• People are drinking at my house. Am I responsible if they hurt someone?

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    People are drinking at my house. Am I responsible if they hurt someone?

    By Rogers & Gray Insurance

    There was a recent article posted on Fox25 news in Boston about how “Social Host” waivers are gaining popularity at Massachusetts parties. If you’re not familiar with the “Social Host” law – a social host is someone who furnishes alcoholic beverages to guests at no cost and does not have an employment relationship.

    For instance, if I host a Christmas Party at my house where alcohol is served and my guest leaves and causes an accident, the individual (not my guest) who was harmed could sue me, as the supplier of the alcohol.  I would be found liable and potentially responsible for monetary damages to that individual.

    I think I may have written about this before (I know I did with my Jellybean post), but this should really be concerning to anyone who has people over to their home and there is alcohol served.  As much as we all want to trust in our friends and family, and their ability to monitor their alcohol consumption, that simply is just no naïve of an approach to take.

    Let me tell you a little story about something that happened to me recently.  I went to a great wreath making event (at a restaurant) and while there with friends, I had 2 beers in a 3 hour window of time.  Generally, well within a reasonable limit of consumption for me.

    However, when I got home, I said to my husband that I was feeling really, really tipsy.  He asked me how much I had to drink and I answered – 2 beers!  I got to wondering if maybe these beers were stronger than normal so I looked up the alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage and come to find out they were 11.5%!  So my 2 beers, were really like 6 beers and I didn’t know.  It was kind of scary.  So you can’t always trust your guests (or yourself for that matter!)

    An Umbrella Insurance policy is your best bet to protect you from this potentially damaging suit.   Consider this – your guest hits someone and you get sued.  Your homeowners insurance covers $300,000 of liability insurance, but a jury awards $1 million. Where does the other $700,000 come from? This is where an Umbrella Policy comes into play.

    Umbrella liability insurance acts like an umbrella, covering your auto and homeowners liability policies with a little extra layer of protection. An umbrella policy provides higher liability limits ($1,000,000 to $5,000,000) over and above the other personal insurance policies that you currently have. Without adequate protection, your personal assets could be placed in serious jeopardy.

    A $1 million dollar Umbrella Insurance Policy will run you about $350 bucks a year.  It’s kind of a no-brainer if you ask me!

    PS – Social Host laws also refer to supplying alcohol to minors under the age of 21.  The laws here are very strict and very clear.  To learn more about this – click here.

    January 16, 2015