You're opening your own restaurant, and you're eager to start cookin', but you're not entirely sure what kind of coverage your business needs. We've put together a guide to restaurant insurance, so you can be protected before you ever open your doors to the public. We'll take a look at the basics, like what restaurant insurance even is, and then narrow our scope to the tastier tidbits of Montana's specific requirements.
And when you're ready, our independent insurance agents can help get you covered properly. So, whet your appetite for knowledge and we'll get started.
In short, restaurant insurance is a policy designed to cover all the components involved in your restaurant, from your property and supplies to your employees and customers. Obviously, serving food to the public ties directly into concerns about protecting their health, but restaurant operation comes with many different risks that are important to consider before setting up shop.
Before we look into the specific requirements for The Treasure State, let's begin with an overview of what coverage is needed by restaurant owners across the map. Typically, restaurant insurance policies include the following:
The basic restaurant insurance package is a great place to start, but in reality, it might not meet all of your unique needs. While your agent will help you to figure out what extra coverage you may need, we'll go ahead and check out a few of the most common add-on options:
Dram shop laws hold a business liable for serving alcohol to minors, as well as for harm caused by an individual who has been overserved by that business — even after they leave your establishment. A state's specific laws and set of associated penalties/fines for violating them can influence your liquor liability coverage needs, and the cost of your coverage.
In Montana, as well as most other states, a guest who sustains injuries to themselves due to overintoxication may not sue the establishment, since it's considered the guest's personal responsibility to monitor how much they consume. So, liability coverage for first-party cases is mainly only required in the case that a minor is served, since minors are not legally allowed to drink in any state.
However, third-party liability coverage is crucial. In the case that another individual is harmed by an intoxicated guest, such as in a bar fight or auto accident, they may sue your establishment. For these cases, the third party will need proof that the intoxicated guest continued to be intentionally served past the point of visible intoxication by your restaurant.
Lawsuits can seriously cost you or your business, in the form of significant financial penalties, loss of employment or liquor license, or even jail sentences. Your agent will set you up with the proper liquor liability coverage based on Montana's unique laws. They'll also explain the costs associated with each level of coverage.
While Montana has the perks of beautiful, wide-open spaces and no sales tax, it's also got one pretty big downside — it's prone to flooding. Between snow melt and intense rainstorms, all that water's got to go somewhere, and sadly, it just might flow right on into your restaurant. Which means, of course, that you'll need to check into flood insurance coverage.
The standard restaurant insurance policy usually won't cover flood damage. If your restaurant is in an area deemed to be high-risk (or even if it isn't), you may be required to purchase extra coverage. Flood insurance will cover your property (structure of the building and its contents) if natural water (i.e., rain, waves, snowmelt, etc.) wreaks havoc.
That being said, it's possible that external property, such as your business vehicles, won't be covered by flood insurance. Be sure to have your agent double-check your coverage status. It's better to just be prepared ahead of time, so you're not left paying out of pocket for flood damage.
It depends on what kind of restaurant you run and a few other factors, such as if you've got employees, offer a delivery service, operate a drive-thru or serve liquor. However, a typical range for coverage starts on the low end of about $10,000/year for a smaller establishment with fewer employees, and hits the high end of more than $100,000/year for a much larger restaurant, like a chain.
A restaurant insurance policy is typically the cheapest and easiest way to go. This package offers most of the liability and property coverage you'll need, and you can always add on specifics as necessary. Your independent insurance agent will know exactly what to hook you up with.
Obviously, smaller is going to be cheaper. A food truck or corner stand downtown will be by far the cheapest option, since there won't be as many sales as in a larger chain, there aren't any other employees (that would require workers' comp), and you won't be serving alcohol. Coverage costs would most likely be in the low thousands each year.
On the other end of the spectrum, a large dine-in restaurant chain with tons of employees and features like salad bars,buffets, and liquor bars is by far the priciest/riskiest venture. All the required workers' comp, property and liability insurance drive up costs exponentially.
It ultimately depends on lots of specifics like the number of employees and the value of the property, of course, but we're talking big numbers, like more than $100,000 per year.
Insurance policies are often filled with lots of technical jargon. Additionally, it's a real process to hunt for the RIGHT policy. Fortunately, sifting through the available options and pinpointing the necessary coverage is a task that can easily be handed off to someone else. That's where independent insurance agents come in to save the day.
Independent insurance agents will not only help you get the best possible deal, but also the type of coverage that's right for you. They shop and compare insurance quotes for you, and even break down all that complex jargon into plain old English, so you understand exactly what you're getting.
Our wise and helpful agents will help you determine which type of Montana restaurant insurance makes the most sense for YOU. They'll also compare policies and quotes from several different insurance companies to make sure they're setting you up with protection that's among the best around. In other words, they'll make it happen.