Tis’ the season for entertaining! The fall season begins a slew of gatherings with friends and family. Unfortunately, it can also open you up to risks. As a homeowner, you are responsible for anyone on your property, invited or not. Injuries that could be caused due to your negligence will put you and your family at risk. Your homeowners policy does protect you from liability, but only up to a certain dollar amount. Additional insurance can and should be purchased to offer more protection.
Steps To Take To Reduce Risk
Mitigating risk is something we talk about a lot in the insurance industry. It’s important to know your risks and how to reduce them. While accidents do happen, there are certain things you can do to help lessen them. Here are five ways to help your party goes off without a hitch (or claim).
- Check your home for possible safety hazards. Before guests arrive, do a walk-through of your entire property and look for potential hazards. Do you have a step on your porch that is hard to see? Consider adding more light in that area to help light the way. Maybe you had left a garden hose out in the yard where a guest taking a short cut might trip. Make sure all tripping hazards are put away. What about guest seating? Do you have a piece of furniture that you’ve been meaning to get fixed? Bring that item to the garage or other out-of-the-way area to ensure that it is not used. As a homeowner, it‘s your responsibility to provide a safe environment for your guests.
- Hire a professional bartender to serve alcohol. Professional bartenders are relatively inexpensive and often carry their own liquor liability. They have been trained to spot when someone has had too much to drink. They know when to stop serving and inform the host of concerning situations. Be aware that larger events that will need to have event insurance as homeowners insurance will likely not cover personal liability. Special Events Coverage through your insurance agent. This coverage provides General Liability coverage for events over one day in duration, up to 100 attendees, such as weddings or New Year’s Eve parties at your home.
- Offer Taxi or Uber rides for your guests. Serving alcohol opens you to a whole host of liability. Your guests driving home while under the influence is a big no-no. Having the number handy of several taxi or Uber drivers will help keep your guests safe. Consider having everyone put their keys in a bowl and attach a card with the taxi phone number right to their car keys.
- Have plenty of food and water available for guests. Staying hydrated throughout the day/night will help your guests more than you think. Stage several areas throughout your home for easy access to non-alcoholic beverages. Water, lemonade, and seasonal hot cider are all good choices.
- Check your homeowner’s insurance policy limits and restrictions. Umbrella polices that offer additional coverage/higher limits and special event insurance are the best ways to help mitigate your risk. There are many instances where your homeowners insurance will not cover you at all if an accident occurs because of a party on your premise. It’s important to establish a good relationship with your insurance agent and to verify if additional coverage is needed for a special event.
Please contact your Personal Insurance Advisor if you have any questions about your homeowners policy.