When a Guest Is Intoxicated: How to Handle Holiday Party Risks

Hosting a holiday party is about bringing people together to have fun. The problem is, alcohol can put individuals at risk. If you plan to host a party, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities in doing so. If injuries occur, your home insurance may offer some coverage for you. Yet, it is critical that you know what your responsibilities are for protecting your family and guests in these situations. Take a closer look at what to expect.

Know Social Host Liability Laws

If you serve alcohol at a party, a guest might drink it. Then, he or she might cause an accident on the roadway, are you responsible for the losses? You could be.

Many states have dram shop liability laws on the books. These say that the party serving the alcohol could be responsible for the damage caused to a third party. Even if you are a homeowner rather than a bar or pub, these laws could still apply to you. You could be responsible for the losses of the other driver as well as his or her passengers.

What should you do? Home insurance may provide some coverage for these losses. Policy restrictions may apply in some cases, though. What is most important is to understand that liquor liability coverage has limits. If someone dies in a drive driving situation, the costs of such losses can be significant. Your standard liability insurance might not provide adequate compensation.

What Should You Do?

A key to liability suits is that someone has to prove you were responsible for the losses suffered. This means it is up to you to take a closer look at what could happen on your watch.

For example, when alcohol is likely to be important to the event, host it away from your home. Choose another location to reduce some of your liability.

Then, ensure any guest drinking is not driving. As the host, this is one of the most important responsibilities you can have. Limit the number of alcoholic beverages individuals can have.

As the host, you also want to avoid drinking yourself, as this could mean you have less control over the situation. And, be sure to serve food. This can help minimize the effects of alcohol. You may even want to cut off drinking a few hours after guests arrive.

Contact your home insurance company. Find out how much coverage you have. Then, work to minimize risks at your home as well as those on the road after your event takes place.

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