College and partying, practically synonymous, right? At least pop culture would have you believe that. The truth is that college parties present many risks even beyond the risks partying poses to your health, and students often do not have a plan in place to mitigate those risks. As a host, you should consider your liability, but the average college student may not even know what that means.
In addition to excessive partying’s effects on your health, academic success and well-being, college parties can also pose a hazard to your living space, stuff and liability. What’s at risk? Well, a lot. How much is the stuff in your apartment or dorm room worth? The value could surprise you. And if someone damaged a wall or injured themselves in your residence, the bills for those damages could be quite high. Some common sense, caution and considering insurance protection can help you throw parties more safely and can help protect you the high cost of a party gone awry.
Parties can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Ever been to one where someone has punched a wall? Who pays for the damage? You may not even know who did it, or if you do, you may not know them well if they are a friend of a friend. Or perhaps you’re throwing a dinner party, and end up burning the wall while scrambling to get everything ready. What happens then?
You may think your landlord or school has insurance to cover these damages, but that is often not the case, as it is usually considered your responsibility. Schools and landlords can charge you for those damages when you move out. You may want to consider your own insurance plan, like renters insurance, to help you cover the cost of these types of damages. Be sure to check with an agent about what types of damages would be covered.
Letting strangers into your living space can increase your risk of theft, and having too many people in your apartment at once can lead to damaged stuff. Before having people over, secure or hide your valuables and clear away easily broken or easily stained items. In the event of theft or covered damages, your parents homeowners insurance or a renters insurance policy can help replace your belongings. Be sure to check your parent’s homeowners policy to see if it will cover your stuff at school or consider renters insurance for adding protection.
Liability is when you are found legally responsible for a loss, be it damage to your residence or an unintentional injury in your residence. If someone slips and falls on a spill at your party and injures themselves, you could be found legally liable for that injury and could be sued. Same goes for if you serve an underage person at your party alcohol and they go on to injure themselves – at your party or elsewhere as a result of intoxication – it could come back to you. You could be found responsible for their actions after providing them alcohol. Where there’s legal action against you, there’s likely some form of action taken against you by your school. However likely or unlikely something is to happen when you throw a college party, the stakes can be huge.
The best way to avoid liability issues at college is simply to not throw parties, or if you do, take the time to be cautious. Keeping the guest list small and limited to only people you know, ensuring all attendees are of age, providing food and non-alcoholic drinks and tidying up your place are all ways to minimize your risk when throwing a party. Considering liability protection, such as a renters insurance policy or an umbrella policy, can help protect you financially if something were to happen, and may provide you greater piece of mind. Be sure to speak with an agent to figure out what kind of coverage is appropriate for you.
When throwing a college party, there’s more to worry about than a hangover. Are you prepared for all the risks?