You're the host, you're in charge and you're liable

When you are budgeting for your party this season, look beyond the price of the food and drink. What are the hidden costs of entertaining at your home? Do you have your bases covered in the event something went terribly wrong?

The first must-have on every party host's list should be to own an adequate property insurance policy. Liability coverage is included in any home, tenant or condo insurance package. This coverage protects you financially if someone sues you because they were harmed while at your home.

While property insurance is important, no matter how much coverage you have, no one wants to have to make an insurance claim. Avoid potential accidents and consider the following simple precautions when planning your next party.

Host the party and a designated driver system
Probably the most publicized responsibility of any party host these days is to try to keep people from drinking and driving at the end of the night.

Many of us remember the infamous case in Ontario where a woman sued her employer after driving away drunk from a company function. As the host of a party, you should be very conscious that all guests have a safe way home at the end of the night. Either that, or provide accommodations until the next morning.

Avoid slip-ups
People often wear their party shoes in the winter when they are going quickly from the car to a host's front door. Remember next time you watch your guests slide up your driveway that you are responsible if they fell and became injured while on your property - no matter what slippery shoes they were wearing!

Make sure all areas leading up to your home are shoveled and property salted. Do the same for your back door, balcony or deck. You never know when people will want to step out for some fresh air or to have a smoke. Also, check lose rugs either by the door or throughout the house to make sure they are secure and will not cause anyone to trip.

Tuck the "romance" away
Candles add to the festive atmosphere at most parties, but can be dangerous if not placed strategically away from the activity and away from other flammables. Careless party-goers carrying drinks, talking with their hands or backing away from the crowd can easily knock over candles causing a fire in your home - or worse, injuring one of your guests.

It's best not to use oil lamps in party situations. They are more likely to cause injury if the flammable oil is spilled or transferred to a guest's clothing. Try to keep the use of all open flames to a minimum, or better yet, use Christmas lights to set the mood instead.

Have fun!
Go ahead. Plan your party. Use some common sense, but most of all, enjoy yourself. Having the right property insurance coverage can make for worry-free entertaining - although it won't help you if you run out of food!

From all of us here at Kanetix, we wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season.

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