Now that Thanksgiving has passed and fall is coming to an end, the fun winter holiday parties are upon us! If you plan on being a holiday host, make sure your guests have a good time and stay safe, both at the party and on the way home. Keep these tips in mind for your upcoming holiday parties to help prevent the liability hazards that accompany most festivities:
- Be cautious of holiday decorations: If there are children attending the party, try to keep small, breakable items and other choking hazards up high so they are out of reach. Move decorative candles away from flammable objects in case they are accidentally bumped and knocked over by a guest.
- Monitor the eggnog bowl: People often tend to let loose during the holiday season which can lead to over-drinking. Try keeping a variety of food options and nonalcoholic drinks available to help limit the alcohol intake of guests. Also, monitor your own drinking to ensure that you are in the correct state of mind to protect your guests from driving while intoxicated. As the party draws to an end, offer coffee, tea, water or soda instead of serving alcohol.
- List ingredients in holiday treats: A great aspect of the holiday party is the abundance of food, but many of the tasty treats contain ingredients that people can’t eat. Ask in advance if any guests have food allergies, and be sure to label treats with their ingredients so guests can monitor what they are eating.
- Prepare for winter weather: Depending on the weather, the roads may be covered in ice, sleet, and snow. Try to keep all walkways and driveways clear of these hazards. Spread sand and salt to melt away the ice, and shovel off the snow and sleet to leave a safe pathway. Warn guests of the slippery conditions beforehand so they have time to prepare and grab sturdy boots.
- Pets and Property: If you want to let your pet mingle with the guests, be sure to monitor their behavior. Pets can become overwhelmed if there is an abundance of people, and a playful nip could turn into a serious bite. If things start to escalate, keep your pet closed off in a separate room until the party dies down again. Also, if your home has guns or pools, make sure they are locked and secured. Always be cautious of your personal property when you have guests in the home; accidents happen and sometimes they can be very serious.
Though the average homeowners policy provides some liability coverage, a personal umbrella policy provides coverage limits above and beyond the homeowners limits. If disaster strikes and you find yourself liable for an accident caused by a holiday hazard, a personal umbrella policy can extend your liability coverage up to $10 million (depending on the limits selected). If you’re hosting a party at a location other than your home, please consult with your independent agent to discuss any additional coverage considerations.
The holidays are a time for celebration and fun, so don’t let a hazard ruin the party. Try these tips to keep your guests safe and the party fun. If you’re unsure of what you could be held liable for, check out your State’s Liability Laws. Even when the holidays come to an end, a personal umbrella policy is a great product to have for extended liability coverage throughout the year!
The coverages described here are in the most general terms, and are subject to the actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions, and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact your agent.