TRENTON, N.J.—If you’re thinking about hosting a holiday party this year, be sure to add safety and common sense to your list, advises the Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey. According to the Insurance Information Institute, social host liability—the legal term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who supplies liquor to a guest—can have serious consequences for party hosts. Social host liability laws vary widely from state to state, but 43 states have them on the books. Most of these laws allow the victim of a drunk driver to sue the person who served the alcohol. Additionally, there are circumstances under these laws where criminal charges may also apply.
As hosts, homeowners and renters could be liable for the safety of their guests. PIANJ reminds party hosts that professional, independent insurance agents can help you plan for coverage if a guest is injured in your home. PIANJ recommends checking your homeowners policy for adequate limits. Before you host your party, call your insurance agent. Have him or her explain what coverages you currently have and what coverages you might need.
“The holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends,” said Lloyd ‘Rip’ Bush, president of PIANJ. “It’s important to make
Be a responsible host when entertaining guests, says PIANJ. If drinks are a part of your festivities, limit your own alcohol intake so you can determine if a guest is able to drive at the end of the night. Pick designated drivers who will refrain from drinking alcoholic
beverages so that he or she can drive other guests home. Provide plenty of tempting non-alcoholic beverages and food for guests. Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses. And, never serve guests who are visibly intoxicated. Stop serving alcohol at least
one hour before the party is over and switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks. Always serve food when serving alcohol. High-protein foods such as meat and cheese take longer to digest, slowing the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol. However, try not to serve salty foods. They make people thirsty, so they drink more. If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab or arrange a ride with a sober guest.
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PIANJ is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.