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Reduce your holiday hosting risk

people celebrating with hands in air and confetti flying

If you are hosting a holiday gathering this season, make sure you can party with peace of mind by addressing any potential liability issues upfront. The following are five good tips to reduce your liability exposure...

1. Cover the basics 
If you are using a third-party vendor or venue to host your event, there may be some exposure to risk. To minimize risk, verify that the vendor is licensed, bonded and insured. This includes going the extra step to inquire about the specifics of their insurance coverage and whether they have adequate coverage. You may also want to check references and find out how the vendor responds in a potential crisis.

2. Get contracts signed 
Always obtain a signed contract from any vendor you use. Ensure the contract clearly states the time and date services will be rendered. Most importantly, verify that the contract includes a hold harmless clause. In the event of a vendor-related accident or injury, this clause certifies that as a host, you are not responsible for related damages.

3. Serve alcoholic beverages with caution
If you hire a bartender, let them pour all drinks to ensure your personal liability coverages remain in place. You should only hire a bartending or catering service that insures its employees against liquor-related liabilities. It’s also in your best interest to ensure bartenders card everyone to negate personal liability coverage.

4. Put a parking plan in place 
If it’s in your budget, hire a valet service or parking attendant service to minimize collisions on your property, prevent blocking of nearby roads, and allow for organized and safe entries and departures. Just be sure to provide specific instructions and consult with your valet to create a parking plan. Confirm that your plan complies with local zoning ordinances and whether you need to obtain special permits to avoid various fines and fees.

5. Clear the path to your home 
Make sure you have a clear and accessible path from your driveway to the entrance of your home to minimize liability risks by preventing slips, trips and falls. Be sure to:

  • Clear walkways and stairs of any ice or snow.

  • Remove planters, yard items and bikes. While these might be highly visible in the day, they can be hard to see at night.

  • Add additional light, either via outdoor lamps or by switching on all exterior porch lights.

Use the tips above to minimize risk when hosting a holiday gathering—whether at home or the office. By doing so, you’ll reduce any expensive liability risks while also allowing you to breathe easy and enjoy your own party.

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