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Keep Things Cool This Labor Day

Workers of the world, your day is approaching. Since 1894, America has reserved the first Monday in September to recognize its labor force. The holiday once included a parade and fair. Now, it’s about a three-day weekend, a late-summer block party, or just firing up the grill one last time for the summer.

Unfortunately, Labor Day isn’t always the fun and games that should be part of a holiday from work.  Guests still fall off porches. Dogs still bite neighbors. Thieves still manage to make off with flat-screen TVs while the home owner chills in a hammock on a far-away coast.

While standard home insurance often can help when those problems occur, prevention remains the best strategy. Here are some ways you can reduce the chance you’ll have to work on insurance claims after Labor Day weekend.

As The Host

Millions can’t wait to hit the road, but some Americans choose to stay close to home. Why languish in traffic when you can linger at the grill and share a cold beverage – or two – with friends?

But what happens when a guest at your shindig has more than two – maybe a lot more?

Laws vary by state. But the legal doctrine of social host liability places responsibility for alcohol consumption on the host. This can be at your home, at the beach, in a hotel room, on a boat … anywhere you host a party. It holds the host responsible if intoxicated guests get in auto accidents after they’ve left your property.
Here are some tips to help with your gathering.

  • First and foremost, don’t let minors drink. It sounds basic, but if someone underage drinks at your party, you’ve already broken the law.
  • Collect keys at the door.  That way you can evaluate each guest before he/she goes home. Call a cab for guests you have a doubts about, or offer to let them stay over. Of course, this means you have to have a clear head, which leads to the following tactic.
  • Dry times, not high times. It’s not always easy, but if you can party without spirits, you’ve taken care of liability.

If You Roast

For some, firing up the grill is celebration enough. Where there’s fire, though, there can be problems.

Do this

  • Pick a safe spot to grill. Keep it away from the house or any branches that could ignite.
  • Keep it clean. Accumulated grease inside your grill can catch fire, so clean it before use. Keep uncooked meat and utensils used on them away from prepared food.
  • Make your grill a kid-free zone. Set up a play area for any children well away from the hot grill.

Don’t do this

  • Don’t leave your grill unattended. Even for a minute. If you must step away for more spices or a clean plate, appoint a sous chef to keep watch.
  • Don’t bring the party inside. Not even into the garage. Overhead surfaces could also burn.

Grilling isn’t the only danger when you host a party. If a guest sues you because he or she got hurt on your property (and it could be your fault), personal liability coverage in a standard homeowners’ insurance policy typically can help protect you.

If that guest does not file a lawsuit, the medical payments coverage in a standard policy could come into play. It can help with medical bills associated with the injury.

Check your policy for details.

On The Coast

A three-day (or more) beach getaway is tough to resist. A house known to be vacant all weekend is also tough to resist – for crooks. No one wants to cap time at the beach with a police report and call to your home insurance agent.

What can you do to make it look like you’re homebodies for the long weekend?

  • It’s all about timing. Buy a light timer at your local big box. These can turn on and off lights in different rooms. Crooks will think somebody’s home.
  • Park it. Have a second car? Leave it in the driveway. If you don’t, invite a neighbor to park his or her car in your driveway for the weekend. Let a burglar wonder.
  • Easy on social media. You’re excited – maybe boastful? – about your rendezvous with sand and sun. Envious friends and family aren’t the only ones who could get updates on social media, though. Don’t advertise your absence to those who can capitalize on it.

Send summer off, but do it smartly and safely. It’ll be hard enough to go back to work after the long weekend.