For many people, the holidays are a time of parties, gatherings, and open houses. And indeed, part of the magic of the Season includes being surrounded by family and friends. If you are hosting, however, your planning shouldn’t stop at the menu and the decor. Having a number of guests at your house increases the potential for injuries or other claims.
If you enjoy having guests over, give your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy a quick look to ensure you are covered for the most common claims situations. Even if your relatives don’t want to sue you, they may be forced to do so in order to get their medical bills paid. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so be sure to take some basic safety precautions:
Slips and Falls
- If your driveway or sidewalk are icy, sprinkle sand or salt to reduce the risk for accidents or injuries.
- Take care that the areas where guests will be walking are properly lit.
- If there are dangerous areas on your property, mark them clearly or fence them off, especially if your guest list includes children that might enjoy roaming through your yard.
- When preparing food, wash your hands and equipment often, especially when handling food that’s high in bacteria such as chicken.
- Choose appetizers and snacks that can handle room temperature, or be sure that foods requiring refrigeration don’t stay out too long.
- Cook meat, eggs and seafood thoroughly before serving.
- If you are serving alcohol, be sure to also offer a variety of non-alcoholic drinks or virgin cocktails.
- Stop serving alcohol an hour or two before the party ends.
- Stop serving guests who appear intoxicated.
- If a guest had a little too much to drink, call a taxi service to get them home safely.
Serving alcohol can trigger uncomfortable situations, so when hosting a larger or more formal gathering, you might want to consider hiring a professional bar tender who is trained to recognize signs of intoxication in guests.
Be aware that if a guest leaves your party intoxicated and is involved in an accident, you may be held liable in a lawsuit. Your insurance may or may not provide coverage in this situation.
Hiring A Service Provider
If you opt to hire a service provider, such as a caterer, bartender or valet for your party, be sure that they are licensed, bonded and insured. Request to see a copy of the current insurance policy to ensure the coverage is active and includes a liquor liability endorsement.
Protect Your Valuables
- To limit the potential for damage, move expensive vases or other valuable items, especially if they are displayed in a high-traffic area.
- Put away jewelry or other small precious items and consider locking doors you don’t want opened, especially if your invitees include guests that you don’t know personally. A scheduled jewelry endorsement will cover your valuable jewelry in case of theft or ‘mysterious disappearance’.
Consider the Type of Event
Of course, it makes a difference whether you are hosting a relatively small holiday gathering, or your daughter’s Christmas wedding. If you are hosting a large event, you may wish to invest in a Special Event insurance policy. Your insurance agent can help you with that.
Please give us a call if you have any questions. Happy Holidays!