You've been dreaming of opening up your own restaurant in West Virginia, and you feel that now is the time. It's important to note, though, that restaurant ownership comes with some very real risks, like potential lawsuits. That dream of yours could tread into nightmare territory, fast. So, it's important to get the right coverage for your restaurant.
Our independent insurance agents are here to help. They'll explain what kind of restaurant insurance coverage you need in West Virginia, and even help you get the best possible deal on it. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. We'll start off with an important overview of restaurant insurance basics.
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 take a look at some specifics that apply to restaurant owners in The Mountain State, we'll check out the basic coverage requirements across the map. A typical restaurant insurance policy includes the following:
While the basic restaurant insurance package is a great start, truth be told, it might not meet all of your unique needs. Your independent insurance agent will hook you up with the additional coverage that's right for you, but until then, we'll look over some of the most common add-ons:
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 West Virginia, as well as most other states, a guest who injures 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 if a minor is served, since minors are not legally allowed to drink in any state.
However, third-party liability coverage is crucial. If 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 West Virginia's unique laws. They'll also explain the costs associated with each level of coverage.
Snowmelt and flash floods due to heavy rainfall create some serious problems for West Virginians each year. Sadly, the standard restaurant insurance policy most likely won't cover flood damage. In order to keep your restaurant from getting caught in the downpour without proper coverage, it's important to look into flood insurance.
If your restaurant is in an area deemed to be high-risk, you may be required to purchase extra coverage — though other areas may not escape this need, either. Flood insurance will cover your property (structure of your restaurant's building and what's inside it) if natural water (i.e., rain, waves, snowmelt, etc.) plays rough.
That being said, it's possible that external property, such as your business vehicles, won't be covered under this insurance. Be sure to call your agent and have a lengthy discussion about your coverage status. Being prepared ahead of time can save you from having to clean up the mess afterwards.
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 at 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.
These 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 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.