Holiday Party Hullabaloos: Are You Prepared?

Hosting a holiday party in VirginiaThe invitations have been sent, the hors d'oeuvres ordered, the house decorated, and the liquor cabinet replenished. You're ready to host a fabulous holiday party! Before you open the front door to a flurry of friends and family, however, make sure that you have the necessary insurance in place.

Insurance?

That's right. Just thinking about it may seem like a great big party pooper, but having the right homeowners' insurance coverage will protect you from an assortment of not-so-far-fetched holiday party mishaps. In addition, there are simple steps you can take to make sure your holiday party is one that will go down in history-for all the right reasons.

Serve Alcohol Sensibly:

Alcohol is typically the go-to social lubricant at parties. We even serve special drinks (eggnog, anyone?) exclusively during the holidays. As a party host, however, you may be declared responsible for injuries or accidents suffered or caused by guests who drink alcohol at your house. Keep this in mind when you're tending bar, and keep a close eye on your guests. Stop serving guests who have imbibed too much alcohol, and prevent those who have had too much to drink from driving home. Never serve alcohol to any minors, and put an immediate stop to illegal drinking in your home. (Keep an eye out for the neighbors' teenage son sneaking sips of peppermint schnapps behind the Christmas tree.) Have a homeowners' insurance policy in place that will protect you in the event that someone gets hurt on your property due to overconsumption of alcohol. That way, when your Uncle Charlie pulls a groin muscle while enthusiastically showing off his dance moves after one too many whiskeys, you won't have to pay out of pocket for his medical expenses.

Create a Safe Environment:

Before you host a party, check out your property to make sure your guests will be safe. Fix any potentially dangerous structural problems before the party takes place, and get rid of problematic features-a puddle or a patch of ice on the front walkway, for example. During the event, make sure to light up any dark nooks and crannies both inside and outside of your home to prevent guests from slipping. Guard the swimming pool carefully; either lock up the fence around it, or, if it is in use, make sure an adult supervisor is present to look after any children who may be swimming. If you have an outdoor fire pit, make sure to keep a hose nearby to extinguish any wayward flames. If your dog likes to bite strangers, consider keeping him away from the party. Once again, a good homeowners' insurance policy will protect you in the event that any guests are hurt on your property.

Be a Good Neighbor:

Be considerate of the neighbors who aren't attending your party. Ask your guests not to block their driveways with their cars or, worse, park on their lawns; a disgruntled neighbor can always ask you to pay the towing company's bill or to cover the cost of any damage to his landscaping. Keep your music at a reasonable volume, and try to quiet down any screamers. If your community has a "quiet hour," make sure to observe it and avoid a visit from the cops.

Keeping all of this in mind will not only save you from added stress, but also ensure your holiday shindig is a true success.

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