Can your July 4 barbecue get you sued?

It’s summer party season, which means these $1.50 burgers (yes, you read that right) paired with backyard beers, poolside cocktails and porch wine.

But prior to inviting your friends over to cool off and let loose, there’s a few things you should consider. We’ve got July Fourth celebrations on the horizon. So, before you crack open a cold one, consider what you can do to lower your risk.

Medium Brush Stroke

Drunk (driving) history

Social host liability laws are descendents of so-called “dram shop laws,” which can hold bars and restaurants liable if they over-serve.

The laws, which vary widely by state, assign criminal and civil responsibility to hosts who serve alcohol to guests — meaning that if a guest leaves your house and hits a cyclist with their car, that cyclist can sue you for property damages and bodily injury.

Are you covered?

If you have homeowners insurance or renters insurance, your policy comes with universal liability insurance, which means you’re protected in many instances of legal action against you.

However, when it comes to social host liability suits, you’re very likely not fully covered. The liability coverage provided by your homeowners or renters insurance omits intentional or criminal acts.

How to get (more) coverage

Some renters and homeowners policies do provide liquor liability coverage. If you host a lot of parties, find out if yours does — or find a new carrier that provides that coverage.

Adding an umbrella policy that includes host and liquor liability is another option. A third option is to purchase special event insurance that includes liquor liability.


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