With Christmas and New Year’s fast approaching, we are in the season of celebrations with family, friends, and loved ones. Insurance is often the last thing on people’s minds during this busy season. However, your insurance coverage could make all of the difference between a Merry and a Miserable holiday season.
Shopping poses many risks. Most of us know we should always lock the doors on our vehicles and keep packages out of sight preferably locked in the trunk. However, we often forget about other area we may be vulnerable. Do you pay for your purchases with cash? What happens if someone steals your purse or wallet? Would you be covered? Most homeowners policies have a small cash limit and would cover the theft of money; however the loss is still subject to the deductible. So if you have a loss of $300, you’re your deductible is $1,000 deductible, you are out of luck!
So to get around the cash issue you decide to use a credit card or debit card. Those are safer right? Remember all of the major retailers whose computer systems were hacked compromising the credit card information for thousands of customers? Internet sales, which are up this year, also mean more people are using debit/credit cards online, putting them at risk for theft. Identity theft is a HUGE problem. Most insurance companies offer an identity fraud protection endorsement, which will help pay some of the cost associated with restoring your identity. The premiums vary based on coverage limits, but are very affordable.
Hosting a Christmas or New Year’s party? This is where it gets super tricky!
Where will the party be held? Hosting a party at your residence may seem more affordable. After all venues can be expensive, especially during “peak” seasons. However, venues typically will carry higher liability limits than the average homeowner, and the venue would be leasable first in the event of a claim. This being said, ALWAYS obtain a certificate of liability from the venue, and contacts your trusted Citizens Insurance Agency (a Trusted Choice Agency) with questions!
Will you have a caterer or are you going to channel your inner Food Network Star? If you hire a caterer make sure they are properly insured. Again, obtain a certificate of insurance from anyone you will be hiring. If you will be preparing the food, check your homeowner’s policy! Did you realize that if someone gets food poising from the food you provide (even if you didn’t prepare the food) you could be liable? Review food safety guidelines. Also, always check to make sure guests do not have food allergies to avoid a serious medical emergency.
Alcohol is the biggie when it comes to parties. Host liability is NO JOKING MATTER! If you are hosting an event where alcohol will be served, check your liability limits. If a guest of your party causes an alcohol related accident, you could be liable for medical expenses, costs for missed work, vehicle/ property damage, and huge monetary settlements related to death. To limit the risk, make sure you have adequate liability limits, and consider purchasing an umbrella policy. Umbrella policies offer high liability limits for very low premiums, and will cover you after the limits on your homeowner’s policy are exhausted. Having a caterer or bartending service serve the alcohol can also help limit your risk, as they will have a license and insurance to serve liquor (obtain a certificate of insurance!). Limit the type of alcohol, number of drinks served to guests, offer plenty of non- alcoholic drinks, and NEVER serve a guest who is visibly intoxicated. Consider hiring an off-duty police officer to monitor the party and handle any alcohol related issues with guests. Be a good host/hostess, have designated drivers, and be prepared to call cabs, or offer alternative transportation for guests.
Don’t let the Grinch steal your Christmas! Be prepared, be aware of your coverages, and call Citizens Insurance Agency with any questions about your coverage.