Personal foul: careless Super Bowl parties pose severe liability penalties

If you’re thinking about hosting a Super Bowl party this Sunday, be sure to add safety and common sense to your playbook. As hosts of a party, homeowners and renters could be liable for the safety of their guests – even after they leave your home.

Super Bowl Sunday is considered one of the worst days to drive because of impaired motorists driving home from parties. In fact, 51 percent of all traffic deaths during the 2004 Super Bowl weekend were a result of impaired drivers with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of .08 percent and higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Alcohol also was a factor in 39 percent of all crash fatalities in 2005.

“The Super Bowl is a great time to get together with friends,” said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. “It’s important to make sure they’re safe while on your property and that they get back to their homes safely after the party is over.”

In addition to drunk driving, negligence that leads to injuries on your property also can cost homeowners and renters. That’s why it’s important to have adequate Liability Coverage in your Homeowners or Renters Insurance policy.

Liability Insurance protects you from losses resulting from bodily injury or property damage that you or your family members cause to others.

NW Insurance Council encourages property owners and renters to evaluate their liability insurance needs at least once a year. Most insurance companies offer a minimum of $100,000 in Liability Coverage and as high as $500,000 per incident. Most also offer an optional Umbrella Liability Policy, which provides additional liability coverage ranging from $1 Million to $5 Million.

NW Insurance Council and the Insurance Information Institute offer the following tips to help you avoid being sacked for a liability loss during your Super Bowl party:

• When entertaining guests, be responsible yourself. Limit your own alcohol intake so you can determine if a guest is able to drive at the end of the night and can convince them to not get behind the wheel of a car.

• Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages so that he or she can drive other guests home.

• Provide plenty of tempting non-alcoholic beverages and food for guests.

• Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty. And never serve guests who are visibly intoxicated.

• Stop serving liquor at least one hour before the party is over and switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.

• If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab or arrange a ride with a sober guest.

For more information about your insurance, contact NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942 and ask for a free copy of Your Guide to Insurance or visit

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

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