From the November 2006 issue of Entrepreneur

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and along with the fun, the parties and the gifts comes increased exposure to personal liability.

High-dollar lawsuits resulting from holiday festivities tend to make the headlines and may put a damper on your celebrations-but they shouldn't, says Alan S. Kopit, partner at Hahn Loeser & Parks in Cleveland. "These cases get a lot of notoriety when they're filed," he says, "but there aren't that many of them, and we don't [always] know how they are resolved."

Kopit advises checking with your insurance agent to be sure you understand the limits of your liability and umbrella policies and that your coverage is sufficient. To reduce your risk with holiday-related activities, he recommends you:

Monitor alcohol consumption at parties, and be prepared to take steps to stop people from driving if they are impaired, such as paying for a taxi ride home. Limit how much you drink yourself. "As host, keep yourself in a state that you're able to monitor the activity," Kopit says.

Be proactive with potential weather-related hazards. Clear snow and ice from walkways, and warn your guests of any hazardous conditions.

"This isn't rocket science," Kopit says. "It's what you should be doing anyway." So combine adequate insurance with common sense, and enjoy the holidays.

Jcquelyn Lnn is a freelance business writer in Orlando, Florida.