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Group reminds holiday party hosts to play it safe
By Insure.com staff

As the holiday season begins, the Insurance Information Institute (III) urges party hosts who serve alcohol to take steps to limit their liquor liability and make sure they have the proper insurance.

Social host liability laws vary among states, but most offer an injured person, such as a victim of a drunk driver, a way to sue the person who served alcohol. Criminal charges might also apply.

"Because you can be held legally responsible for your guests' actions after they leave your party, hosts need to be particularly careful," Loretta Worters, III vice president, said in a press release. "While a social host is not liable for injuries sustained by the drunken guest (as they are also negligent), the host can be held liable for third parties, and may even be liable for passengers of the guest who have been injured in their car."

III recommends party hosts understand their state laws and talk to their insurance agents about their home insurance coverage and any exclusions, conditions or limitations. Usually, home insurance provides some liquor liability coverage, but it's typically limited to $100,000 to $300,000, which may not be enough, the institute says.

To reduce risk, the institute also recommends hosts consider:

  • Holding parties at venues that have liquor licenses.
  • Hiring a professional bartender.
  • Serving non-alcoholic beverages and food.
  • Encouraging guests to choose designated drivers and wear their safety belts.

Hosts should also limit their own alcohol intake, call cabs or arrange rides for guests who are tired or inebriated, and stop serving alcohol toward the end of the evening.

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