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Cheers to a safe and happy new year!

There’s a lot to think about when you’re planning the perfect New Year’s party. By now, you probably have the hors d'oeuvres, drink menu, and playlist covered — but have you thought about what you can do to be the hostess with the mostest safety this New Year’s Eve? Keep these simple tips in mind while you’re mixing and mingling with your nearest and dearest.

Keep tabs on the cabs (and the keys)
As your guests start arriving, make a mental list of who showed up with their vehicle in tow; all it takes is a quick, “Hey, are you driving tonight?” If some of your guests are planning to drive, offer to let them leave their cars at your place overnight so they can get a cab home instead (unless they don’t plan on drinking) — but if you don’t have enough space in your driveway, consider contacting your local bylaw office ahead of time to find out if street parking is allowed overnight. If you want to go one step further, consider pre-ordering cabs, designated driver services, and other transportation options before the clock strikes 12 — we all know how hard it can be to find a taxi after midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Don’t forget: If you know one of your friends has had one too many and you still let them get behind the wheel, you could be held responsible if they end up in a collision. This applies if your guests use cannabis products at your party, too. Do your part by keeping track of how your friends are getting home after the ball drops and make sure everyone arrives safe and sound.

Plan for a surprise slumber party
In a perfect world, you’d have a thorough list outlining exactly how each and every guest is going to get home at the end of the night. But we know that things don’t always go as planned — and sometimes someone just needs a safe place to crash, no questions asked. Take these simple steps to keep your surprise overnight guests nice and comfy:

  1. Make the bed in the guest room and stash some extra sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows in the basement or den.

  2. Stock the bathroom with guest-friendly toiletries and clean towels (and even a couple of fresh, unopened toothbrushes if you’re feeling extra generous).

  3. Make sure everyone has a late-night snack, lots of water, and a suitable place to sleep before you hit the hay yourself.

  4. Be prepared to serve coffee and breakfast to anyone who spent the night — if your guests were drinking until the wee hours, they likely won’t be ready to drive first thing in the morning and may have to stick around a little while longer.

Don’t take any chances
It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Keep your guests safe, avoid injuries, and prevent potential liability claims by checking these to-dos off your list:

  1. If Spot gets nervous around big groups of people, make sure he has a comfy place to stay while the party’s going on — you wouldn’t want him getting spooked and chomping on your brother-in-law’s toe while he’s showing off his dance moves.

  2. Shovel and de-ice your sidewalk, walkway, balcony, and any other outdoor spaces where your guests may end up.

  3. Keep your indoor stairs clear of tripping hazards like shoes, coats, and purses.

  4. Hide the keys to your snowmobiles and ATVs to keep your guests from touring the neighbourhood while under the influence.

Go easy on the bubbly
It might be easier said than done, but it’s worth a mention: When you’re the host, it’s up to you to stay in good enough shape to make sure everyone has a fun (and safe) time at the party. Plus, you’ll need to be ready to help everyone make it home safely at the end of the night. So, have your fun, but don’t forget to keep your host hat on until your last guest has gone home.

Hosting a party at your home can be a wonderful way to ring in the new year with your loved ones. Enjoy yourselves, but know that sometimes accidents happen, no matter how hard you try to prevent them — and that’s what insurance is for. If you have any questions about what is (and isn’t) covered by your home insurance policy, reach out to your licensed broker.

If you have questions about your existing insurance coverage, call 1-833-494-0089 to speak with an OTIP broker. If you are shopping for insurance, call 1-833-615-9326 to get a free quote.

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