By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC, CPIA

Millions of high school and college students are graduating this month.  


In addition to graduation ceremonies and commencement exercises, there will be many parties and other gatherings to celebrate the graduates. During this time you may be focused on making plans to travel or host events and help your graduate move on to the next stage. And expected liability claims are probably the last thing on your mind. 


But a lot can go wrong at a large event, with grandparents, young children, and teenagers all in attendance. If alcohol gets thrown in the mix, you risk injuries on your premises, violations of social host laws, and impaired driving – especially if a teenager or college-aged young adult gets their hands on some alcohol. 


Besides making sure you’ve got all the supplies, decorations, and catering all set, you should follow these tips to ensure you host an event that is safe for your guests and doesn’t increase your risk of any liability claims. 


But accidents happen and there is only so much you can do to prepare when groups of teenagers or college graduates are involved. 


That’s where a personal umbrella insurance policy comes in. 


The major advantage of umbrella insurance is that it provides additional liability protection that covers home- or car-related claims – such as a major car crash or injury on your property – that exceed the normal policy limits of homeowner’s and auto insurance. In the event of catastrophic claims, you want to have umbrella insurance to fall back on. 


If you have financial assets or properties whose combined value exceeds the policy limits of your auto and homeowner’s insurance, umbrella insurance is essential to avoiding financially crippling lawsuits. 


An added bonus is that umbrella insurance provides protection for claims that would not typically be covered under homeowner’s or auto insurance, such as libel, slander, and false imprisonment


Some scenarios where umbrella insurance could be helpful: 


■ An older houseguest trips on some loose bricks in the steps leading to your patio and suffers a serious injury. They sue you for the cost of their medical bills, damages for the pain they have endured, and lost wages due to missed work time.  


■ A teenager at your party breaks into your liquor cabinet, gets drunk, drives impaired, and ends up in a major accident. Their parents sue you. 


■ The food you serve spoils and several guests get very ill. They file a lawsuit against you for their medical bills and other damages. 


These scenarios are just a few of examples of what could go wrong at what should otherwise be your happy day with your graduating child or family member. There’s only so much one can do to plan ahead. A personal umbrella insurance policy guarantees you and your assets are protected no matter happens. 


Sources included: Investopedia and NerdWallet