Host with a Toast … To Responsible High School Grad Parties

Learn insurance coverage although not excluded is at risk for hosts who permit underage drinking in Ohio.  

Richey-Barrett Blog (16)

Read suggestions for hosting a responsible high school graduation party.

School is out, and high school graduation parties are in. For many parents, hosting a party is de rigueur, the required social custom for celebrating their child’s milestone high school graduation. While the size and scope of high school graduation parties varies, the one constant is someone(s) always bears general responsibility for the activity occurring at the party … and that someone(s) is the host(s).

The most pressing legal concern for hosts of high school graduation parties is alcohol. Though many high school graduates are of legal age (age 18) at the time of their high school graduation, it is illegal in Ohio to possess or consume alcohol under the age of 21. One notable exception to this law in Ohio is that a person under the age of 21 may drink alcohol only if that child’s own parent or legal guardian gives consent AND is physically present while their underage child consumes alcohol. For all intents and purposes, Ohio law constrains the consumption of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21. Be aware that your homeowner’s insurance, condo insurance, renter’s insurance, auto insurance, and umbrella liability insurance all can be at risk of serious claims arising from these activities. In this context the illegal activity of allowing underage drinking is putting your insurance coverage at serious risk. Bottom line is any host who allows underage drinking is doing so at great personal, legal, and financial risk.

Good planning and attentiveness by the host(s) make for enjoyable and responsible high school grad parties. Additionally, they also reduce your exposure to potential claims under your homeowner’s insurance, condo insurance, renter’s insurance, and/or umbrella liability insurance. Consider these suggestions, as you plan for and host a safe and fun grad party:

  • Food. Convenience lessens stress. Make as much ahead of time as possible and refrigerate/store appropriately. Avoid food-borne illness. Keep all food and condiments out of direct sunlight. Ensure hot food remains heated and cold food is consistently on ice.
  • Beverages. Provide bottled water, lemonade, and soft drinks in ice chests. Determine your policy for alcohol, make it very clear to your grad and your guests, and enforce it. Be particularly mindful of your own liability, as well as no insurance protection, for allowing underage drinking.
  • Inside vs. Outside. In good weather outdoors is usually preferable. Keep a lid on sunburn, sunstroke, and raindrops by setting up large awning covers prior to the party.  You can’t predict the weather, but you can plan ahead to safely move people inside, especially in the event of an electrical storm.
  • Pets. Keep them safely away from guests to avoid trips, falls, animal anxiety, or bites.
  • Premises. Maintain all areas open to guests for ease of access, cleanliness, and safety. Regularly keep an eye on food, bathrooms, and waste containers to ensure they are properly supplied/maintained and/or emptied.
  • Activity. Designate a separate area for activities away from food and seating.  Lawn games such as corn hole are easy to set up and popular for all ages. Pools, trampolines, and projectiles increase your exposure to legal liability from injury.

Richey-Barrett Insurance, your Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agent, toasts all hosts and 2019 high school grads to a fun, safe, and responsible celebration. Contact us for homeowner’s insurance,  condo insurance, renter’s insurance, auto insurance and umbrella liability insurance.

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