Company Parties and Alcohol

Are you planning to serve alcohol at your company party?

Another year of challenges and goals have been met at your business. Morale is at an all-time high, and you feel like going the extra mile and giving back to your team during the holidays by supplying alcohol at this year’s company party. Being the awesome employer that you are, you graciously pick up the bar tab in addition to dinner. Unfortunately, one of your employees had a few too many cocktails; and, on his way home, was involved in a serious car accident. 

Can your business be sued in this instance??

Well, that depends. There are two main types of liquor liability coverage:

  • Host Liquor: provides protection for businesses against bodily injury or property damage lawsuits brought against you by parties injured as a result of an intoxigated guest.
  • Liquor Legal Liability: provides coverage for bodily injury or property damage, for which you may become legally liable, as a result of contributing to a person becoming intoxicated.

Sounds fairly simple, right? You will need some type of coverage to ensure you, as well as your business, are clear of any liability in case of an incident. So….do you know which coverage you will ultimately need?

The answer can be summed up by asking yourself if you are in the business of serving, manufacturing, distributing, selling, or providing alcohol. If, for example, you are in the farming business, providing alcohol is not in your job description; meaning all you will need is is a Host Liquor coverage, which is included in your General Liability policy. But let’s say you are hosting your event somewhere that requires you to obtain a liquor permit, or if you decide to chage a fee for the alcohol? In this case, the law states that you are now considered in the business of serving, manufacturing, distributing, selling, or providing alcohol; and will need to puchase a seperate Liquor Legal Liability coverage to stay clear of any liability.

In conclusion: there is a very fine, confusing line bewteen host liquor and liquor legal liability coverages. To make certain you are properly covered, make sure to speak to your agent prior to hosting an event with alcohol.

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