You spent weeks planning for this night. The house was decorated perfectly. The food tasted amazing. Your friends and family all said they had a wonderful time. Those new drink recipes you found online were a complete hit.
No one was feeling any pain when they left after your holiday party. In fact, it could have lasted a few more hours if you were still in your 20s. Sure, a couple of people were wobbly when they left, but they’ve always been fine before. You felt great at the end of the night. Best party ever.
The next morning, you get the news. One of your party-goers had too much to drink, and they got into an accident. The other driver was injured. Your friend will be fine – once he deals with the fall-out of causing an accident and driving under the influence. You, however, may be at the beginning of a major nightmare unless you have umbrella insurance.
HOLIDAY PARTIES AND LIQUOR LIABILITY
Most people think of liquor liability as something for a restaurant or bar where they serve alcohol to just about everyone. As the host of a private party though, you can be held liable for what happens when your guests consume alcohol, too – even after they leave the party. There are a few things you can do to protect yourself.
- Hold your party at a restaurant or bar. This will put the liability on the location.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you serve.
- Make sure you don’t serve minors.
- Stop offering alcohol an hour or so before the party is scheduled to end.
- Offer food the entire time.
- Arrange alternate transportation for any guests who consume alcohol.
- Talk to your insurance agent about umbrella insurance.
HOW AN UMBRELLA INSURANCE POLICY PROTECTS YOU
As a homeowner, you have a certain amount of liability insurance which protects you in the event someone is injured or has property damage at your home. In the case of a holiday party, it covers you when an intoxicated guest leaves your home and injures someone else. For the average slip and fall at home, your coverage may be fine. Consider the costs of a car accident with injury, though. Now include an angry accident victim who decides to sue. As the one who provided the alcohol, you could easily be named in a lawsuit.
An umbrella insurance policy will cover you when you reach the policy limit of your homeowner’s insurance policy or if your claim isn’t covered by your homeowner’s insurance at all. For example, if your policy limit is $100,000, and your umbrella policy limit is $500,000, once your homeowner’s insurance limit is reached, the umbrella policy will kick in and cover you up to the coverage limit.
Umbrella policies aren’t just for holiday parties and can be very useful throughout the year. Before you set the date, send out the invites, and start buying the liquor, check with your insurance agent about an umbrella policy and make sure you’re covered in the event of an accident.
Want to know your liability limits or discuss the cost of adding umbrella insurance? Contact us. We’ll help you keep this holiday season merry and bright!