There is a lot of goodwill during the holidays but unfortunately there are many people that will sue without a second thought. The best host in the world could get in trouble for an illness brought on by undercooked food or a guest becoming even slightly intoxicated. Hiring a caterer or using a restaurant might help but you could still be liable for food poisoning or a roadside accident after a guest exits the party.
The IIABA (Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America) has some tips for homeowners and businesses planning on throwing a holiday party for family & friends or employees.
Know the law and what you’re liable for
You could live in a state that holds party/event hosts responsible for food borne illnesses caused by their food and/or drinks. Read through your homeowners’ policy and/or call your Miami home insurance agent to see if you are adequately covered should a guest become ill during or after your party. If you are interested in extra protection, you could look into purchasing a $1 million or more personal umbrella policy on top of your current policy.
If unsure, toss it
Roughly three-quarters of Americans outsource their holiday food to a caterer or restaurant but you would still be responsible for food poisoning from a bad dish. Only use trusted sources to prepare your food and refrain from serving anything that appears to be undercooked or spoiled.
Keep an eye on who has been drinking what
Your state could also hold you liable for intoxicated guests involved in an accident after leaving your party. You could be faced with paying medical bills, car repair, injured parties’ time away from work, and/or wrongful death claims. If a guest starts exhibiting signs of too much alcohol ask for their car keys and offer them a drink without alcohol. It may also be wise to keep an eye out for those under 21. And, even if it seems excessive, for a large enough party you could hire an off-duty police officer or a bouncer to check a guest’s level of sobriety before leaving.
Don’t have the party at home
Host the party/event at a bar or restaurant (if your budget permits). An establishment that serves alcohol must have a liquor license which will take some of the liability off of your shoulders. If you’re concerned about the quantity of alcohol your guests may consume, plan to have various activities to keep their minds off drinking. You could even take it one step further and offer your guests transportation or accommodations for the night.
Parties and get-togethers should always be fun and enjoyable without anyone getting sick or hurt. Try to take whatever precautions you can to prevent illness or accident to avoid any issues or lawsuits that can bring a damper on the holidays. And check out the food safety website for any tips on food preparation and storage. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 305-270-2100.
At Filer Insurance, Inc., we have been providing Home, Auto and Business Insurance in Miami and South Florida since 1919. We would very much like to have you as one of our customers. Please give us call or come by our office for a free quote on your insurance.