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Liability and Coverage: The Right Insurance Agent Can Help Prepare for Almost Any Business-Related Claim

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If everything goes wrong, beverage insurance can help you
get back on your feet as quickly as possible.

By Heidi Moore

 

If you own a winery or vineyard, you must understand that accidents are common — and sometimes they can be downright disastrous. That’s why it’s vital to be proactive and protect your business from the unexpected. Even if everything goes wrong, beverage insurance can help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible.

Common vulnerabilities in the wine industry

From the beginning of the winemaking process, vineyards and wineries face many vulnerabilities. Harvests of grapes can be lost due to inclement weather, for instance. The equipment to harvest the grapes and process them can also break.

In most cases, wines must be kept in a given temperature range. If anything happens to the climate control system, an entire crop can be exposed to inappropriate conditions, leading to spoilage. Sometimes problems with the facility develop — a window breaks or part of the roof fails, rendering the climate control system ineffective. Natural disasters can wreck buildings and equipment as well.

These problems have been known to drive wineries and vineyards out of business. But there’s a way to solve all these problems at once: comprehensive beverage insurance.

How beverage insurance helps

Beverage insurance helps your winery or vineyard recover from adverse events. If equipment breaks, your insurance company may be able to write a check to cover the cost of repairing it or buying a new machine. If your building is damaged, proper coverage can help you rebuild. If there’s an error on your labels, it can pay to print new ones.

Perhaps even more important, insurance policies can cover the value of your wine. That way, if you lose a vintage, you may still be able to receive the amount it would have brought in at the market. Similarly, if the wrong wines are blended, beverage insurance could help to reimburse you for the unusable result. In this way, you can protect your business from unexpected interruptions in your revenue stream.

For those wineries or vineyards with a tasting room or otherwise serving wine, beverage insurance can also protect you from liability. If a customer sues, claiming they were overserved, your insurance policy could help to cover your legal bills and enable you to defend your business in court. The same goes for potential lawsuits from employees or prospective staff members.

That said, there’s one vulnerability wineries and vineyards need to address even if they’re already insured: believing their beverage insurance policy covers them in situations when it actually doesn’t.

Protecting yourself from inadequate beverage insurance

In my experience, many wineries and vineyards think their beverage insurance covers more than it does. That’s because they bought a general beverage insurance policy rather than a customized one. Why did they do this? Because they went to a general insurance agent rather than someone specializing in beverage insurance.

To me, there’s nothing worse than seeing a winery or vineyard driven out of business because their beverage insurance policy turned out to be inadequate. This can happen just as quickly to historic wineries passed down for generations as it can to new ones.

The first step to protecting your vineyard or winery from this problem is to identify an insurance agent who focuses on businesses like yours. 

Having the right policy means finding the right person

While the person who sold you your life or auto insurance might be a very nice person, it would be a mistake to entrust them with the future of your winery or vineyard. Instead, look for someone who has years of experience helping wineries and vineyards specifically.

To identify the right person, consider their online reviews. These should demonstrate the agent’s ability to make things right for those who have suffered an adverse event and needed to file a claim. Interview the candidates carefully, asking pointed questions about their background in beverage insurance. If they can’t answer confidently and present a long list of happy clients comparable to your own enterprise, they might not be the right person.

Once you’ve identified the right insurance agent, approach them like a business partner and invest in establishing a relationship. Expect them to ask lots of questions about your operations; answer as fully as you can. Talk with them at least once per year and update them about your business. Any time a business makes a substantial change, such as expanding operations or moving, its beverage insurance policy should be revised accordingly.

Comprehensive coverage can protect your business

Beverage insurance can protect your winery or vineyard from the many vulnerabilities of doing business. However, it’s crucial to ensure your coverage is comprehensive. Using an agent specializing in beverage insurance and building your relationship with them over time is key.

Do this due diligence, and you can make your business as invulnerable as possible.

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Heidi Moore

Heidi Moore is a top insurance agent for Country Financial. The keys to her success have been prioritizing the client experience, educating customers about products and services, and giving back to her community. She offers a wide range of policies, from basics involving property/casualty to more complex matters involving retirement planning and distribution, which she partners with other Country Financial agents to implement. Being upfront and to the point, honestly helpful, and willing to go the extra mile have been extremely beneficial to the success of her office.

 

 

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