Holiday Parties And Home Insurance: How To Protect Yourself From Personal Liability

The mistletoe is hung and the punch bowl is sufficiently spiked. But before you invite guests into your home this holiday season, be sure you know what it means to take on liability when it comes to personal insurance and how you can protect yourself against personal liability.

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to parties and injury liability for this Thanksgiving and beyond.

Slips and Falls

While black ice and less-than-sober party guests aren't a great combination, there are bound to be some mishaps if you don't prepare your property sufficiently ahead of time.

Before the party:

  • Remove snow from the sidewalks, driveway, and walkways

  • Sprinkle the walkways with salt or sand to melt the ice

  • Check that all walkways are free from obstruction and hazards, such as an improperly secured carpet

During the party:

  • Keep walkways sufficiently lit

  • Escort the disabled or elderly to lower the risk of falls

Food Poisoning

One of the last things you wish to gift to your friends and family this year is food poisoning, but it's entirely possible when it comes to large gatherings and the chance of food spoilage. Fortunately, you can reduce this risk in numerous ways.

Before the party:

  • Thaw all frozen meats in the fridge to avoid the growth of bacteria

  • Prepare meat according to Food Safety guidelines

  • Wash your hands before, during, and after preparations

During the party:

  • Keep meats at an appropriate minimum temperature with the use of catering burners or crockpots

  • Refrigerate cold prepared foods, such as potato salad, when it is not being served


Indulgence in alcohol is common at holiday parties, but your liability may not end as soon as your guests walk out the door. In some cases, your insurance may not cover such liability. So, how can you prepare?

Before the party:

  • Be sure to obtain plenty of non-alcoholic beverage options

During the party:

  • Stop serving guests who are clearly intoxicated

  • Stop serving alcohol one-and-a-half to two hours before the end of the party

And of course, do not allow guests to drive home intoxicated. You can set up a designated driver beforehand, or call a cab for those who need one.

Unfortunately, accidents can still happen even when you have gone out of your way to ensure safety. This is why it's important to speak with your home insurance agent before your gatherings to understand what your policy covers and purchase additional personal insurance if necessary. This can help to prevent you in the event of liability placed against you.