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4/8/2013 - Be aware of your kids' after-prom parties

After-parties can lead to liability issues for homeowners holding post-prom bashes.

Retail outlets and fine clothing stores are stocking up with their finest gowns and spiffiest tuxedos, as it's that time of year again - prom season. Whether it's their junior or senior year, millions of teenagers put a great deal of emphasis on this special occasion, not to mention plenty of their hard-earned money. In fact, according to statistics from Seventeen magazine, girls will spend an average of $200 on their prom dress and teens in general will shell out $75 a piece for tickets.

Yet as much time and attention is devoted to the prom, there's also the after-prom parties that teenagers are excited about. A couple of years ago, a Colorado teen told the Denver Post that the "after-prom is 10 times better than the prom" itself. That may be because this is when youth can bond, sharing some of their stories about the dance and whether it was the night to remember that they had imagined.

All too often, however, after-prom parties are recalled for all the wrong reasons. As recently as 2005, nearly 400 students from various parts of the country died on prom night in alcohol-related accidents, according to the National High Traffic Safety Administration. Furthermore, statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation reveal that an average of 5,200 teens are injured in vehicle crashes on prom weekends.

Safety experts encourage responsible parents to hold an after-prom party
For these reasons, parents may want to consider getting involved in their kids' after-prom parties by offering to hold a get-together at their place. This can provide teens with a place to go to after their big night, and with adults present, parents can rest assured that alcohol won't be available. Examples of parties that have often gone over well with teens include all-night movie marathons or video gaming competitions.

Even when households have parties for adults where alcohol is permitted, hosts have to be sure that they understand their state's laws, have the right liability insurance protection and understand their risk regarding the potential of someone being injured in an accident.

"You don't want to allow anyone who has been drinking to drive a vehicle while impaired," said Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute." Not only do your guests risk injury or death to themselves or others, but you may be held financially responsible."

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