Survey: Most homeowners unaware of holiday liabilities

A national survey on homeowner’s insurance issues by Trusted Choice and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) found that about one-third of homeowners did not think or did not know if they could be held responsible in the event of an alcohol-related accident. In addition, more than 46% of the survey respondents thought they weren’t liable in the event that a guest became seriously ill from catered food consumed at the host’s home and more than 22% didn’t think they could be held responsible if a guest was injured on the sidewalk in front of their property. In fact, these are all situations in which a homeowner could have liability.
A spokesman for the IIABA suggest that homeowners regularly review their liability coverage limits with their independent agent to ensure adequate coverage, and that frequent party hosts inquire about an umbrella policy providing $1 million or more in additional coverage. IIABC also suggest the following holiday hosting tips for homeowners and business owners:

  • Limit your guest list to those you know.
  • Host your party at a restaurant or bar that has a liquor license, rather in a home or office.
  • Provide filling food for guests and alternative non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Schedule entertainment or activities that do not involve alcohol. If the party centers around drinking, guests will likely drink more.
  • Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who cannot or should not drive home.
  • Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party is scheduled to end.
  • Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated.
  • Consider hiring an off-duty police officer to discretely monitor guests’ sobriety or handle any alcohol-related problems as guests leave.
  • Stay alert, always remembering your responsibilities as a host.
  • Review your insurance policy with your Trusted Choice agent before the event to ensure that you have the proper liability coverage.

One thought on “Survey: Most homeowners unaware of holiday liabilities

  1. The most important, and most easily remembered suggestion here is the best: remember your responsibilities as a host. Let’s face it, hosts and hostesses can’t monitor every guest’s alcohol consumption, nor can they prevent a guest from driving poorly from a party even when sober. But they can establish a tenor of moderation, reminding a spouse that someone should be “designated” as driver, and suggesting ride sharing home when appropriate. We entertain at home and serve alcohol, but pay attention to the warning signs; above all, we want all our guests to get home safely.
    We also carry a big umbrella, just in case.

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