If you’re a restaurant owner, you’re familiar with the following scenario—a drink spills, a server is walking too fast, two people collide…boom! A month later, you’re presented with court papers. The customer that fell injured themselves pretty badly, sought medical advice and saw an opportunity to file a lawsuit—are you prepared?
As a rule of the thumb in the insurance industry is, if you think it could happen, it can happen. Slips and falls are bound to happen in a restaurant so being prepared is smart versus the assumption that they don’t happen at all. Getting restaurant insurance is vital.
Commercial General Liability Insurance for Restaurants
The insurance coverage would respond to the above scenario is called commercial general liability insurance.
General liability insurance (CGL) can also referred to as commercial insurance or liability insurance. This is the most basic type of protection a business must own. It covers any costs associated with lawsuits brought to your company along with the payout of any losses. More specifically, general liability insurance may protect your business from the following:
- Third-party lawsuits include the following:
- Bodily Injury (e.g. an employee is walking through your restaurant. They slide and fall on a drink spillage that hasn’t been cleaned yet).
- Property Damage (e.g. a customer is visiting your deli. They’re leaving on a sign, which falls over and breaks. It also falls into a glass window).
What Do We Define as a Restaurant?
A restaurant is a public place that provides food and beverages on a commercial basis. The biggest indicator that an entity is a restaurant is that unlike a deli or a bakery, a restaurant offers a service as well. A server will likely seat you and/or take your order once you’ve made a decision on what you’d like to consume.
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“Someone Slipped In My Restaurant—What Do I Do Next?”
So, a customer slips on a wet spot on the floor and falls hard. You had the wet floor sign out on the restaurant floor, your support staff was getting the mop and the customer still slips. The following are the next steps that you will need to take:
- Document as much as possible for your insurance claim—get the customers name and contact information right away.
- When did it happen? What time of the day?
- Where did it happen in your restaurant?
- If the “wet floor caution sign” was out, where was it located? Was it visible? It may be a good idea to take a photo of the area showing the sign right away.
- A list of your risk management procedures to mitigate the insurable loss
- Was any first aid administered at the time of the incident?
All of this is paramount because the guest might not realize at first that they were seriously hurt and only start experiencing chronic pain after several months and go ahead and sue you.
Ok, I Get it, I Need Restaurant Insurance. What Are The Next Steps?
Before getting an online liability insurance quote, to save yourself some time, it’s is a good idea to do gather some pertinent business information about you or the your company. Think about the possible risks that you or your company can face when operating your business.
Here’s a list of several types of information about your business that you’ll need to provide when requesting a quote:
- Name of your company
- Your company structure—(i.e. sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, joint venture or franchise?)
- Address and square footage of each location
- Revenue, including split by food, alcohol and all else
- Number of years of experience the owners have in the restaurant business
- Number of employees working for your company
Having this information will make getting a quote easy and fast.
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