Make Sure You’re the Holiday Host with the Most… Protection
There will be spirited celebrations aplenty this holiday season, and feel certain that enthusiasm & vigorous cheer will not be the only spirits served. If you anticipate hosting a holiday party this season, there are a few items that are important to keep in mind to ensure your assets are protected from unforeseen incidents.
When hosting a party, generally accepted accommodations include food and beverage for your guests. If the beverage list includes alcohol, individuals and organizations who host festivities open themselves up for additional liability. It is not uncommon for guests to leave intoxicated; but if they cause bodily injury or property damage while driving home as a result of intoxication, the generous host could be sued. It’s usually assumed that insurance provides protection for potential alcohol related incidents, but further assessment is a good idea prior to hosting an event due to specific exclusions that may be looming in your policy.
For individuals who host a holiday party, the layer of coverage provided would come from the liability limit on their homeowner’s insurance policy. Generally, gatherings that include the consumption of alcohol on the homeowner’s property would be included in the liability protection of the homeowner’s insurance policy. However, all insurance carriers are different and it is always a good idea to verify that “Host Liquor Liability” is included in your policy. Additional protection can also be achieved by obtaining an Umbrella policy that provides this coverage. Discussing this option with your agent is a good way to ensure that you are properly protected.
The bigger concern for homeowners being liable for host liquor related events occurs when the gathering is held away from their home. Offsite events such as holiday party’s or weddings are a large grey area for homeowner’s insurance liability coverage. It is recommended that a short-term event insurance policy be obtained for individuals who are hosting an off-site celebration that serves spirits. Another way to protect your individual assets is to hire an insured vendor to bartend and serve complementary drinks.
Business Owners / Organizations:
From the perspective of a business owner or entity, the host liquor liability can become even more concerning. For example, if you have an office Christmas party and an intoxicated employee is involved in an auto accident on the way home, injuring someone or damaging property, the claimant will actively seek compensation from the business. Usually liability coverage for bodily injury or property damage is included in a General Liability Insurance policy for the business; however there are multiple cases where coverage may not apply.
Organizations should be careful not to charge for drinks because selling alcohol deems the organization would be “in the business of” distributing alcoholic beverages. Businesses that sell spirits are required to have a separate Liquor Liability and no protection would be provided from the Host Liquor Liability coverage that is often included in the General Liability. An organization may even provide complementary alcohol but, because it was served on the premises of the business, have the Host Liquor Liability coverage challenged or restricted by the insurance company based on a claim of being “in the business of” distributing alcohol. For this reason, it is always a good idea to host company related office party’s off-site if they include alcohol consumption. In addition to these basic precautions, an insurance policy review is also critical in ensuring that you are adequately protected. There are common endorsements in General Liability policies that may limit or even exclude Host Liquor Liability coverage. These amendments are foreign to many business owners but may completely void alcohol related coverage or require each alcohol related event to be specifically scheduled on the policy.
The best practice would be to consult with your professional insurance agent if you have any questions regarding coverage for Host Liquor Liability. If you are planning a company party for the season, be the host with the most protection and don’t let unexpected issues spoil the festivities.
Moore Resources is an Independent Insurance Agency located in St. Petersburg, FL and offering Homeowners Insurance, Auto Insurance, Personal Insurance and Business Insurance. Our reach extends beyond the Tampa Bay area to the entire state of Florida. Moore Resources has regionally been dedicated to serving the local residents of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco, Manatee and Sarasota counties; including St. Pete, Tampa, Clearwater, Bradenton, Brandon, Dunedin, Gulfport, Lakeland, Largo, Lutz, Palm Harbor, Pinellas Park, Riverview, Ruskin, Seffner, Seminole, Temple Terrace, Tierra Verde, Town n Country, and the Gulf Coast Beaches.
Please remember that the purpose of this blog is to present general information only. It does not interpret specific policies or coverage. In order to obtain detailed information regarding your insurance, contact a licensed insurance agent.