Ho Ho Holiday Party? Careful, Homeowners, You Could Be Liable

December 23rd, 2008 by Brad C

Hosting a Christmas Party at your house?  Make sure your guests are able to drive before they leave, or you could be Make sure guests are sober before leaving your Christmas partyliable for their accidents.  Worse still,  you may be unprotected in such an instance, based on a recent Supreme Court case which ruled that a West Virginia Home insurance company was not liable for damages stemming from a fatal alcohol-related accident.

The West Virginia case involved a lawsuit against Jeff Corra, who knowingly provided alcohol to under-aged guests who later were involved in a fatal accident.  American Modern Home Insurance Company sued, saying it was not liable to defend Corra or cover damages.  The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the accident was not a covered occurrence because the damages were caused by the homeowner’s conduct in knowingly permitting underage drinking.   Underage or not, permitting drunk guests to drive away from your home puts you at risk.

A recent survey by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America revealed that most homeowners didn’t know that they could be liable for everything from a drunk driving incident to food poisoning involving their guests.  In most cases, consumers have some coverage through the personal liability portion of their home insurance policies, but usually the limit on this is quite low. 

How To Protect Yourself

There are two things you can do to protect yourself.  The first is to regularly review the liability coverage limits of your current home insurance policy.  Since many policies have maximum limits of $1000 for medical bills, consider raising the coverage limit to something a little more realistic.

The second choice is to purchase an umbrella policy, which would provide protection in a wide variety of situations.  Most consumers purchase a $1 million policy, which seems to be a popular amount people pursue for damages. 

Listen to Ho Ho Holiday Party? Careful, Homeowners, You Could Be Liable
Listen to Ho Ho Holiday Party? Careful, Homeowners, You Could Be Liable

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