Thanksgiving Day is typically a chance to carve out some quality time to eat, drink and be merry with family and friends, but if your feast goes foul, knowing what your home insurance covers will help. "All hosts should be aware that if someone drives drunk or becomes sick after consuming food at a holiday party, the host could actually be liable," Robert Rusbuldt, CEO of Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA), said in a written statement. For protection, the Insurance Information Institute advises taking common-sense steps such as practicing perfect kitchen hygiene, and the IIABA says you should be aware of your state's "social host liability laws." On the banquet front, keep in mind that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say food-borne illnesses are responsible for about 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year. If a guest gets food poisoning, a typical homeowners insurance policy would likely cover the cost for a trip to an emergency room. If medical expenses incurred go beyond that, the guest could sue. Your homeowners insurance policy will generally protect you up to a minimum of $100,000 in liability coverage if anyone decides to take legal action, says Loretta Worters, III spokeswoman. "If your guest gets sick and sues you for damages, your insurer will pay for your legal expenses for a resulting lawsuit, even if the suit is groundless," she says. Worters adds that you can buy extra coverage -- most agents suggest looking into carrying at least $300,000 to $500,000 of liability protection, depending on the value of your assets. The III also advises another $1 million in umbrella insurance coverage. Worters explains that an umbrella policy takes effect when you've reached the limit on the underlying liability coverage in a homeowners, condo, renters or auto policy. "It will also cover you for things such as libel and slander," she says, adding that a $1 million umbrella policy can usually be bought for about $150 to $300 a year.
Deep-fry your turkey, not your holiday
State Farm says Christmas Day in 2013 for the first time surpassed Thanksgiving Day for the highest number of cooking-related fire claims, but even so, claims typically double on Thanksgiving compared with a typical November day.