Let's Not Call Time - Insuring Your Pub

The British pub business has certainly had its fair share of challenges over the years.

The first version of the pub allegedly started life as long ago as 43AD. Back then, it was known as a Tarbernae, put in place to refresh the passing Roman soldiers. These drinking establishments unsurprisingly became popular with the locals and the troops, evolving over the years for Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings. Eventually, during the reign of King Henry VII, all the inns, alehouses and tavernas across the UK collectively became known as public houses, with coaching inns later added to their ranks.1 By 2000, there were over 13,600 pubs in the UK.2

However, these traditional institutions have had to adapt ‒ or decline, and sometimes even close in recent years. Changes in alcohol consumption, price challenges from supermarkets and off-licences, the smoking ban, and more recently, the Covid pandemic have impacted the footfall and profits of this historic trade.

At least 2,000 pubs have closed permanently since the start of Covid, and those that have re-opened could have a considerable amount of debt, having had their doors shut for months.3 To continue to operate successfully, pubs have increased their outdoor facilities, introduced menus and diversified into offering meeting spaces or retail areas.

Now pubs are more than a place to meet for a drink. They are hubs of the local community, restaurants, function rooms and more, so pub owners need to ensure their insurance is up-to-date to allow for the changes in their services and the variety of their suppliers. Here are the types of insurance policies that pub owners need to have.

Public Liability

This is essential for any business that involves other people coming into your premises. It protects you if a supplier or customer suffers an injury in your pub and makes a claim against you. Any legal costs, as well as the compensation you may be required to pay, will be covered.

Employers Liability

A legal requirement for anyone employing staff, you could incur hefty fines for trying to avoid this policy. As well as having a responsibility to protect your employees, you need to protect yourself in case one of your team falls ill or gets injured while at work. Again, your legal costs and any compensation payouts will be covered.

Building and Contents Cover

This policy will protect your pub from rare events like fires, floods, storms and subsidence. It will also cover the contents: furniture, computers, staff belongings and the like.

Business Interruption Cover

The last few years have shown the pub trade that the future is unpredictable. Essential repairs, an accident or an outbreak of illness could all necessitate the doors being closed temporarily ‒ which would impact your turnover. This cover protects your profit along with any fixed expenses and wages during the closure (although ongoing Covid closures may be excluded, so do check your policy).

The standard policies above can be supplemented by additional cover such as stock insurance, loss of money insurance, loss of licence insurance and even cyber insurance to protect against online fraud.

Pub freeholders are responsible for ensuring their policies are appropriate and up-to-date, while leaseholders may only be responsible for the contents. This is all detail that needs to be known, along with the details of any policies that are taken out.

To find out more about our specialised pub insurance, call the smei team on 0330 134 4564 or you can obtain a no obligation quote now.



1. https://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/The-Great-British-Pub/
2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/310723/total-number-of-pubs-in-the-united-kingdom/ 
3. https://www.forumofbritishpubs.com

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