Most holiday cooking mishaps make good stories later. Remember the time you thought a clove of garlic meant the entire bulb?
But true cooking disasters, such as deep-fried turkey fires or sickened guests, aren’t so funny.
Here’s how insurance works when things go sour, plus tips to help us stay safe.
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the US, according to the National Fire Protection Association. And the holidays are the peak season for them, says Scott Humphrey, vice president of risk control for Travelers Insurance Company.
According to Travelers claim data from 2012 to 2016, home fire claims increased 12%, on average, during the week from Christmas to New Year’s Eve compared to the typical week, he says.
“Especially during the holidays, when preparing for a party, we’re multitasking and we sometimes forget about safety.”
Homeowners insurance covers structural damage, and both Home and Renters insurance policies cover damage to belongings, such as furniture and clothing. They also cover additional living expenses, such as hotel bills, if the home is uninhabitable while it’s undergoing repair.
Wherever there's eating, there's bound to be drinking and alcoholic beverages. If a guest overindulges at your home, drives away and causes an auto accident, sadly you could face legal consequences. Although you wouldn’t be held responsible for the drunken driver’s injuries, depending on state laws you could be held legally liable for injuries to others involved in the accident, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Your Homeowners insurance coverage usually includes liquor liability coverage, which would pay your legal costs and jury award against you up to the policy limits if an accident victim(s) sued you. The limits are typically $300,000 to $500,000, the institute says. Additional coverage would be provided by your Umbrella Liability policy if you have one. Check also your policy for exclusions, limits and conditions.
It’s one thing when people don’t like your cooking, but it’s another if they get sick from it. The Medical Payments coverage under your Homeowners insurance policy should pay guests' medical expenses, up to the policy’s limits, if they got sick or injured in your home including food poisoning from your cooking. The limits are typically between $1,000 and $5,000 per person.
Fortunately, Homeowners and Renters insurance policies also include Liability coverage, which would pay your defense costs and any court awards against you if your guest were to sue you. Liability limits usually start around $300,000 per incident. You might be able to increase your Liability coverage, depending on your carrier, by paying a little extra in premium.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises:
At Massey, Clark, Fischer we are most happy to help you review your current policies to help make sure “you are covered” - just call us at your earliest convenience.