3 Holiday Hosting Tips To Keep You And Your Guests Safe

Although the omicron variant is increasing numbers across Ontario, holiday festivities are expected to be back in full swing for many families this year, with about 66% of Canadian consumers planning to spend the 2021 holiday season normally, according to a recent Numerator survey.

From walkway slip-and-falls to online shopping scams, there are a number of risks hosts and guests should keep in mind during the holiday season. And while insurance may not be at the top of anyone’s wish list, it should not be overlooked.

There is an increased risk for accidents pertaining to property damage or liability when hosting holiday parties. Your guests are in your care, and as property owners, we need to ensure we create a safe space to gather and be mindful about food, beverages, and entertainment that we provide guests.

With that in mind, consider these tips to help hosts and guests enjoy the season with as little risk as possible.

1. Take steps to prevent household fires

Whether you're roasting a turkey in the oven or deep-frying a delicious ham in a backyard fryer, accidents related to meal preparation and serving pose significant threats. These accidents can also come at a serious expense to homeowners.  In Canada, cooking mishaps are the cause of 30% of residential fires, according to the National Fire Information Database.

Following basic safety guidelines from the manufacturer can help you avoid most fires, especially when using a deep fryer or showcasing your elaborate front lawn Christmas display. Other important steps include checking fire extinguishers and fire alarm systems to ensure they are functioning properly, and keeping small children and pets away from ovens and other household appliances when in use.

Other potential fire hazards include unattended candles, dry Christmas trees and electrical malfunctions. Homeowners should also be careful about decorating with flammable materials, such as pine.

If an accidental fire occurs, a Homeowners Insurance policy can cover the cost of property damage and most third-party injury claims. As always, it’s important to call your insurance broker and ask about your current policy and whether it needs to be updated or changed with your situation.

2. Be mindful when serving alcohol

Holiday gatherings often involve alcohol. In fact, those who do not usually consume alcohol may make an exception at holiday gatherings. In one ProdegeMR survey from July of 2019, over 19% of Canadians said they only drink on special occasions.

Homeowners who serve alcohol to guests should be aware of the responsibilities involved and the potential liability arising from intoxicated guests and alcohol-related driving incidents. Homeowners may be held liable for property damage and third-party losses caused by intoxicated guests who operate a vehicle after a party held in their home. In addition, Homeowners Insurance policies could contain exclusions, conditions, or limitations regarding this kind of risk.

3. Make your home safe for guests

When welcoming guests for the holidays, make sure that they can enter your home and get around safely, especially while carrying holiday gifts, or walking in snowy or icy conditions. In July of 2018, Global News reported that unintentional falls send about 1,800 Canadians to the hospital every year.

Hosts should take precautions by shovelling and salting walkways and clearing clutter from the interior of your home and dangerous furniture. When accidents do happen, Homeowners Insurance can provide coverage for medical costs associated with a guest’s injury.

When hosting a gathering with family and friends, homeowners may face many risks during the holiday season. Before your party begins, remember to get proper consultation in case misfortune arises.

The last thing you want to be thinking about is an unfortunate accident. Work closely with an insurance broker to ensure you have the coverages you need and enjoy the holidays without being at higher risk.