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