If you’re holding a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party this season – or even just hold a lot of parties throughout the year – you may want to take a closer look at your homeowners insurance policy. Why? Because a survey conducted by Trusted Choice on behalf of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (aka the Big “I”), about a third of American homeowners did not know that they could be held responsible if someone left their party drunk and got into a car accident.
The survey asked homeowners whether or not they believed they were legally liable if a guest left their home drunk, but it asked other questions as well, about such things as the liability responsibility if a guest led to a home’s destruction by leaving a candle unattended, or smoking indoors, as well as if they suffered food poisoning from catered food at a party, or tripped and fell on the sidewalk outside the door.
More disturbing than the questions, were the answers. According to The Big “I,” the percentages of homeowners who thought they were NOT liable, or just didn’t have a clue who was, were alarming.
Madelyn Flannagin, Big “I” vice president of education and research said. “With so many people throwing and attending parties between now and New Year’s, it is frightening to see such a lack of knowledge on these important issues of safety and responsibility.” She continued, “Especially during this season, consumers need to be cautious and smart about how they celebrate.”
In addition to the one third of homeowners who didn’t know if they were liable for alcohol related accidents (in many states, the host of a party IS held responsible for someone leaving drunk and crashing), 46% thought they were not liable if a guest consumed catered food and became seriously ill, and 22% didn’t think they were responsible if someone were to injure themselves on the sidewalk.
The bottom line? All of these incidents could be pinned on you as a party host and homeowner, so before you invite all your friends to your annual bash, check your insurance policy. You should review your liability coverage limits to make sure you’re adequately insured, and, if you’re a frequent party host, it might be wise to consider an umbrella policy providing $1 million of additional coverage.