Insurance Agency Blog

Social Host Liability

social hosting partyWhen adults gather for a party, quite often alcohol will be served. If you are hosting such a party and serving alcohol, you will want to know about social host liability. This is the legal term for the liability assumed by a person who furnishes liquor to a guest.

Social host liability laws are different from state to state among the 43 states have them on the books. Usually, the law provides an injured party (for example, the victim of a drunk driver) a process by which to sue the person who served the alcohol. Under some of the laws, criminal charges could apply.

Some state laws do not impose any liability on social hosts. Others limit liability to injuries that occur on the host’s premises. Still others extend the host’s liability to injuries that happen anywhere a guest who has consumed alcohol goes.

As a responsible social host, if your guest have been drinking alcohol at your gathering in your home or at another venue, you'll need to act appropriately and responsibly. 

Check out these tips to do that.

As the host, you’ll want to take the appropriate steps to limit your social host liability and encourage safe alcohol consumption.

  • Make sure you understand your state laws. Before sending out party invitations, familiarize yourself with your state’s social host liability laws.
  • As the social host, set a good example by limiting your own alcohol intake and thus be better able to determine the condition of your guests.  
  • Consider hosting your party at a restaurant or bar with a liquor license to help minimize liquor liability risks. 
  • If your party is at your home, hire a professional bartender trained to recognize signs of intoxication who will limit alcohol consumption by partygoers. 
  • Make food and non-alcoholic beverages readily available throughout the party duration to help offset the effects of alcohol consumption and stop serving alcohol well before the end of the party, offering non-alcoholic drinks, coffee and tea as alternatives.
  • Urge your guests to designate a driver who will agree not to drink alcoholic beverages in order to safely drive other guests home. If a guest who has no designated driver becomes intoxicated, arrange a ride either by cab or with a sober guest. If necessary, have them sleep at your home. 

Homeowners Insurance Tip

If you expect to be hosting guests in your home and serving alcohol – whether it’s a casual visit with a few friends or a big neighborhood shindig – you should speak with your insurance agent about your homeowners insurance to determine your current coverage and any exclusions, conditions or limitations your policy might have for this kind of risk. Typically, homeowners insurance provides some liquor liability coverage; but, depending on the policy, it might not be sufficient.

The Latimer Insurance Agency is a full-service insurance agency in Bethesda, Maryland (Montgomery County) offering business/commercial insurance, auto insurance for your vehicle, home insurance for homeowners, renters and condo dwellers, and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA) Pennsylvania (PA), Delaware (DE), New York (NY), West Virginia (WV), North Carolina (NC) and Washington DC since 1919. Our experienced insurance agents  at our office Bethesda, Maryland (Montgomery County) welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time. The scope of your insurance coverage and options depend entirely upon the policy and the insurance company providing it.  This website is not intended to advise, offer or bind coverage.  You should always discuss your insurance issues with professionals such as a licensed and qualified insurance agent before making any decisions or choosing a course of action.


Monday, 15 August 2016 17:14