Will you be among the millions watching Super Bowl LI this Sunday for some football and ads? If so, take some time to review your game day plans before hosting or attending a Super Bowl party. On average, American households invite up to 17 people into their homes to watch the game. While prepping for the day, one thing you might not consider is the risks you face while hosting a party and the liability it entails. Ask yourself these 5 questions to make sure it’s a great experience for your and your guests:
- Are you cooking during on the big day? Protect your home and the delicious food you’re planning on eating! If you are using the stove, keep a close eye on the stovetop to avoid any grease fires, burns, and injuries. Keep the kitchen area clear and request that guests give you space while you prepare the game day goodies. Never leave the kitchen unattended if the stove is on. If you’re planning on grilling out, make sure to only use the grill outside and don’t leave the grill unattended for long periods of time. Grilling inside, in garages, or partially enclosed rooms is extremely dangerous and can cause serious accidents.
- Is your television secure? While you’re tidying up the house, remember that guests can get excited during the game and could become a hazard to your home. Make sure your TV is securely mounted or positioned. January 31 is National TV Safety Day and serves to remind television owners to ensure TVs are securely placed. Every three weeks, a child dies from a TV tipping over, in the U.S. Check out these tips from Safe Kids Worldwide to protect any children attending your party.
- Can your guests trip, fall or break anything? With winter in full swing, the weather can expose you and your guests to new hazards such as wet stairs and freezing temperatures. Before your guests arrive, make sure your home, driveway, stairs and walkway are clear of any potential trip and fall hazards and prevent accidents. If you have breakable items around the house, move them to an area that excited fans won’t potentially knock over, crash or break them. Be aware that if your friend’s enthusiastic celebration of a touchdown knocks your 60-inch, flat screen TV off its stand, accidental breakage is typically excluded from your homeowners or rental policy.
- Do you know your state’s Social Host Liability Laws? In several states, party hosts can be held responsible if any of their guests is involved in an accident after consuming alcohol on their property. You can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in an impaired-driving crash. If one of your guests is injured in an accident, you could be held legally responsible for the damages including car repair costs, medical bills for injuries and lost time from work, or in the most unfortunate and tragic cases, you could be deemed liable in a wrongful death claim, which typically results in a significant monetary settlement. Click here to view your state’s social host liability laws. While the majority of homeowners insurance liability coverage may protect you in the event of a lawsuit, simply avoiding the risk and keeping everyone safe is worth the precautions.
- If someone drinks too much and can’t drive home, do you have a plan? Be sure all of your guests designate their drivers in advance or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers. Keep the number for a local cab company handy in case a guest needs to get a ride home. If someone is thinking of driving while impaired, take the keys away from them and have them call a cab, get a ride with friends or family, or simply have them sleep it off at your place while they sober up. To prevent anyone from becoming too impaired, serve lots of food throughout the evening- especially high protein and non-salty foods in addition to a variety of non-alcoholic beverages. Also, stop serving alcohol at the beginning of the third quarter of the game and set out the football-themed desserts. These tips could save you from a social host liability case.
In addition to these safety tips, it’s always a good idea to review your coverage with your Lighthouse agent, before hosting an event. Ask your agent about the liability section of your homeowners or renters insurance policy and be sure you understand the coverage you have in the event that you are sued and deemed liable for an accident involving one of your guests.