6 homeowners insurance tips for Super Bowl party hosts

Here’s how Super Bowl party hosts can enjoy the game — and their guests — while avoiding a possible insurance claim.

JAN 29, 2018 | BY ELANA ASHANTI JEFFERSON

Despite the fact that not everyone loves American football — particularly in light of its recent politicization via the “Take a Knee” campaign — most everyone loves a party.

That makes the ad hoc holiday known as Super Sunday a time for football fans and foes to come together to eat, drink and play armchair TV critic.

This year, roughly 45% of Americans plan to host or attend a Super Bowl party, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

“As a favorite American past-time, the Super Bowl is a great chance for viewers to reconnect with friends and family,” says NRF Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “Even though the number of viewers is slightly down this year, plenty are still planning to enjoy the day by watching it at their favorite bar or friend’s place.”

Related: Super Bowl short-term home rentals & insurance coverage

Insurance experts advise homeowners who choose to host a Super Bowl party to anticipate potential liabilities — on the chance something unexpected occurs that results in an insurance claim.

Parties and holidays are times to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company,” says Heather Bolyard, vice president of Claims for American Modern. “Unfortunately, guests on your property are also a risk for which you may be held responsible.”

Related: How to plan ahead for a safe, claims-free Super Bowl

Should an accident happen, she advises taking the following steps:

          1. Address any injuries first.
          2. Ensure other guests are safe and secure.
          3. Take pictures.
          4. Quickly report the loss to the insurance company.
          5. Be sure to provide the names and contact information for witnesses.
          6. If possible, secure the scene for the insurance company to visit and complete an assessment.

“You put a lot of work into hosting a party,” Bolyard continues. “Do your best to be prepared… Then, enjoy the party knowing that you are insured in case an accident occurs.”

Related: Hosting a Super Bowl 50 party? Watch out for these 5 risks

Here are six tips from insurers regarding potential homeowner liabilities when hosting a Super Bowl party, as well as how to address them.

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Food and drink account for nearly 80% of the purchases made specifically for Super Bowl parties, according to the National Retail Federation. (Photo: iStock)

No. 6: Look out for inebriated guests.

Depending on the location, social host liability laws, or the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to guests, are applicable to events such as in-home Super Bowl parties, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

American Modern’s Heather Bolyard notes that hosts can be liable for guests who over-imbibe and then drive home while intoxicated:

“There have been some very sad claims where after leaving a party with family and friends the guest drove drunk causing an accident, injuries, and even death. A Super Bowl party with friends and family is going to be a great event. If you’re serving alcohol, do so early in the game and be sure to serve food as well; put the alcohol away before the end of the game and switch to coffee and dessert.

For those that over-imbibe ensure they don’t drive; consider asking another guest to give the person a ride or order a ride from a local taxi or ride-sharing service. There are so many services that are quick and convenient. Go ahead and have an app or phone number handy if you need one for a guest. You want to remember the great party, not the results of car accident.”

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In the United States, emergency rooms see nearly 8 million slip-and-fall accident cases each year, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. (Photo: iStock)

No. 5: Clear icy or obstructed sidewalks.

Many parts of the country are heading into the coldest, snowiest part of winter. That means anyone hosting a Super Bowl party could be liable should a guest slip and fall on their steps, driveway or walkway.

But that becomes much less likely when a homeowner has taken extra precautions to clear and salt snowy, icy outdoor paths.

Related: 10 ways to reduce slips, trips and falls in your business

Farmers Insurance data also indicates that skidding on ice or snow and hitting an object or pedestrian claims both increase by more than 5% on Super Bowl Sunday compared to the three Sundays prior.

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Five out of six (83%) grills involved in home fires were fueled by gas while 13% used charcoal or other solid fuel, according to the National Fire Protection Association. (Photo: Shutterstock)

No. 4: Responsibly ‘fire up the barbie.’

Grilling food is easy, fast and delicious, but it also can be dangerous.

Between 2009 and 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues per year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and these fires accounted for annual averages of 10 civilian deaths, 160 reported civilian injuries, and $118 million in direct property damage.

Related: Time for a cookout! Grilling safety & homeowners insurance basics

Super Bowl party hosts should make sure grills are clean and operational before the party, as well as positioned away from people and property.

Keep fire safety tools on hand, just in case.

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Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food consumption day of the year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Photo: iStock)

No. 3: Ward off foodborne illness.

Popular party foods containing dairy, such as dips or potato salad, can quickly sour once they come to room temperature, and Super Bowl party hosts could be liable should a guest become sick from something served at the event.

These food storage tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will go a long way toward avoiding the spread of foodborne illness:

— It is vital to keep foods out of the “Danger Zone,” which is the temperature range between 40°F and 140°F.

— When foods are left in the “Danger Zone,” bacteria can multiply rapidly, causing a single bacterium to multiply to 17 million in 12 hours.

— Avoid serving Super Bowl favorites, such as pizza and chicken wings, at room temperature for the entire game.

— If warm takeout foods are to be served immediately, keep them at 140°F or above by placing in chafing dishes, preheated warming trays or slow cookers.

— If take-out foods will not be served immediately, either keep them warm in a preheated oven, or divide the food into smaller portions or pieces, place in shallow containers, and refrigerate. At serving time, reheat to 165°F.

— Cold foods that are served should be kept at 40°F or below, which can be done by nesting serving dishes in bowls of ice. Avoid storing food outside, where the sun can quickly warm foods in plastic storage containers and animals can get into them.

— Use a food thermometer to ensure foods being served to guests are not in the “Danger Zone.”

Related: Win big with these 7 food safety tips for your Super Bowl 50 party

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More than four million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Photo: iStock)

No. 2: Minimize pet stress.

Dogs are especially sensitive to crowds and noise (like touchdown cheering), and an agitated animal is more likely to bite.

When pets join the party, owners should monitor them for signs of stress such as panting, pacing or hiding. It also may also be wise to keep older or anxious dogs away from Super Bowl party guests altogether.

Related: 8 tips for preventing dog bites

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Property damage, including theft, accounts for more than 97% of homeowners insurance claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. (Photo: iStock)

No. 1: Consider supplemental coverage.

Farmers Insurance warns that homeowners’ policies generally cover a limited amount of liability for injuries that occur at the home. So homeowners may want to consider a personal liability umbrella policy as a supplement.

Farmers also advises Super Bowl party hosts that any intentional act resulting in damage to home or property may not be covered under a homeowners policy. And there are limits to certain types of homeowner losses, such as theft.

To that end, Super Bowl party hosts may want to consult with their insurance specialist before Super Sunday to determine whether supplemental insurance, knowns as a floater, may be prudent.

“Parties and holidays are times to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company,” says American Modern’s Heather Bolyard. “After doing your best to prepare for an entertaining event, insurance can help you have peace of mind and enjoy the time with your friends and family.”

See also:

Where do insurance company Super Bowl ads rank with viewers

Nationwide defends its position over controversial Super Bowl ad

For your home insurance review, call us at (317) 886-0081 or visit our website: Scott Lynch Agency

Original Article

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Why ERIE’s business insurance, coverage can be customized to fit your exact needs. Our expert, independent agents understand your business and are aware of the specific risks you face and our claims team is always available when your need us.

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Do you know your host liquor liability?

by Erie Insurance on 

As a party host, you probably don’t want to think about your potential liquor liability. But it’s something you’ll want to consider as your party planning gets under way this holiday season.

That’s because most states hold party hosts who offer excessive alcohol to their guests responsible for those guests’ actions behind the wheel. In those states, anyone injured by a drunk driver has the right to sue the host of the party who served the alcohol. Sometimes, criminal charges may even apply.

Recommendations on how to host your holiday party

This doesn’t mean you need to call off your party. Instead, keeping a few things in mind may significantly reduce your exposure to social host liquor liability.

  • Limit guests to people you actually know—and seriously consider cutting from your list anyone who habitually overindulges.
  • Encourage your guests to choose a designated driver before they arrive.
  • Serve plenty of nonalcoholic drinks and food to help counter the effects of the alcohol.
  • Have activities like dancing or games going on that don’t involve alcohol.
  • Stop serving alcohol well before the party ends.
  • Offer to call a cab or be the designated driver for anyone who appears intoxicated.

To limit your exposure to liquor liability even more, consider:

  • Hosting the event at a restaurant or bar that has a liquor license rather than at your home.
  • Hiring a professional bartender. Pros may be better able to recognize the signs of intoxication—and it’s easier to cut off someone you don’t know. This is especially true if a bartender completed the ServSafe® Alcohol program.

As a final precaution, review your homeowners or renters policy. It may offer coverage for damages sought by someone injured by a party guest.

For more information on liability insurance, contact an ERIE Agent in your community.

Looking for a great deal on insurance?

Looking for a great deal on Auto, Home, Business or Life Insurance? Call us at (317) 886-0081 to discuss our options for you. You may also visit our website: Scott Lynch Agency

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Ways to Prevent Porch Pirates from Pilfering Your Packages

by Erie Insurance on 

There’s almost nothing more convenient than online ordering. But when your work hours don’t align with the delivery schedule, it can leave a nice crime of opportunity for package thieves. One study by InsuranceQuotes.com estimates that 23 million Americans have had a package swiped from their doorstep before they could retrieve it. With two-thirds of Americans reporting they shop online at least once a month, the problem is likely to stick around. Here are a few steps to protect your deliveries from so-called “porch pirates.”

Go-go gadget. Various smart gadgets on the market can be helpful devices when it comes to securing packages. A video doorbell could let you view and speak to the delivery person at your door through your mobile device, so you can simply request they leave the package in a less conspicuous spot — or you can activate your smart lock and have them leave it inside your door.

Contact your carrier. Do a little detective work, and you may uncover some options through the delivery service. Many carriers now offer flexible options that let you schedule or reroute deliveries. For example, you could have them dropped off and held at a retailer near you, or deposited in a secure locker. Before you order, check the alternative offerings from the carrier.

Check your credit card policies. Some credit card companies offer protection against package theft to help you recover your losses. For specifics, get in touch with your credit card company to find out if this protection is available and for how much.

Alternative deliveries. Avoid the unwanted situation altogether and send the deliveries where swiping is far less likely. Your workplace, if your employer allows it, is one excellent option. You can also ask neighbors or family members who are home during the day to accept your deliveries and have your packages routed to their place. Just be sure to give them a little something for their trouble.

Finally, read about holiday burglaries.

To review your home insurance, call us at (317) 886-0081 or visit www.lynchagency.com.

 

Top Holiday Pet Safety Tips

by Jennifer Sonntag on 

The holidays are an exciting time of year full of get togethers, gifts and delicious food. While we’re focused on a season full of parties and fun times, a pet might think differently. Extra noise and visitors can leave pets feeling stressed. As we keep holiday and winter tips in mind for people, there are holiday and winter tips for our furry friends, too.

Here’s what to you need to know to keep pets safe this holiday season.

 

Food

We all know there’s an overabundance of food during the holidays. From sweet treats, to delicious meals, it’s easy to give in to the begging eyes of a four-legged companion. However, it’s important to note that just because food and drinks are people-friendly; it’s not the same for pets. Here’s a list of what foods to avoid giving your pet.

Say no to sweets. We’ve all heard that dark chocolate is dangerous for dogs, however, bread dough and cookie batter are just as dangerous. Dough can actually rise in your pet’s stomach, casing bloating and severe pain. Plus, just like their owners, pets can get salmonella poisoning from raw eggs in cookie batter.

Bones and beyond.  It’s tempting to offer your dog a special holiday “bone” right from the turkey your family just enjoyed. However, bones can get stuck in their intestines if they are brittle. On that note, make sure you dispose of bones carefully, just in case a sensitive nose goes sniffing where it shouldn’t.

Skin from a turkey is also a no-no. The skin is full of fatty juices and butter, and can be difficult for your pet to digest. High-fat foods can also lead to pancreatitis.

H2O only. While we know pets shouldn’t consume anything other than water, you may find your pet taking a sip or two from an unattended glass, filled with an adult beverage. While dogs love the smell of beer, the hops in beer are toxic to a dog’s system.

Spice is not so nice. On your pet’s digestive system that is. Sage is a popular seasoning used at Thanksgiving, and while it’s delicious for pet owners, it can cause pets to have upset stomachs or even more serious digestive trouble.

Nutmeg is another culprit that can wreak havoc on your pet. The popular spice used in pumpkin pie can cause seizures and central nervous system problems if your pet digests it. Pumpkin on its own is a safe treat for pets. Just avoid anything that is seasoned with nutmeg.

 

Decorations

From trimming the tree, to stringing the lights and all the holiday ambiance we create in between, decorations definitely pique pets’ curiosity this time of year. Here’s what to keep in mind when you’re setting up and displaying your holiday décor.

Trimming the tree. Cats have been known for seeing a Christmas tree as the ultimate climbing tower. Make sure your tree is securely anchored to avoid a serious fall. If you have a real tree, it’s important to keep pets away from the tree water, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria, not to mention toxic depending upon the tree food  you use. There are several recipes online for creating your own non-toxic tree food to keep your tree lasting throughout the holiday season.

Tinsel gets tangled. Tinsel is especially dangerous for cats. Its shiny appearance is a magnet for inquisitive cats. However, if ingested, the tinsel can wrap around the intestines or get balled up in the stomach causing severe pain and (expensive) surgical removal.

Ornaments are not toys. Holiday ornaments add an element of beauty and tradition to your Christmas tree, however, it’s important to recognize that glass ornaments could cut your pet’s mouth or digestive system if swallowed or damage their paws if stepped on.  Other ornaments to watch for are homemade salt ornaments. While fun to make, salt ornaments can be fatal to a pet because of the high amount of salt at one time.

DeLIGHTful holidays. Lights are everywhere during the holidays—indoors and out. Try to keep electrical cords out of the reach of pets. Inquiring minds could confuse lights as a new chew toy and end up with a shocking surprise.

Adding spark to the holidays. Make sure your pets steer clear, or better yet, can’t reach any candles this holiday season. While candles are an integral part of holiday celebrations and traditions, our pets aren’t as careful as we are. Make sure candles are out of reach of paws (and tails), or better yet, choose a flameless battery option that you can “light” without worry.

 

 

Holiday Plants

Holiday plants are often purchased or given to enhance a home’s décor during this festive time of year. Here are three popular holiday plants that can be dangerous  to pets.

Forgetta the poinsettia? Actually, this popular Christmas plant isn’t as dangerous for pets as people think, but it can make pets sick.  According to the Pet Poison Helpline, poinsettias have milky white sap that when ingested can cause skin irritation and mild vomiting and drooling. There is a low level of toxicity, if a poinsettia is ingested.

Holly doesn’t equal jolly. Your pet will be feeling anything but jolly, if a holly berry or leaf is ingested. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea could occur almost immediately after your furry friend takes a bite.

Skip the kiss. If you find you and your pet under the mistletoe…run. Mistletoe, while fun to have around, is very dangerous for pets. If ingested, mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems.

Your best bet? Purchase silk or plastic versions of these popular holiday plants to avoid any unwanted trips to the pet ER.

 

 

Seasonal Fun

It’s great to include your pets in family celebrations, holiday parties and holiday road trips. There are special considerations to keep in mind when your pets are involved with your holiday traditions.

Ringing in the New Year. Whether you’re ringing in the New Year with a small group of family or friends, or having a mini Times Square celebration in your house, make sure you think of your pet. Noise makers can scare pets or even cause damage to their sensitive ears, while confetti can get stuck in your cat’s intestines if ingested. An increased number of party-goers can also cause added stress to your pet. It might be a good idea to make sure your pet is in a secure and comfortable place before the clock strikes midnight.

Traveling with pets. From packing their “belongings,” to preparing for travel in a car or plane, pets have their own checklists for travel. Here’s what you need to keep in mind before you travel with your pet this holiday season.

Keeping pets warm. As the temperatures drop, it’s important to think of our four-legged friends. From dressing smaller dogs in sweaters or coats (gift idea perhaps?) to keep them warm, or booties to protect paws of all sizes, there are many “clothing” items and options available to keep our pets warm this winter. If your pet has to be outside during the day, make sure their enclosure is protected from the wind. Finally, keep your pet’s age in mind. Just as humans are more sensitive to the elements as we grow older, so are our pets.

If you’ve read through this post, you know we love our pets! They have special places in our hearts during the holidays and throughout the year. Enjoy this holiday season with your pets (and family).

Make sure everything in your home is covered this holiday season and beyond. Check out the ERIE Difference and see what we’re all about.