Resources & Insights

Serving Alcohol at Your Super Bowl Party? Consider the Liability

January 30, 2020

Beth Lindeman,
Account Manager

Whether you’re a San Francisco or Kansas City fan, hosting a Super Bowl party comes with a liability you should take a moment to consider.

It’s called “social host liability,” and it’s the term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a host who furnishes liquor to a guest.

With nearly 50 million cases of beer sold in the two weeks leading up to it, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest party days of the year. It’s also why Super Bowl Sunday is considered one of the riskiest days to drive because of impaired motorists driving home from parties, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The laws regarding social host liability vary from state to state, but most give an injured person – such as the victim of a drunken driver – the right to sue the person who served the alcohol.

In other words, not only can you be held liable for the injuries suffered by your guests, but you can be liable for any harm that comes to passengers in their car or anyone traveling in a vehicle they might have crashed into.

Homeowners insurance usually provides some liquor liability coverage, but limits vary and may be too low, depending on your assets.

You also can purchase a one-time liquor liability policy to cover a special event. That typically includes  weddings, fundraisers and reunions, but, depending on your carrier, coverage for a Super Bowl party might be available, too.

Insurance coverage aside, if you’re planning to serve alcohol at any party, it’s a good idea to promote safe alcohol consumption and take these steps to reduce your social host liability exposure. The  Insurance Information Institute offers these common-sense tips for your Super Bowl or other party gatherings:

  • Consider venues other than your home for the party. Hosting your party at a restaurant or bar with a liquor license, rather than at your home, will help minimize liquor liability risks.
  • Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by partygoers.
  • Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages so that he or she can drive other guests home.
  • Limit your own alcohol intake as a responsible host/hostess, so that you will be better able to judge your guests’ sobriety.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. Eating and drinking plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages, can help counter the effects of alcohol.
  • Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty. And never serve alcohol to guests who are visibly intoxicated.
  • Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
  • If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home.

Beth Lindeman is a CCIG Personal Lines account manager. Reach her at or 720-330-7136

CCIG is a Denver-area insurance, employee benefits and surety brokerage with clients nationwide. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We help you manage your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.

Also readTying the Knot? Special Event Insurance for Your Special Day

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