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The holiday season is just around the corner. Many employers throw end-of-year parties to thank employees for all their work and dedicate time to celebrating the holidays together as a team. Whether your company has decided to throw a big bash offsite or a smaller, low-key gathering in the office, the most important thing is that the get-together is safe, merry, and doesn’t put your business—or the people who work for you—at risk. Here are the insurance matters you need to consider when planning your company holiday party. 

To-Do Prior to Party Planning 

Before you even begin the party-planning process, review your current business owner's insurance policy (BOP) for a refresher on what you do and don’t have covered. BOPs typically combine protections for property and liability risks. Additionally, you should already have workers’ compensation, as it’s required by law. After reviewing, ask yourself where you’d like to throw the company holiday party: in your office/workspace or offsite at a different venue. There are pros and cons to each, which will be covered later on in this article, but some factors you’ll want to consider are: 

  • Estimated number of attendees expected. Are you inviting employees to bring spouses or guests? Pay attention to space limitations and fire codes. 
  • Party budget. Determining what you’re willing and able to spend will help narrow down your options. 
  • Will alcohol be served or available? If this party is for adults, the answer is most likely “yes.” With liquor comes more liability.  

Hosting Your Company Holiday Party at the Office 

Hosting at the office might save time and money since you won’t have to book an event space and it’s already a central, convenient location for your staff. On the other hand, there are several risks involved. Just as if you were hosting a house party, hosting at the office will mean you’re responsible for what happens on the premises. 

If offering alcohol, you’ll need liquor liability insurance; if you don’t already have it, it can be added to your coverage. Consider hiring a catering company or bartenders to take care of the serving. As professionals, they’re trained to know when someone’s had too much to drink and needs to be cut off. Be sure to notify them if anyone under 21 will be in attendance so they’ll know to check IDs, too. And, if you're welcoming outside vendors and your employees’ guests to the workspace, be aware of what your commercial building insurance will cover in the event of theft. 

Hosting Your Company Holiday Party Offsite 

Whether hosting at a fancy venue, a country club, or a local bar and restaurant, you want peace of mind knowing your business will be covered if anything goes wrong. Though not always straightforward, liability might fall on the venue—not your business—if someone gets injured, ill, or too intoxicated, since the venue will have its own certificate of insurance. Again, it's best to talk directly to an agent who can help determine if you need extended coverage. They can walk through what the options are for special event insurance and other miscellaneous commercial policies. 

people at holiday party toasting with champagne

Tips for an Incident-Free Company Holiday Party 

The most common types of incidents at these events are harassment and intoxication. 

  • Remind employees via email about your company’s code of conduct and substance abuse policy prior to the party. 
  • Consider serving a full meal to avoid anyone drinking on an empty stomach.  
  • Arrange for transportation home from the party to prevent employees from drinking and driving. 

Everyone wants a fun and festive holiday season; no one wants to see anyone getting hurt or causing trouble. While you focus on running the company and keeping spirits bright, let World Insurance Associates take care of your commercial insurance needs, checking them twice to ensure you have the right policies.



This article is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.

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