Hosting a Super Party? Check Your Coverage [POLL/AUDIO]
“First and foremost, make sure your stairs, walkways and driveway are clear of ice and snow and properly salted,” said Anita DaSilva, a State Farm agent based in River Edge. “Falls can be a big issue when you have people coming on your property. If they did fall and get injured, they could sue you.”
“If you’re having alcohol, you are technically responsible if something happens to that person when they leave your home,” DaSilva said. “If you have a pet, you should keep it away from the party. If people get animated and your dog mistakes that for an act of aggression, you could wind up with a dog bite.”
Homeowners insurance has a limit, and whatever that liability limit is, is what your policy pays. If something happens and the damage or the lawsuit is beyond that limit, then you are responsible.
“The standard policy comes with $100,000; if someone sues you for $250,000, you are responsible for the difference,” DaSilva said. “We never think about these things until something happens. It’s very important to understand what liability you have, what your options are, and how to make sure you’re protected in the event something happens.”
For those who are sharing their vehicle as a shuttle service during game activities, it is important to understand that if someone borrows your car, they borrow your insurance. The insurance follows the car and not the driver, and that is a big misconception that people may have.
“If you are putting people in your car to take them somewhere, and there is an accident and they are injured, you can be held responsible,” said DaSilva, who also points out that New Jersey offers automatic medical coverage — but if the victim isn’t from the Garden State, your liability on the car must pay that bill.
“The state minimum is $15,000, so if you’ve exhausted that, then you can be personally liable for anything above that amount,” DaSilva said.
The best advice, according to DaSilva, is to not loan your car out in the first place. It is always a good idea to run what you’re doing by your insurance agent, to make sure they believe you have adequate coverage. You should also fully understand the limits on your policy.