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Social Host Liability: What It Is & What It Means for Your Holiday Party

When it comes to hosting a holiday party, there’s more to do than just cleaning your living room and making the appetizers. You’ll also want to make sure you know your insurance limits. Here’s what you need to know about what social host liability is and what it means for your holiday party.

What is Social Host Liability?

Social host liability laws enable a party host who provides alcohol or other substances to be considered liable in the event that an intoxicated person causes an injury. If, for example, someone leaves your party, drives drunk, and gets into a car accident, you could potentially be sued for damages. Social host liability laws vary by state, and they are currently on the books for over 40 states in the US.

Insurance and Holiday Parties

If you’re throwing a holiday party where alcohol will be served, it’s important that you make sure your Homeowners or Renters insurance policy has sufficient limits of liability to protect your family’s assets. In fact, some policies have liquor liability coverage, which tends to range from 100,000 to 300,000 dollars. Unfortunately, that isn’t always enough. If you frequently throw parties or if you have significant assets, it may be smart to consider adding Umbrella insurance, which increases your available coverage.

Tips for Hosting a Holiday Party Without Putting Yourself or Your Guests at Risk

Now that you know what social host liability is and what coverage you need, you can protect yourself and your guests with these tips for hosting a safe holiday party.

  • Know Your State’s Social Host Liability Laws
  • Never Serve Alcohol to Minors
  • Never Serve Alcohol to Anyone Who is Visibly Intoxicated
  • Encourage or Provide Designated Drivers or Ride Shares for Your Guests
  • Hire a Professional Bartender Trained to Recognize Signs of Intoxication
  • Serve Plenty of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  • Consider Venues that Hold Their Own Liquor License
  • Stop Serving Liquor Toward the End of the Evening
  • Limit Your Own Drinking So You Can Monitor Your Guests
  • Clear Your Driveway and Sidewalks of Snow, Ice, Leaves, and Other Debris

Now that you understand social host liability, it's time to make sure you're covered? Contact your independent agent to learn more about your insurance coverage and limits. In the meantime, check out our insurance blog where we cover everything from woodstove and fireplace safety tips to how to winterize your home and car.


The content available via Grange.com is for informational purposes only and may not be used for any other purpose. Content provided or expressed on Grange.com, including that of third parties, may not reflect Grange Insurance Association’s (GIA) policies or conform to any agreement you may have with GIA and its subsidiary companies. Please contact a licensed insurance agent to obtain particular advice.

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