Protecting the Festive Spirit: Home Holiday Party Coverage

The holiday season is a time of joy, laughter, and celebration. While the focus is on creating a magical atmosphere, it's crucial not to overlook the importance of protecting yourself from potential property and liability claims resulting from hosting holiday parties in your home.

Accidents and mishaps are unfortunate realities that can occur even in the midst of the happiest occasions. From unexpected injuries to harassment claims to property damage, the risks associated with hosting a large home holiday gathering are diverse. While your standard homeowners’ policy likely has some coverage, our recommendations can offer you a more comprehensive financial safety net.

One of the primary reasons to consider supplemental personal liability coverage is the litigation protection it provides. Accidents happen, and if a guest were to slip and fall on your property or suffer an injury during your party, you could be held legally responsible. This liability coverage would add an additional layer of protection from potential lawsuits by covering medical expenses, legal fees, and other related costs that may not be covered under your existing homeowner policy.

Another major concern is property damage that could occur during your gathering. Intentional or not, accidents such as spilled drinks, broken valuables, or even accidental fires can lead to significant financial losses. If you or a guest misplaces or loses personal property, you’ll want to make sure your homeowner policy has sufficient limits.

Event policies have a number of benefits you will want to consider. If your homeowner policy limits are not high enough to cover possible missing or damaged articles, this short-term policy can help fill the gap. Depending on how robust you want your program, additional event-specific coverage can be included as well.

Liquor liability insurance, which can be part of a supplemental event policy, is meant to cover alcohol-related incidents such as accidents or injuries caused by intoxicated staff, guests, or family members. This additional layer of protection is especially important in today's litigious society, where hosts can be held liable for the actions of their guests. For example, if an inebriated guest drove and injured someone, that third-party could contend that you are personally liable. That means you could find yourself responsible for funding your own defense. While a personal liability policy may offer some relief in this situation, you’ll want to weigh the benefits of supplemental event coverage so that your limits better match the risk of hosting an event in your home.

Bartender insurance, as liquor liability is also known, should be strongly considered if both alcohol and minors are going to be present. Of course, it’s always a smart move to hire professionals who are bonded and licensed through a reputable company. These precautions add layers of protection since many states could hold you responsible for bodily injury or property damage should your hired help serve a minor or overserve a guest.

If you ask your domestic staff to work a holiday party, your existing worker's compensation program plays an important role. If they are injured while on the job - even if they are the ones who are intoxicated - their medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages would be covered. You may even want to consider employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) to provide coverage for your staff should they experience harassment, emotional distress, or related issues arising from your event. And if someone posts negative or controversial images on social media, EPLI can help shield you from reputational damage.

If your party is big enough, an event cancellation policy could come in handy. Extreme weather conditions or unexpected personal emergencies can force you to cancel, interrupt, or postpone your lavish festivities. This type of policy can usually cover deposits, purchased décor and furniture, pre-paid staff, and other party planning expenses.

In the spirit of responsible hosting, it's essential to understand that accidents and unforeseen circumstances are not signs of poor planning but rather aspects of life that can't always be predicted. Before embarking on your next home holiday gathering, let Lockton compare policies, assess your needs, and recommend coverage that aligns with the scale and nature of your event. By doing so, you not only protect yourself and your guests but also make sure that the holiday season remains a time of happiness, warmth, and cherished memories for everyone involved.

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The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. Please consult with a Lockton representative for information regarding specific insurance products and services.