As we move from spring towards summer, it’s time for graduation and engagement parties and weddings. These celebrations should be fun and worry-free, but they also increase liability risk. This is especially true if you serve alcohol, particularly in the presence of minors.
Understand Social Hosting Law
Rhode Island law does not permit underage alcohol consumption. Adults can’t give a minor permission to drink, or supply alcohol to a minor. Breaking this law can lead to fines and/or a prison sentence. Repeat offenders face progressively larger fines and longer sentences.
How Does Liability Risk Increase?
When a group of guests gather in one space, there’s a greater chance of injury. If guests are drinking, their judgment is impaired and that increases risk of injury even further.
Additionally, these gatherings are often loosely controlled. This can lead to underage drinking. Regrettably, alcohol is usually supplied by friend or relative of legal age, or a parent or guardian. As mentioned, this is illegal and can lead to dire consequences.
Of course, drinking and driving remains a huge concern. Party hosts can be held liable for the actions of anyone that drinks at their event and then drives. Rhode Island has a “Dram Shop Liability,” law which allows a party to sue you if someone who was drinking at a homeowners party later injures or kills a person.
Finally, the chances of property damage and theft also increase during alcohol-fuelled events. If you’re hosting the event in your home, your homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy may offer some coverage if it is considered a covered peril, and only after you pay your deductible.
Your Homeowners Policy May Not Provide Sufficient Coverage
Usually, most policies provide some legal liability protection. For instance, if someone injures themselves on your property and you’re found liable, your policy may provide compensation for damages.
However, you shouldn’t assume your homeowners policy will provide sufficient liability coverage if you decide to host a party. This depends on the policy type, endorsements, and the specific incident that triggers a claim.
Luckily, insurers offer social host liquor liability and umbrella insurance to address these risks. Social host liquor liability insurance is a short-term policy which offers additional coverage for bodily injury or property damage related to alcohol. It may be available as a rider on your existing homeowners policy or as a standalone.
Umbrella insurance is a cost-effective way to increase your financial protection. Policies are usually sold in $1 million increments and provide additional liability coverage beyond what your homeowners policy provides. An umbrella policy is often a sensible choice for those who own considerable assets.
Talk to Us!
If you’re considering hosting an event this season, give us a call beforehand. We can provide you with the advice you need to remain well-protected. The reasonable price of either social host liquor liability or umbrella insurance is worth it, considering how costly a lawsuit or