Insurance Considerations for Hosting Summer Barbecues

Barbecue season is in full swing! While these gatherings are fun, they come with certain risks, even ones you don’t expect. For example, did you know that food poisoning increases in summer due to improper cooking or food left out? Understanding risks and your insurance coverage can help you stay prepared and protect yourself, your property, and your guests. 

General Summer Health and Safety Risks

Summer activities increase the risk of heat stroke, drowning, and sports injuries, but these issues are often preventable with proper precautions. To avoid heat-related illnesses, stay hydrated and avoid prolonged sun exposure between 2 and 4 pm. Drowning, especially among children younger than 5, is another significant risk. Always supervise children and designate adults to monitor water activities. When grilling, be mindful of burns and cuts by using lighter fluid on unlit coals and keeping children away from fires.

Barbecue and Pool Safety

Verifying that you have the right insurance coverage is crucial to protect against accidents. Homeowners insurance typically covers fire damage from grills, but it's wise to review your policy specifics with your insurance representative. Consider an umbrella policy for extra liability coverage, which can protect you from medical bills or legal fees if a guest gets injured.

If you have a pool, check your insurance coverage for both in-ground and above-ground pools. Pools are typically covered for 10% of the dwelling limit, which can be increased if needed. Ensure you have adequate personal liability coverage for pool-related accidents.

Before firing up the grill, check for recalls and inspect for cracks, leaks, and blockages. Test for leaks using a soap and water solution. Store propane tanks outside and ensure valves are turned off. Grill on a level surface away from the house and landscaping. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and ensure everyone knows its location and operation. Use heavy aprons, long oven mitts, and long-handled utensils. Only use lighter fluid for grilling, never gasoline. Never grill indoors due to the risk of carbon monoxide fumes. Cool the grill before storing and soak charcoal briquettes with water.

Preventing and Managing Accidents

Despite all precautions, accidents can happen. If a fire occurs, use a fire extinguisher and call 911 if necessary. Treat minor burns with cool water and seek help for serious burns. Assess any property damage and contact your insurance professional to discuss filing a claim. Sports injuries are common from activities like frisbee and football. Treat with rest, ice, compression, and elevation; seek medical help if severe. 

Hosting Responsibly with Alcohol

New York State Social Host Law holds hosts accountable for providing alcohol at gatherings, particularly when minors are present. Hosts are liable for accidents and injuries related to alcohol consumption. Never provide alcohol to individuals under 21, and recognize signs of intoxication so you can intervene and prevent accidents. Promote responsible drinking by offering non-alcoholic options and ensuring safe transportation for guests. Serving alcohol at your barbecue increases the risk of injuries. While homeowners insurance may offer limited liquor liability, it's crucial to monitor guests' alcohol intake. 

Hosting a summer barbecue is a great way to enjoy the season with friends and family. By understanding and addressing insurance considerations for hosting summer barbecues, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable event. Reach out to your MetzWood Insurance representative to review your insurance policies, practice good safety habits, and stay informed about your responsibilities as a host.