Host Safe Gatherings in a Post-COVID World – Liability Insurance Considerations
September 22, 2021
After long periods of time isolating from others, many people are looking forward to hosting family and friends in their homes again. Planning dinner parties, movie nights, and holidays spent together feels great, but there are lots of considerations when finding the best ways to reopen your home to others safely.
Before opening your home to visitors, understand how your home insurance policy and its liability coverage are affected by any gatherings you host. You and your guests will be safer and better able to enjoy your time together when you host a safe gathering.
Read on to learn more about how to safely host family and friends again and the important insurance considerations to keep in mind. Contact us at Duliban Insurance for more help with your questions.
What Does Liability Coverage on my House Insurance Cover?
The home insurance policy you have includes some liability coverage if a visitor is injured in your home. This coverage includes:
- Medical bills of the injured person
- Lost wages the injured person incurs because of the injury
- Pain and suffering of the injured party
- A death benefit if someone is killed due to their injuries
- Legal expenses you incur defending the lawsuit
However, just like with any insurance policy, there are exclusions to your liability coverage. Communicable diseases are excluded from coverage on many home insurance policies – read your policy thoroughly to know if yours excludes this coverage.
Acting in a way that is irresponsible to public health – like by hosting an unsafe gathering – could put you at risk for a lawsuit if someone contracts COVID. Besides living with the knowledge of having put someone at risk and created the condition that caused them to get sick, you could face an expensive lawsuit.
COVID-19 is contagious, so if someone were to catch it at your event, they could possibly spread the virus to many other people before they experienced any symptoms to indicate they were ill.
Imagine they left your event through public transportation, stopped at Sobeys to do their shopping, then visited their grandmother at her long-term care home – the spread of the virus becomes vast when you consider these possibilities.
Safe Gatherings Post-COVID Call for Proactive Planning
While you may never be able to completely eliminate the risk of a guest becoming ill at your home or event, there are several proactive steps you can take to help make sure your gathering is as safe as possible.
Review Current Guidelines From the Canada Ministry of Health: Be sure to review the Canadian government’s website for its most current safety recommendations before planning your next get-together. The website has precautions, vaccine and outbreak information, and other handy metrics to guide your decision about when, where, and how to host others. The site even has a chatbot if you still have specific questions after reviewing the information they post.
Talk With Your Insurance Agent: Review your house insurance policy and reach out to your agent or broker with questions about how your coverage applies if someone at your party falls ill with COVID. Learn about your potential liability and if your home insurance policy covers you for this liability risk. Your agent can best help you understand the conditions and exclusions of your policy. Even if your home insurance policy does not exclude communicable diseases, there may be other conditions to comply with for a claim to be made, so be sure to understand your responsibilities.
Create a Risk Management Plan: Devise a plan for how you will manage any risky or unexpected situations that arise. For example, what will you do if an attendee at your party tells you they have been experiencing COVID symptoms? How about if you feel ill before the event starts? Should you require your guests to affirm they have been fully vaccinated, or should you ask everyone to show proof of a recent negative test? Having a sound risk management plan in place before you need it is always good advice – it can be hard to think clearly in the heat of the moment.
Follow up After Your Event: It may be unlikely you get sued for an event you host at your home, but it is a possibility. Even if it cannot be proven that the individual caught COVID at your event, a lawsuit is still a time-consuming and stressful burden. If you are served with a lawsuit, contact your broker or insurance company right away. There are often time limitations for how quickly you must notify your carrier of a lawsuit, even if they ultimately deny coverage for the claim. Your agent acts as your guide through the process.
Weigh carefully any gathering you decide to host post-COVID. Your responsibilities as the party host now go far beyond ensuring there is enough food and beer for all your guests – you must take steps to protect your guests from accidental exposure to the virus. If you fail to host safely, your home insurance policy may not provide coverage for you if your guests fall ill and sue you.
Lawsuits are costly and time-consuming – facing one without insurance coverage could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Make sure you know your risks and have a plan to host responsibly before planning your first post-COVID get-together.
Individuals who attend your event also hold some personal responsibility for their situation, but it can be safer to limit your gatherings to your own household in many cases.
How do I Learn More?
To learn more about insurance considerations with post-COVID gatherings, contact the experts at Duliban Insurance. Our licensed experts will be happy to answer any questions you have.