

3) Promote Safe Transportation Alternatives

Cities all over America have options for safe driving alternatives when drinking, and Houston is no exception. The city of Houston offers plenty of opportunities for bars and nightclubs to partner with a cab company to call for customer pickups and offer information about mass transportation alternatives, including The Wave, taking a public bus, or MetroRail to your patrons.

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In addition to these mass taxicab and mass transportation alternatives, consider adding a breathalyzer kiosk to your establishment. The hope here is when intoxicated patrons know they are beyond the 0.08 is the legal limit for driving, they’ll either take a cab, use mass transportation, walk, or have a sober friend or family member drive them home.


Image source: breathadvisor.com


The bottom line is that you have plenty of tools to provide safe transportation to your customers of your bar or nightclub, which not only safeguards the safety of your customers and others on the road, but helps to limits your liability.

4) Document all Alcohol-Related Incidents

No matter how big or small the incident may be, it’s vitally important that you keep an accurate account of what took place. Get statements from patrons and employees alike and note the time and date of the incident so security footage can be pulled to support the account if it becomes a potential legal or liability issue for your business.

Despite your best efforts to avoid alcohol-related liabilities, there are times when something will escape your watchful eye. That’s why it’s so important for any business that sells and/or serves alcohol to have adequate liquor liability insurance. Your business cannot afford to operate without it in today’s litigious climate.

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