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Commercial Umbrella Insurance: Protecting Your CNY Restaurant from the Unexpected

May 31st, 2024 | 4 min read

By Daniel J. Middleton

Commercial umbrella insurance, protecting your CNY restaurant from the unexpected

Running a successful restaurant in Central New York requires dedication, passion, and hard work. You pour your heart and soul into your business, knowing the importance of protecting your livelihood. 

However, navigating the world of insurance can be overwhelming, and you may worry about making the wrong decision and ending up with a policy that doesn't quite fit your needs.

At the Horan insurance agency, we understand your concerns. Being an independent agency working with multiple carriers, we have the knowledge and perspective to guide you toward the right coverage for your unique situation. One often overlooked but crucial policy for restaurants is commercial umbrella insurance.

In this article, we'll explore what commercial umbrella insurance is and why it's essential for your CNY restaurant. 

We'll discuss how it provides an extra layer of protection beyond your primary liability policies and how it can safeguard your business from the financial devastation of a catastrophic event. By reading to the end, you'll have a clear understanding of how this coverage works and why it's a smart choice for your restaurant.

Understanding Commercial Umbrella Insurance for Your CNY Restaurant

As a restaurant owner in Central New York, you've likely taken steps to protect your business with various liability insurance policies, such as a business owners policy, commercial auto policy, and perhaps even an employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) policy

  • Business Owners Policy (BOP): A combination of general liability and property insurance that covers common risks such as customer injuries, property damage, and business interruptions.
  • Commercial Auto Policy: Provides liability and physical damage coverage for vehicles used in your business operations.
  • Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI): Protects your restaurant against employee-related claims, such as discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation.

While these policies provide essential coverage, they have limits. If a claim exceeds those limits, your restaurant could be responsible for the difference. That's where commercial umbrella insurance comes in.

Commercial umbrella insurance serves as an extra layer of liability protection, kicking in when a claim surpasses the limits of your primary business liability policies. 

For instance, if your restaurant faces a lawsuit with damages awarded at $1.5 million, but your general liability policy has a $1 million limit, your umbrella policy would cover the additional $500,000. This coverage can be a lifesaver, shielding your restaurant from potentially crippling financial consequences.

The Role of Liquor Liability Insurance for CNY Restaurants

As a restaurant that serves alcohol, it's crucial to have liquor liability insurance. This coverage protects your establishment from claims related to incidents involving intoxicated patrons, such as 

  1. property damage
  2. injuries, or 
  3. even wrongful death

Liquor liability insurance is often included in a business owners policy or can be purchased as a separate policy.

However, it's essential to recognize that even liquor liability coverage has its limits. In the event of a severe incident with substantial damages, the costs can quickly surpass your policy's limits. This is where commercial umbrella insurance becomes invaluable.

The Consequences of a Catastrophic Event for Restaurant Owners

To see a restaurant umbrella policy in action, picture this: It's a bustling Friday night at your Syracuse restaurant, and a group is celebrating a 50th birthday. The party is in full swing, with dinner, drinks, and laughter all around. 

As the night goes on, the birthday celebrant, Rodney—a married father of three young children—continues to be served alcohol, perhaps more than he should. The restaurant staff, caught up in the hectic pace of the evening, loses track of just how much Rodney has had to drink.

Commercial umbrella coverage for CNY restaurants provides excess liability coverage.The Accidental Death

As the party winds down, Rodney and his wife, Beth, both considerably intoxicated, decide to walk home as a soft rain ensues. Tragically, on the way, Rodney slips off the slick curb, hitting his head on a car bumper. He sustains a fatal injury, leaving behind a grieving wife and three children, ages 7, 5, and 18 months.

The Aftermath

The aftermath is devastating. The family, grappling with the loss of their loved one, files a lawsuit against the restaurant. They argue that the establishment overserved Rodney, leading to his untimely death. Beth, a witness to the events of the night, recounts the excessive amount of alcohol served.

The publicity is a nightmare for the restaurant. Local media outlets cover the story extensively, focusing on the tragic loss of life and the allegations of overserving. The restaurant's name is dragged through the mud, with angry community members calling for boycotts and leaving scathing reviews online. 

The once-thriving business sees a significant drop in customers, as people avoid the establishment due to its tarnished reputation.

To make matters worse, the legal costs quickly eat up the liability limits on the business owners policy and liquor liability coverage. The family seeks damages for the lifetime of lost earnings and the emotional trauma of losing a father and husband. The total damages far exceed the restaurant's primary insurance limits, leaving the business on the brink of bankruptcy.

This is where commercial umbrella insurance comes into play. With an additional limit of $1 million or more, the umbrella policy steps in to cover the excess legal fees and judgment costs associated with this tragic accident. 

While it can't undo the heartbreak and loss, it can shield the restaurant from devastating financial consequences in the face of such a catastrophic event.

We Can Help You Secure Your Restaurant's Future with the Right Commercial Umbrella Insurance

Commercial umbrella insurance is a critical safeguard for your Central New York restaurant. It provides an additional layer of liability protection, ensuring that you're not left exposed to lawsuits that could exceed your primary insurance limits and threaten the stability of your business. 

Without this coverage, a single unfortunate incident could undo years of hard work and dedication.

At Horan, we aim to be your trusted resource in navigating the intricate landscape of insurance. As an independent agency collaborating with multiple carriers, we bring a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to the table. 

Our expertise allows us to help restaurant owners make informed decisions and avoid potential coverage gaps that could leave their businesses vulnerable. Our goal is to work closely with you, tailoring coverage to your restaurant's specific needs and circumstances. 

With the right commercial umbrella policy in place, you can have the confidence and assurance to concentrate on what you do best: creating memorable dining experiences for your customers.

Don't let insufficient insurance coverage put your dream at risk. 

Click the Get a Quote button below to connect with our expert team and embark on the path to securing your restaurant's future with commercial umbrella insurance.

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Daniel J. Middleton

Daniel is an accomplished content creator. He has been working in publishing for almost two decades. Horan Companies hired Daniel as its content manager in November 2022. The agency entrusted its messaging to him. Since then, Daniel has written insurance articles, service pages, PDF guides, and more. All in an effort to educate CNY readers. He's helping them understand the world of insurance so they can make informed decisions.