It's about that time of year.
If you are having a party, host liquor liability coverage provided by your Homeowner’s policy is a relevant topic.
For the most part, it’s safe to say that the liability portion of your Homeowners policy will respond to many of the claims that occur at your residence related to the serving of alcohol. Example, someone over consumes, trips and falls and takes another guest down with them – both are injured and sue for injuries.
A Huge Exclusion:
However, it is very important to note a significant Exclusion – the Homeowners Policy will not respond to claims related to the use of a Motor Vehicle.
Going back to the claim example above, let’s say the party guest falls, but he is ok. Now, he decides it’s time to leave and he’s going to drive himself home. If he has an accident and injures himself or worse, individuals in another vehicle, the Homeowner can reasonably expect a lawsuit. Because of this exclusion, the Homeowner will only have their own assets for settlement. If the accident is severe, this may wipe the Homeowner/family out.
But I have an Umbrella:
The problem with the Umbrella, is that the name and image gives the illusion of protection from any and all claims. Don’t get me wrong – Umbrellas are hugely important and can keep a family from being devasted financially. However, there is no vehicle out there that provides complete protection from everything. Accordingly, you will also likely find the the Motor Vehicle Exclusion in your Umbrella Policy.
If the Homeowner is Sued:
If the party guest does injure someone, no one knows for certain how it will play out in the courts. From a business standpoint (Restaurant and Bars), I do know that in MO the claimant (plaintiff) only has to offer circumstantial evidence (there is not heavy burden on them to prove the bar owner knowingly served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron) to be successful in their suit.
If the same would be accepted in non-business situation – I really don’t know - the courts and juries can be unpredictable.
Again related to business, I do know that many Liquor Liability Adjusters will report that as much as 25% of their Liquor Liability claims include a fatality. Additionally, the average settlement is in excess of $1,000,000.
- Have someone sober drive them home or
- If you know them well enough, get them a pillow and blanket and park them on your couch for the night
- If you can project that they will decline both, don't invite them - my guess is they won't be missed.
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Have a Safe and Wonderful Holiday Season!
posted by Dan Hebbeln firstname.lastname@example.org