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Know risks of hosting celebrations

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Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013 7:49 am

From a petting zoo in your backyard to a bounce house at your neighborhood park, celebrations of all kinds this time of year are hosted outdoors to take advantage of Arizona’s spring weather.

Unfortunately, these events can easily expose homeowners to liability risks that could have devastating financial repercussions.

Before hosting your next gathering, keep the following in mind in order to better protect your assets:

• Choose location wisely. Consumers have greater liability when hosting an event at home or at a park as opposed to a third-party location, which adds a layer of liability protection between the event and event host. If a park is the selected location, hosts should check with the venue to determine if any special permits are required, and if any special rules apply.

• Check commercial limits. If you are hiring entertainment or amusement, ensure vendors have adequate commercial liability insurance coverage. This information can and should be requested in advance of the event taking place. If a vendor does not have or cannot provide this proof, beware — as this is going to make your assets easier to get to. Instead, opt for a company that can provide this information.

• Check personal limits. The amount of liability coverage consumers need varies from person to person. In fact, you may even consider adding an umbrella policy. Added coverage may cost more, but it’s money well spent.

• Make safety a priority. Having adequate coverage is just the first step. Party hosts should always make guest safety a priority. If renting entertainment equipment, such as a bounce house, ensure that the vendor will remain on the property to operate and monitor the equipment during the party. Do not allow vendors to simply drop off the equipment and leave, or children to play on the equipment unsupervised. In addition, if hosting a swimming pool party, considering hiring a licensed lifeguard who can monitor the pool at all times and is trained in proper CPR techniques.

The best way to find out if you’re properly covered is to consult a licensed insurance agent, especially before hosting any type of event.

• Linda Gorman is communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or

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