Posts Tagged ‘umbrella policy’
In the midst of the festive and hectic holiday atmosphere, it is easy to forget the serious responsibility involved with hosting a party at your home or business. In many states, individuals and employers hosting holiday parties can be held liable in cases where a guest or third party is injured in an accident related to alcohol consumption at your event. Hosts have been held responsible for medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost time from work, and even wrongful death.
Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents such as The Turner Agency recommend that those planning to host holiday parties this year review their homeowners, renter’s or comprehensive general liability (CGL) insurance policy and ensure they have adequate liability coverage if sued and found liable for the actions of a guest who drank at their home or business. While all holiday partygoers and hosts alike should be responsible and know their limits, consumers need to acknowledge that most risks cannot be eliminated entirely. But planning ahead and learning about what’s involved in hosting a reception is the best defense.
Liability Coverage Tips:
• If hosting a holiday party, individuals should look to the liability portion of their homeowners or renters insurance policy to provide them protection if they are sued and found liable for an accident involving a guest who drank at their home.
• Employers need to make sure that their comprehensive general liability (CGL) policy provides them coverage for third-party liquor liability policy before hosting that holiday office party.
• Charging employees for alcoholic beverages in the home or office may not always be the best solution for business parties. It is important for businesses to remember that once they charge a fee for alcohol, they have technically entered the alcohol sales business, even if only for one night. That carries with it requirements for a liquor license and an array of special liability protection needs. It by no means lets these employers off the hook.”
• Purchasing a personal umbrella liability policy—that can provide $1 million or more in additional coverage over the limit offered by a standard homeowners or renters policy—may be a prudent move for the frequent party host. This type of coverage can cost as little as $125 a year.
Party Host Safety Tips:
• Limit guest list to those you know.
• Provide filling food for guests and alternative non-alcoholic beverages.
• Schedule activities or entertainment not involving alcohol. If the party centers around drinking, it is likely that guests will drink more.
• Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who should not drive home.
• Stop serving alcohol well before the time the party is to end.
• Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated.
• Review your insurance policy with us or your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent before the event to ensure proper liability coverage.
• Consider hiring an off-duty police officer to discretely monitor guests’ sobriety or handle any alcohol-related problems as guests leave.
• Stay alert yourself, always remembering your responsibilities as a host.
by Ross Turner
Every day, we are exposed to risk. Our daily activities result in lawsuit exposures, and unfortunately you no longer have to be a millionaire to be sued like one.
Umbrella liability insurance “sits over” your primary insurance, providing you a higher level of coverage above your automobile, homeowner’s, boat, and recreational vehicle policies. Umbrella policies can give you higher limits, broader coverage, and worldwide liability coverage.
Your family and your daily activities result in lawsuit exposures every day, and unfortunately the frequency and cost of lawsuits have increased dramatically over the last ten years. Some reasons to consider the purchase of an umbrella policy include:
You serve on a board of directors or participate in volunteer activities
You have teenaged drivers or drive a carpool You own rental property or vacation property
You have jet-skis, a golf cart, or other recreational vehicles
You have a swimming pool in your backyard
You are financially responsible for your children
You have a small business in your home and see clients on occasion
Consider these real-life examples where lawsuits were filed and judgments awarded:
- A talented softball player filed a $700,000 lawsuit against her former coach, alleging the coach’s “incorrect teaching style” ruined her chances for an athletic scholarship.
- A student hated math class and her teacher. She made negative comments about the teacher online. The teacher found out, sued the parents, and was awarded $750,000.
- A homeowner was burning a candle in her bathroom. As her niece washed her hands, her sleeve passed over the candle and ignited. She suffered third degree burns. The homeowner was held liable and had to pay out $917,000.
A one car accident occurred when a 17 year old driver ran off the road with three friends in the car. Damages awarded were over $ 1,500,000.
Think about the value of your assets. If your home, automobiles, investments, and potential future earnings are worth $400,000 and your automobile liability insurance limit is only $250,000, then you are left with $150,000 of uninsured assets.
Contact our Personal Lines department to see how easy it is put an umbrella policy in place. One million dollars of liability coverage is much more affordable than you think, and it small price to pay for peace of mind.
623 Halton Road
Greenville, SC 29607
Summer is truly party time in America. The Turner Agency would like to remind homeowners of the risks associated with get-togethers and offer some safety tips. Here are three common risks for which a homeowner might need insurance coverage:
Liquor liability: Summer parties can be a breeding ground for drinking-and-driving accidents. Most homeowners know that they bear some responsibility if a guest becomes impaired after consumer alcoholic drinks at the homeowner’s house, and then causes a car accident. If the party-giver is sued, however, his/her homeowners and automobile insurance policies may not provide liability coverage. (Keep in mind that the legal defense against a claim is another significant expense for anyone who is sued in such a circumstance.)
Changes to homeowners insurance standard contracts in 2000 may limit the coverage available under a homeowners policy. Homeowners might be well served to check their homeowners and auto insurance policies (contacting their agent, if necessary) to determine what protection they may have.
Personal accidents on the homeowner’s property: A homeowners policy and an excess liability policy (umbrella policy) provide broad protection for accidents on the party host’s property. For instance, if a guest tumbles down the steps of an outdoor deck or a child is burned by the outdoor grill, the homeowners policy would pay medical costs for the guest (and, should a lawsuit follow, likely would pay the costs of defending against the lawsuit and damages awarded in the case.)
No one, of course, wants to see such events occur, but accidents do happen. Homeowners coverage is designed to “make whole” a homeowner who is facing a liability claim due to an accident on his or her property.
Property damage liability: When guests drive to your party and park their cars at your home, the homeowner assumes risk. The possibilities of property damage range from a simple dent from a stray baseball, to a young driver releasing the parking brake and rolling the car into a tree, to an impaired driver going for a joy ride and damaging the car. A different example of property damage is the theft of a guest’s purse/wallet or valuable articles from the party-giver’s property.
Homeowners coverage pays for damage to another person’s property, if the homeowner is held liable. A homeowner’s negligence and omissions (i.e., failing to take steps that might have prevented an incident) are reasons that he or she can be found liable for damage to another person’s property.
To prevent accidents, consider some sensible safety precautions:
Some 5,000 people are injured by charcoal, wood-burning and propane grill fires each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration of the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Good safety practices include:
- Before using a propane gas grill, check the connection between the tank and the fuel line. Make sure the Venturi tubes (where the air and gas mix) are not blocked, and check hoses for cracks or damage.
- Never use a propane barbecue grill on a balcony, terrace or roof. And never grill/barbecue in enclosed areas, as deadly carbon monoxide can be produced.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or a source of water (a garden hose or four-gallon pail of water) near an outdoor grill or barbecue.
- While barbecuing, don’t wear loose clothing. Use long-handled barbecue tools and/or mitts that are flame resistant.
- Don’t squirt flammable liquids onto an open flame.
- Don’t leave a grill unattended.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children. Supervise children around outdoor grills, which are objects of curiosity.
- If using a charcoal or wood fire, dispose of hot coals properly by soaking them with water, then stirring to ensure that fire is extinguished. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
- Keep alcoholic beverages away from the grill since they are flammable.
Liquids containing alcohol cause the human body to lose more fluid, say health educators. So summertime drinking in the sun or heat can present hazards to health, including impaired judgment, balance and coordination. Consider these safety tips if serving:
- Use designated drivers.
- Make non-alcoholic beverages as available as alcoholic drinks.
- Stop serving alcohol before the party ends.
- If children are attending the event, remember that alcohol may seem more available to them at a party.
Food-borne illnesses favor the hot conditions found at outdoor events where food is not refrigerated or may be undercooked. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers food safety tips:
- Cook foods thoroughly to safe minimum internal temperatures.
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Hot foods should be heated and maintained at 140 °F or warmer with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Cold foods should be held at 40 °F or colder. Maintain cold by placing food dishes in bowls of ice or in a cooler.
- Live by the “two-hour rule”: Foods should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours.
We enjoy a summer party as much as anyone, especially when they’re safe. For more information about what homeowners and umbrella coverage, contact us.