When Jim Angleton throws a Super Bowl party, he wants it to be a winner. But 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 too much to drink,” explained Angleton.
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,” he said.
Angleton has the right idea. The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association of America, or IIABA, 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 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,” said Bob Rusbuldt with IIABA.
You could be held responsible for things like lawyer's fees, lost wages, medical bills, even wrongful death claims.
Take food poisoning for example, the Centers for Disease Control says it affects one in six Americans each year and can easily land party-goers 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,” said Rusbuldt.
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. An din other states, you can still be sued.
“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,” Dick Semerdijian with the American Bar Association.
To protect your assets, look to the liability portion of your homeowner's 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,” said Rusbuldt.
Finally, stick with brands or restaurants you trust. Also, store and handle food properly. And, consider not serving alcohol or limiting the amount you serve.
“If someone can’t drive and everybody is intoxicated and there’s no way to get that person home, please call a cab,” said Semerdjian.
If you want extra coverage, consider an umbrella policy. The IIABA says that for a couple hundred dollars a year, you can get $1 million worth of coverage.