Super Bowl party hosting: How to protect yourself
Courtny Gerrish, Stephanie Graham
A Super Bowl party is an American tradition, with millions of football fans hosting game day soirees. Make sure you are a responsible host.
When Jim Angleton throws a Super Bowl party, he wants it to be a winner. However, a couple of years ago a guest got into a post-game fender bender.
"They actually had some medications and they had a little bit of too much to drink," Angleton recalls.
Now, before kickoff, he has a game plan in place, which includes a call to his insurance agent. "We obtain a general liability insurance policy that covers our family, friends, guests that would come to our house."
Jim's got the right idea. Bob Rusbuldt is with The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association of America says it's important for party hosts to understand the risks that go along with hosting a Super Bowl party. If there's a fumble with food or alcohol, you could end up in serious legal trouble.
"Nobody thinks they are going to be sued, and people get sued, so party hosts have to be cognizant that even friends can file lawsuits," Rusboldt explains.
That leaves you responsible for things like lawyer's fees, lost wages, medical bills, and even wrongful death claims. Take food poisoning. It affects 1 in 6 Americans each year, and can easily land partygoers in the emergency room.
"Even if the food is served by a caterer, by a pizza delivery shop, by a restaurant--you are responsible for what you serve in your house," Rusboldt warns.
That goes for drinks, too. The American Bar Association says if there's an alcohol related accident, party hosts can be held liable in most states. In other states, you can still be sued bar member Dick Semerdjian warns. "The argument they will make is that the social host knew, or should have known, of the level of intoxication of their guest when they left."
To protect your assets, look to the liability portion of your homeowners or renter's insurance, and talk to your agent about any exclusions.
"You need to make sure that you're adequately covered. Most trusted choice agents will tell you that $100,000 is not enough coverage. They usually recommend a minimum of $300,000," Rusboldt says.
Finally, stick with brands or restaurants you trust, store and handle game day grub properly, and consider not serving alcohol or limiting the amount you serve. Since Jim plays by these rules he can relax and enjoy the big game. "We sleep better at night, and we actually have a good feeling that we've done everything that we possibly can to mitigate liability."
If you want extra coverage, consider an umbrella policy. The IIABA says that for a couple of hundred dollars a year, you can get a million dollars worth of coverage.