Preparing for the Big Game

As millions of Americans prepare to host and attend Super Bowl parties next month, many may be unaware of the risks they may be taking. Party hosts need to understand their responsibilities when inviting people into their homes and serving food and drinks.

“Before hosting a party for the big game, homeowners may want to consult with their insurance agent and ask questions,” suggests Rick Dinger, Crescenta Valley Insurance president. “Hosts shouldn’t drop the ball regarding their responsibilities. They need to be aware that if someone drives drunk or becomes sick after consuming food at their party, the host could actually be liable.”

In fact, a bad bratwurst could bring just as many risks as too many beers.      “Whether the food served came from your kitchen, a pizza delivery truck or a five-star caterer, if you serve it you could be liable if anyone gets sick,” said Dinger. “Even a simple neighborhood Super Bowl potluck could have disastrous results for the host if someone is stricken with food-poisoning.”

Crescenta Valley Insurance provide the following tips for party hosts and guests:

Study the Host Playbook and Do Your Homework: When hosting a party, individuals should look to the liability portion of their homeowners or renters insurance policy to protect them if they are sued and found liable for an accident involving a guest who drank or got sick after consuming food at their home.

Watch What You Eat and Feed Others: Even if food was prepared outside your home by a caterer, another guest, a local deli or the neighborhood pizza joint, the host could be held liable if someone becomes ill from consuming it on their property.

Know the Rules: Party hosts can be held liable if a guest is involved in an alcohol-related accident.

Let the Party Go into Overtime: If necessary, encourage guests to stay after the game is over to enjoy some non-alcoholic beverages and safe, filling food to sober up before driving home. Immediately after the Super Bowl is one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road.

Make the Party an “Away Game”: Host your party at a restaurant or a local sports bar that has a liquor license rather in a home to decrease your liability.

Call a Cab, Get a Room or Have a Slumber Party: Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who cannot or should not drive home.

Just Say No: Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated. Stay alert and always remember your responsibilities as a host.

Consider an Umbrella Policy: While partygoers and hosts alike should act responsibly and know their limits, consumers need to acknowledge that most risks cannot be entirely eliminated. Purchasing a personal “umbrella” liability policy – providing $1 million or more in additional coverage over the limit of a standard homeowners or renters policy – may be a prudent move for the frequent party host.