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Hosting a Super Bowl party? Know the X's and O's of your homeowners' policy

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We are now less than a week away from the day of the year that legions of sports fans greet with equal parts excitement and sadness, Super Bowl Sunday. Here, the excitement comes from watching the two teams left standing -- the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons -- battle for the coveted title of world champion, while the sadness comes from the fact that professional football will once again disappear from television screens for six months after the final whistle blows.

Regardless of whether you're this type of football fanatic, a causal viewer or someone who just enjoys the commercials, chances are good that you'll be attending or even hosting some type of party this coming weekend. Interestingly enough, if you fall into this latter category, experts are suggesting that you make sure you're current on your homeowners' premiums before game day in order to prevent your savings from being potentially sacked.

That's because whether you realize it or not, any of the following four issues can materialize on game day:

First down: Alcohol

One of the unfortunate realities about Super Bowl Sunday is that it's a day when many people make the unwise decision to get behind the wheel after consuming far too much alcohol, eager to make it home to bed or on to the next party.

Lest you think this danger is overblown, consider that the company BACtrack carefully examined the results of over 5,000 tests taken by users of its smartphone-capable alcohol breath test last year. It found that the average blood alcohol content reading on Super Bowl Sunday was 50 percent higher than other non-holiday Sundays.

What this means for you, the homeowner, is that if a drunken party guest proceeds to cause a serious car accident, the law in your state may hold you at least partially liable. This is where the liability insurance on your homeowners' policy could be invaluable.

However, experts indicate that homeowners should keep three factors in mind:

  • Just because you have a homeowners' policy, it doesn't mean it includes coverage for these types of accident-related injuries or damages
  • Just because you have a homeowners' policy and it does technically cover these types of accident-related injuries or damages, it doesn't mean that the accident in question will fall under its terms
  • Just because you have a homeowners' policy and it does technically cover these types of accident-related injuries or damages, it doesn't mean that the policy limits will be enough to cover your potential legal exposure

Given this reality, experts indicate that those hosting parties might want to avoid serving alcohol altogether, limit its availability, or take steps to ensure people don't drink and drive.

We'll continue discussing the remaining three downs in our next post ...

Source: USA Today, "Super Bowl party fouls: How home insurance defends your turf," Alex Glenn, January 29, 2016

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