Tis the season to be jolly, to drink and be merry. If you plan to host a holiday party it is the season to be aware of the social host law if there will be drinking at your party. Social host laws vary from state to state and are aimed at hosts that serve or provide alcohol to minors or individuals who are intoxicated. Most states have some form of the social host law in place that holds hosts responsible for providing alcohol to guests who are intoxicated and subsequently cause an accident.
First things first, if you are planning to host a party check with your homeowners agent to determine if your insurance will cover this kind of liability. It is likely that a regular homeowners or renters policy does not cover this kind of liability; in fact it will more than likely be an exclusion. Under these circumstances you should inquire about a personal umbrella policy. A personal umbrella policy provides coverage where your homeowners or renters policy doesn’t and in most cases an umbrella policy will provide coverage over and above what an underlying policy like homeowners or renters covers. Be sure to check that the umbrella policy will cover social host liability. Sometimes the umbrella policy will not protect you if you knowingly served an individual who was already intoxicated.
Not enough time to get a personal umbrella policy or a personal umbrella policy is not in the budget? Consider these holiday tips to help you have a safe holiday season:
-Hire a professional bartender to serve drinks. Bartenders will recognize if someone has had too much too drink. It is considerably easier for a bartender to cut a guest off than it is for a host.
-Have holiday gifts for designated drivers.
-Provide rides or have taxi cab numbers ready, if needed.
-Serve foods high in protein and starches (this will help slow down alcohol absorption)
-Play games to keep your guest occupied.
Tips for the Guest
If you plan to drive to the holiday parties and drink, the best plan is to stay over night or call a cab for a ride home. All 50 states have strict laws against drinking and driving, most with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) Level of .08. Typically a .08 BAC Level is achieved after only two drinks in women that weigh 120 pounds and only four drinks in men that weigh 180 pounds.
Of course alcohol consumption affects everyone differently. For some, drinking one drink may get them to .08 BAC Level, while it might take others with a higher tolerance a little longer to get to a .08 BAC Level. Regardless what your alcohol consumption capabilities are it is never a good idea to drive no matter how much or how little you have had to drink.
If you decide to drink, make sure to have a designated driver with you, book a hotel room for the night, stay with the host or arrange alternate transportation. Enjoy the holiday, safely.