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Is Your Child Considering Joining a Fraternity or Sorority? What Parents Should Know

Is your college student pledging a fraternity or sorority when school starts? You may look back on happy memories of your own days when you were in a fraternity or a sorority. Perhaps your image of a fraternity comes from movies, like Animal House, Legally Blonde, or Revenge of the Nerds. Whether your impressions are idealized or realistic, many people do not know about the insurance implications if your child spends time in a university’s Greek housing system. They are the largest single provider of housing in the country, with one in eight students living in Greek housing.

Fraternities are not insured by the college or university’s policy

Caitlin Flanagan, a writer at The Atlantic, has conducted a year-long study of Greek life. During an interview with NPR she explains that colleges and universities are not responsible for what happens on fraternities’ property, as they are independent entities from the college. Fraternities, she explains, are self-insurerd and any insurance claims are covered by financial reserves, not by a traditional insurance policy.

Individuals or families may be held liable

According to Ms. Flanagan, families’ homeowners’ policies cover the liability for their children while they are away at college. Civil lawsuits are covered by a fraternity or sorority, but sometimes the victims take action against individual members. In an incident with a Yale University fraternity, the families of two victims are suing 86 fraternity members. If they are found responsible, their parents’ private homeowners or automobile insurance may cover the damages. The top six fraternity-related personal injury claims are:

  • Assault and battery claims
  • Sexual assault (rape)
  • Slip and fall
  • Fall from heights
  • Auto accidents
  • Hazing

If these claims are not covered by the self-insured fraternity or sorority, a parent’s homeowners insurance may have to pay for any damages, meaning you could be liable.

Get the facts, speak with a personal injury attorney today

If you are a parent of a college-bound student or have a current student who has been involved in a fraternity accident and you need guidance, contact Gillette Law, P.A. I have been providing families with personal injury information and representation in Florida and Georgia for more than 25 years. 

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