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Alcohol Consumption in an Iowa Home

January 30, 2015

Party in Home

Super Bowl Sunday is more than just a small get-together – about 50 million cases of beer were sold for the event last year. Some people take Monday off, perhaps recovering from consuming excessive food and alcohol.

There can be legal liability of over-serving alcohol in an Iowa home because Iowa does have a social host liability doctrine. In the past, the court has said that the consumption of alcoholic beverages causes accidents, not serving the alcohol. However, the problem that arises is not always the verdict, but the cost of defending the lawsuit.

Potential Criminal/Civil Liability
In Iowa, the court generally says that the able-bodied adult who consumed the alcohol is

responsible for their own actions. However, if a host continues to serve a person who is visibly intoxicated, and the court finds the host acted in a reckless manner, they could be held responsible. Criminal charges could range from vehicular homicide to damages done to personal property. The court also recognizes that an adult is responsible for their own actions in civil suits. However, if it can be argued that the host was reckless in serving the guest too much alcohol, there is no law stating the guest can’t sue you for his or her injuries. Other people injured in accidents can also sue you for their injuries or damages sustained.

Major Risk – Insurance Liability 

The major risk area is when the intoxicated person has no insurance to cover their accidents. In this case, the third party will sue you to cover the costs.
Liability insurance protects the insured person if he or she is sued for claims that come within the coverage of the insurance policy.


The only pure protection possible is to remove all liability by removing alcohol from the scene, but this might be going overboard. Plus, this might not even be possible when getting a large or eclectic group together.
So, the best solution is a combination of reducing risk and amplifying protection. You can remove risk by ensuring you aren’t acting in a reckless manner by over-serving guests who are visibly intoxicated. Let your insurance provider give you some peace of mind by ensuring you that you have the best coverage possible. One excellent option is umbrella insurance, which provides coverage above your basic homeowners or automobile policy.

Author: Jones Insurance and Associates
January 30, 2015

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