Holiday Party Liability | Georgia Social Host Liability

Many of us look forward to entertaining friends and family during the holiday season. The last thing on your mind is homeowner insurance and holiday party liability. But statistics show that you would be well advised to think about it and review your homeowners insurance policy to confirm your coverage. Some of the things others have experienced:

  • theft of holiday gifts and/or valuables
  • intoxicated guests incapable of driving home
  • guest accidents from unsafe holiday decor
  • being held responsible for medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost time from work, and even wrongful death

[pullquote style=”left” quote=”dark”]We see theft frequency increases around the holidays with claim notices indicating that gifts/recent purchases were stolen. [/pullquote]

Holiday Party Infographic According to Tim Bowen, Director of Homeowners’ Claims at MetLife Auto & Home, “The holiday season and transition to winter in many parts of the country generates higher frequency [certain types of home-related claims] than previous months. We see theft frequency increases around the holidays with claim notices indicating that gifts/recent purchases were stolen. ” And MetLife is so concerned about holiday safety, that they prepared the infographic on the right sharing some of the seasonal claim statistics in order to increase awareness.

Social Host Alcohol Liability

According to Wikipedia:

[message type=”simple”]Social host liability …  imposes liability on social hosts as a result of their serving alcohol to adults or minors. Persons subject to social-host liability in criminal and civil actions are frequently those that provided alcohol to the obviously intoxicated or to minors who subsequently are involved in vehicle crashes or other activities causing death or injury to third parties, but these are not necessary conditions. A social host is most often a private individual who serves alcohol in a non-commercial setting.[/message]

The victim in this situation can be a third party injured or killed by a drunk driver. While the drunk driver can receive criminal charges, Georgia state statutes provides that as a result Social Host Alcohol Liability, victims can bring claims against you as well through Social Host Alcohol Liability.

Not wanting to be Scrooge, what are your options?

  • Review your homeowners policy with your insurance agent to ensure that you have adequate liability coverage
  • Purchase an umbrella policy, and check to see if it covers more than one event – since you like to entertain, this policy may offer you coverage for multiple events
  • Don’t serve alcohol, but have fun creating non-alcoholic holiday drinks

Host Safety:

  • Limit your guest list to people you know.
  • Communicate your no-alcohol plans.
  • Plan your menu and event activities accordingly.
  • Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for friends/guests that should not drive home.
  • If you serve alcohol, stop serving alcohol well before the time the party is to end.
  • Collect car keys at the beginning of the evening to ensure that those incapable of driving can’t.
  • Even though you don’t need to drive home, you should be the most sober to ensure the safety of your guests.
  • Be prepared with designated drivers and taxi service.

You can read about some other holiday party tips here.

Enjoy the holiday season and be safe. Remember to not drink and drive.