Am I responsible for my guest’s alcohol consumption?

Insurance Insights | May 7, 2021

Am I responsible for my guest’s alcohol consumption?


If you’re hosting a party, serving alcohol, or having guests over, always follow safety regulations and ensure you have the appropriate coverage. Truly, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Be mindful of the risks that arise from alcohol. Parties at your place expose you to “host liquor liability.” If injuries occur to your guests, you may be held liable. Your responsibility decreases slightly if your guests are bringing their own alcohol. In that case, they assume some responsibility, but you still share part of it.

Here’s a quick and easy guide to keeping your parties and events safe:

1. Keep your guests safe. Ask in advance how they are getting home. Ensure they have a safe way to get home if they are drinking. During the party, monitor how much they drink and do not over serve them. If someone is unable to get home safely, help make alternative arrangements for them such as a cab or Uber, or give them space at your house to rest and recover.

2. Get the right coverage. If you’re hosting a convention, seminar or another business event, one option is Party Alcohol and Liability (PAL) coverage. This is a standalone commercial policy that covers event hosts including events where money is involved. Consider an umbrella policy: these providers much greater coverage than standard liability policies.

3. No insurance covers everything. And not everything is insurable. Criminal acts nullify your coverage and ignorance is not an excuse.

4. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid that they will sound silly or naive. It’s best to discover any missing information before a lawsuit lands on your desk. Your broker is a valuable resource for getting the right answers and accurate information. Contact us today if you’re planning an event.