If you’ve done your homework about homeowners insurance, you know that you’re liable if you let party guests drive home drunk, but that your liability insurance will cover it. What you may not, know, however, is that your home insurance policy will also provide a small amount of coverage if you accidentally give your dinner guests food poisoning.
While homeowners insurance claims for food poisoning are rare, your policy will usually cover a guest’s visit to the emergency room. The problem is that most guests don’t tell their hosts if they become ill, and unless every dinner guest develops the same symptoms fairly quickly after a meal it may be difficult to tell whether or not it’s food poisoning or a virus.
Though insurance claims for food poisoning don’t happen that often, food poisoning itself is a fairly common occurrence, with CDC figures estimating that one in six people in the United States gets a food-borne illness every year.
The most common food-related illnesses are campylobacter, clostridium perfringens, e coli 0157, listeria, norovirus, salmonella, and toxoplasma, with the majority of all food-related hospitalizations caused by salmonella, and a large percent of less severe food poisoning caused by norovirus.
The best way to keep your dinner guests safe and avoid unnecessary claims against your homeowners insurance is to practice safe handling procedures in your kitchen. Always wash your hands, especially when dealing with meat or poultry, and wipe down your counters with anti-bacterial cleaner.