by Katrina Mattila

Liquor Liability: When it’s Needed and What to do


The holidays are upon us and that means we are busy with company parties and fundraisers.  I often get asked the question from organizations that don’t serve alcohol as part of their normal operation, do I need liquor liability? The answer is usually yes; if you are selling alcohol you need liquor liability. If your business is having a holiday party for your employees and alcohol is being provided but not sold, your commercial liability policy usually has host liquor liability and you would not need to purchase a liquor liability policy.

If you are a non-profit and are hosting a fundraiser where you will be selling alcohol or alcohol is provided as part of the ticket price into the event, then you need to do a couple of things.  You will need to purchase a one day liquor bond. This gives you the ability to sell the alcohol, and you will also need liquor liability to protect your organization. You can be held liable for any damages, injury, or death that occurs from someone who was served too much alcohol at your party. The statistics on drunk driving are scary. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2015, 10,265 people died in a drunk driving crash. That is one person every 51 minutes, and 290,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes. Liquor liability is an important coverage to have when serving alcohol; however it is also just as important to prevent an accident from ever happening.  A couple of ways to be proactive in protecting your organization, employees, patrons, and the public are:

  • Have anyone who will be serving alcohol go through an alcohol service certification such as TIPS or TAM (these can be done online).
  • Always check ID’s.
  • Be sure those who are serving know what to do if someone is intoxicated.
  • Establish a policy to call a cab for anyone that needs one.

These are just a few ways you can help make your holiday party safe and successful. Happy Holidays!

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