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Super Bowl Party Fouls: How Home Insurance Defends Your Turf

Jan. 31, 2017
Homeowners Insurance, Insurance
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Hosting a Super Bowl bash can feel like trying to dodge a blitz. With lots of guests, alcohol and charged emotions, disaster can strike from any direction. Here’s how homeowners insurance can keep your wallet from taking a hit.

Intercepted belongings

Even small parties could include a few friends of a friend whom you don’t know. If you discover come super-cleanup Monday that your prized autographed football is gone, home insurance can help. Personal property coverage pays to replace stolen items, up to your policy’s limit.

Extra point: “Take a personal contents inventory,” says State Farm agent Greg Sherlock. Even going room to room and photographing belongings with your phone will help you provide claim details if something’s stolen, he says.

» MORE: 9 kinds of damage home insurance won’t cover

The action heats up … at the same time as the grill

Super Bowl Sunday is a big cooking day — and not only in the kitchen. More than 1 in 4 grill owners brave the weather to fire up grub for the game, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.

Unfortunately, Sherlock says, the festive atmosphere makes cooking fires one of the more common party accidents. If your house is damaged by fire or even destroyed, you can file a claim through your home insurance’s dwelling coverage for repairs or reconstruction.

Extra point: Ask your insurer to help determine your home’s current rebuilding cost, Sherlock says. If it exceeds the dwelling insurance, increase limits on that coverage.

» MORE: Understanding homeowners insurance

Guests on the injured list

It’s your job to keep your property and party safe, Sherlock says. You could be financially responsible if that big-screen TV topples onto someone’s foot or your appetizers trigger food poisoning.

A standard home insurance policy includes medical payments coverage for injuries to visitors. It also includes liability coverage, which kicks in if you’re sued for injuries, Sherlock says.

Extra point: It’s wise to check your medical payments insurance limit. A standard home policy provides about $1,000 in medical coverage per person, which might not be enough to pay for treatment of a guest’s injury.

» MORE: 5 football tailgating blunders insurance will pay for

Ineligible partygoer behind the wheel

Alcohol plays a part in many fans’ festivities. In 2016, BACtrack examined over 5,000 tests by users of its smartphone-enabled Breathalyzer. The average blood-alcohol content measured during that Super Bowl was 50% higher than on other nonholiday Sundays.

If your guests leave sloshed, you could be on the hook for what happens on the road, depending on the laws in your state. Liability insurance with your homeowners policy might help pay for damage or injuries in these cases. But it’s not a sure thing, Sherlock says, since coverage depends on the incident and your policy.

If your home insurance policy includes liquor liability coverage, limits are often capped at $100,000 to $300,000, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Extra point: Taking steps to prevent drunken driving is the surest way to avoid a lawsuit, so invite designated drivers. In some states, hosts could face criminal charges, not just civil penalties, if a drunken guest causes injuries or damage while driving.

Alex Glenn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected].

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published in USA Today.