On Super Bowl Sunday, everything is big. Except for Thanksgiving, Americans consume more food on this day than on any other. The game usually ranks as the most watched television event of the year in the U.S. And with 90% of viewers at their home or someone else’s, that means there are lots of Super Bowl parties – and lots of risk for homeowners.
If you’re planning to serve alcohol at your Super Bowl party, you aren’t alone. More than 51 million cases of beer are drunk during the game. But many people don’t know most states have liability laws that hold alcohol-serving hosts accountable for their guests’ actions.
In many situations, a host is not liable for injuries sustained by a drunken guest. But as the person who served alcohol you could be liable for injuries to third parties in situations such as drunken driving accidents.
So no matter the size of your Super Bowl party, here are a few steps to limit your risk of liability:
- Limit your guest list: The better you know your guests, the easier it will be to identify who’s had too much to drink. It’s also much easier to ask friends to cut out bad behavior or sleep on a couch than an acquaintance or stranger.
- Discourage driving: Make sure your guests have a safe option to get home. Between assigning a designated driver, taking public transportation, or using a ride-share app such as Lyft, there are plenty of options to avoid driving after drinking. If you see a guest who is visibly intoxicated, it’s in your best interest to help them find a way home or let him or her spend the night.
- Offer food and non-alcoholic options: Drinking on an empty stomach is an easy way to magnify the effects of alcohol. The average fan consumes about 1,100 snack food calories during the game, so don’t feel guilty about serving lots of fatty food. Additionally, be sure to have non-alcoholic drinks on hand to keep everyone hydrated.
- Stop serving alcohol before the end of the game: Your guests may appear sober, but that last drink ‘for the road’ could be what puts them into a dangerous situation. As the game winds down, be sure to offer water, coffee, soft drinks, and other non-alcoholic beverages.
- Don’t allow drinking games: Some fans enjoy having a drink for touchdowns; that can quickly escalate to drinks for every first down.
Even if you’re hosting a small party with only trusted friends, it’s worth examining your home insurance policy to understand the conditions and limitations of coverage. A typical homeowners insurance policy provides some liquor liability coverage, but the standard coverage limit can be as low as $100,000. In a major claim, this may be insufficient. If you regularly host parties, you might want to increase your coverage.
If you’re done reviewing your coverage and preparing for unexpected risks, you can grab a snack, kick back, and enjoy the big game.
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