28.5 MILLION PARTY HOSTS LIKELY UNDERINSURED
New Trusted Choice®Survey Finds Hosts Grossly Unprepared for their Liability
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 11, 2006—Most of the 28.5 million Americans who plan to host a party between Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl are underinsured, according to a new study by Trusted Choice®.
Of those 28.5 million party hosts, 21.3 million do not have a personal umbrella insurance policy, leaving themselves open to potential lawsuits and facing financial ruin, should the worst occur. The remaining 7.2 million hosts say they don’t know what coverage they have, leaving them vulnerable too.
If a party guest drinks, drives and causes an accident, the hosts can be held responsible in more than 30 states. In fact, a majority (53%) of party hosts believe they should be held responsible, but despite this, most haven’t taken steps to protect themselves.
A personal umbrella insurance policy goes above and beyond homeowners insurance and gives hosts extra liability coverage. Purchasing a personal umbrella policy, providing $1 million or more in additional liability coverage over the limit of a standard homeowners’ or renters’ policy, is a prudent move for the frequent party host, and can cost as little as $150 a year.
“A majority of people (56%) planning to host parties do not have a personal umbrella policy,” says Madelyn Flannagan, Trusted Choice®. “People don’t buy umbrella policies because they think they have enough coverage from their homeowner and auto policies—but they don’t. The high dollar value of jury awards coupled with skyrocketing health care costs means one lawsuit can easily exceed the liability limits on the average policy.
“Protecting yourself and your family by having the proper coverage is critical,” continues Flannagan. “While you’ll never be able to entirely eliminate risks, planning ahead and learning your responsibilities as a host is the best defense. There are several ways to protect yourself and reduce risk while hosting a party.”
For example, 84% of those surveyed say they would stop serving party guests if they’d had too much to drink. However, only 35% of these respondents had ever actually done so.
“Asking guests to stop drinking at your holiday party can be very awkward,” says Flannagan. “However protecting your family and your guests is more important than an uncomfortable exchange at the neighborhood party. If you host a party and your over-served guest drives away and gets in an accident, you can be held responsible.”
How to prevent holiday party accidents and protect yourself or your business:
· Meet with your Trusted Choice® agent before hosting a party to familiarize yourself with your state’s host liability laws, and to make sure you’re properly insured.
· Limit your guest list to those you know.
· Host your party at a restaurant or bar that has a liquor license, rather than in a home or office.
· Provide filling food for guests and alternative non-alcoholic beverages.
· Schedule entertainment or activities that do not involve alcohol.
· Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who should not drive.
· Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party is scheduled to end.
· Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated.
· Consider hiring an off-duty police officer to discreetly monitor guests’ sobriety or handle any alcohol-related problems as guests leave.
· Stay alert, always remembering your responsibilities as a host.
· Review your insurance policy with your agent before the event to ensure that you have the proper liability coverage.
For a copy of social host liability laws and complete survey results, please contact Emily Crane (print) at 800-221-7917; firstname.lastname@example.org or Sue Nester (broadcast) at 800-221-7917; email@example.com.
About Trusted Choice®: Trusted Choice® agencies are insurance and financial services firms. They represent multiple insurance companies, offering individuals and business owners a variety of coverage choices, customized insurance plans to meet specialized needs as well as advocacy support. These firms adhere to a pledge of performance, committing them to providing excellent customer service. Go to www.TrustedChoice.com and click on “Find a Trusted Choice® Agent” on the homepage to locate the right agency for your needs.
The omnibus survey was conducted for Trusted Choice® via telephone by TRC, an independent research company in Fort Washington, PA . Interviews were conducted during November, 2006 among a nationally representative sample of 1,009 adults (defined as 18 years of age and older). The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Among only those who are planning a social gathering, the margin of error is +/-6.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. More information about TRC can be obtained at www.trchome.com.