Throw a Worry Free Party : Know Your Liability Risks

The holiday season is upon us, which means holiday parties are in full swing. Holiday parties are a great way for friends, co-workers and family members to gather and celebrate the season and the year’s accomplishments, but can bring with them potential liability woes. Whether you are planning a work party, a family gathering or just a party with some friends here are a few things to keep in mind.

Work Party

-The most common problems that an employer can be held liable for at a company sponsored party are often related to intoxication and harassment.

-Hosting your party at a restaurant, hotel or bar with a liquor license will transfer the responsibility to the provider of the alcohol. The venue you choose may require you provide them with proof that you have insurance anyway.

-You may want to consider asking your agent about a “special event policy” which will help address the added risk of your party.

– Special Event Liability insurance is a policy that you can purchase for a specific event that will cover a host, or company from certain types of claims arising from accidents taking place during an event. Most special event policies cover things such as damage to a facility caused by a guest, bodily injury to a guest the host is liable for and alcohol related incidents.

-Actively manage the amount of alcohol served by distributing drink tickets to limit the number of complimentary drinks, and making sure to offer plenty of non-alcoholic options.

-Have the party in the afternoon rather than in the evening

-Serve food throughout the party to keep guests full and reduce alcohol intake.

-Reinforce appropriate behavior at the party by sending out the company’s harassment policy prior to the event. Remind employees that the party is still a work event and that your company has a zero tolerance policy for any sort of harassment.

-Do not hang mistletoe

Family & Friend holiday party

-1/3 of home owners don’t realize that they can be found legally liable if an intoxicated guest causes a car accident. Generally the inebriated guest can’t sue the host, but third parties that are injured in alcohol related accidents can and do. Especially if the person who hit them had little or no insurance.
-If you are planning a party at your home, check with your agent to make sure that your homeowner’s policy provides enough coverage for party related mishaps. Your agent might suggest increasing your coverage or looking into an umbrella policy for extra coverage.
-A recent survey by the Independent Agents and Brokers of America found that 2/3 of renters have no renter’s insurance policy. If you rent, and you don’t have a renters insurance policy is it definitely something you should look into before hosting a party. Renters insurance is relatively inexpensive and can save you a lot of money if you have a problem.

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