13:53 PM

Underage drinking is risky business for homeowners

Remember to play it safe and celebrate responsibly


Spring and summer bring many causes for celebration from prom to graduation to sporting events. But don't assume that allowing underage individuals to drink in your home is either safe or smart.


Some parents enjoy planning celebrations for their high school-aged children, whether it’s for a birthday or school-related event like prom or graduation, or a team or club gathering. Unfortunately these celebrations can also mean underage drinking. Some adults believe supervising young people drinking in their homes is a better or safer alternative to unsupervised parties.

But is it? You may be trading one type of risk for another, with potentially serious consequences.

Your homeowners insurance policy protects you from many instances of fire, burglary and weather-related storms and may also protect you from civil liability that results from accidents that occur on your property. But don’t assume your policy protects you from losses or civil liability that results from allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages by an underage person on your property.

Many homeowners policies have a clause stating insurers won’t cover losses that occur in such situations. In fact, according to the Drug-Free Action Alliance, a statewide, non-profit agency working to prevent substance abuse, some states impose liability upon parents simply who are aware of drinking being done at another location other than their home, but do nothing to prevent it.

Allowing an underage drinking party could mean an accident or property loss that could result in crippling legal expenses, lawuits and monetary judgments that may have to come out of your pocket. Your insurance company may also decide to discontinue your policy.

Protect yourself – and the young people who may take part – by saying no to hosting underage drinking parties, and encourage the young people in your life to obey the law and celebrate responsibly.

Be sure to speak with your insurance agent to review the specifics of your homeowners policy, along with the terms and conditions that could affect your coverage.


About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wis.-based American Family Insurance is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company and ranks 358th on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General, Homesite and AssureStart) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the Internet or by phone. Web:; Facebook:; Twitter: Google+