By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Superbowl is an American tradition, with millions of football fans hosting game day parties. But did you know that the chicken wings you serve could hold just as many risks as the beer?
Every year Jim Angleton hosts a Superbowl party, but a couple of years ago a guest got into a post-game fender bender.
“They actually had some medications and they had a little bit of too much to drink,” said Angelton.
Now, before kickoff, he has a game plan in place, which includes a call to his insurance agent.
“We obtain a general liability insurance policy that covers our family, friends, guests that would come to our house,” said Angelton.
It’s important for party hosts to understand the risks that go along with hosting a Superbowl party.
If there’s a fumble with food or alcohol, you could end up in serious legal trouble.
“Nobody thinks they are going to be sued, and people get sued. So party hosts have to be cognizant that even friends can file lawsuits,” said Bob Rusbuldt with the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association of America; leaving you responsible for things like lawyer’s fees, lost wages, medical bills, even wrongful death claims.
Take food poisoning. It affects one in six Americans each year, and can easily land partygoers in the emergency room.
“Even if the food is served by a caterer, by a pizza delivery shop, by a restaurant, you are responsible for what you serve in your house,” said Rusbuldt.
That goes for drinks, too.
The American Bar Association says if there’s an alcohol related accident, party hosts can be held liable in most states.
“The argument they will make is that the social host knew, or should have known, of the level of intoxication of their guest when they left,” said Dick Semerdjian with the American Bar Association.
To protect your assets, look to the liability portion of your homeowners or renter’s insurance, and talk to your agent about any exclusions.
It’s because Jim plays by these rules that he can relax and enjoy the big game.
“We sleep better at night, and we actually have a good feeling that we’ve done everything that we possibly can to mitigate liability,” said Angelton.
When planning a Superbowl party the experts say stick with brands or restaurants you trust. Store and handle game day food properly and consider limiting the amount of alcohol you serve.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.