In the summertime, you want to live life to the fullest. You don’t want to be bogged down thinking about the bad things that can go wrong when you’re enjoying yourself in the sun…but unfortunately, you can’t completely ignore them.
We’ve created the ultimate guide to summer insurance perils so you can know how to help protect yourself financially, take the necessary safety precautions, and then leave the rest of the worrying to your insurance company! This guide will get you and your family prepped for security, so you can enjoy the summer carefree and relaxed.
On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing better than taking a dip in a cool, refreshing pool. If you have a backyard pool, you’re able to go for a swim, entertain pool parties, and use it for summertime exercise. But despite its high entertainment value, a pool can also pose a hazard for your insurance.
According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, an average of 10 people die daily from unintentional drowning unrelated to boating incidents; of this number, 1 in 5 are children under the age of 14. Aside from these safety issues, pools are expensive assets that can be costly to fix if they incur damage. Destruction and liability can be tremendous burdens on your budget if you’re not properly prepared.
Most backyard pools are covered under homeowners’ insurance policies. If something were to damage your pool or surrounding area (like a tree falls in the pool or tiles fly off in a thunderstorm), expenses would likely be covered under your homeowners’ property coverage. If someone suffers an injury in your pool, your personal liability coverage would help cover their medical expenses. If someone in your family suffers an injury, your health insurance would likely be the policy to cover your personal costs.
If someone is injured in your pool, you are always liable—even if they did not have permission to swim in your pool. This is especially true for pools with diving boards and waterslides, which are considered an additional hazard. Typical homeowners insurance policies have $100,000 of liability protection, but pool-related injury liability expenses can far exceed that. Because of this, you may want to consider an additional personal umbrella policy (PUP) of around $500,000 to further protect yourself in case of an accident. This is especially true if you often have guests or young children in your pool.
Note that some aboveground pools are considered “personal property,” like a flat-screen TV or couch. These may be separately insured as an extraneous item underneath your homeowners policy. Talk to an agent to see how your pool is categorized within your coverage.
Pool Safety Precautions
- Enclose your pool with a fence that is self-closing and self-latching.
- Always supervise children while swimming. It’s also useful to invest in swimming lessons for children. Parents of swimming children should also learn to swim.
- Keep up with pool maintenance monthly to prevent trips, slips, and falls.
- Surround the pool in slip-less material, like stone or rubber.
- Ensure your pool meets municipal code. Some insurance companies won’t pay out if the pool isn’t up to code at the time of the claim.
- Keep a first aid kit and floatation device near the pool.
- Use swimming pool drain covers to protect bathing suits and hair from getting trapped in drains and causing potential injury.
- Implement safety rules, like no chicken fighting and no diving headfirst. While you are still liable despite these rules, this can help keep your friends and family safe.
Swingsets and Trampolines
Swingsets, outdoor play gyms, and trampolines are all considered “attractive nuisances;” this is a term given to potentially dangerous areas that attract children. They’re fun to have, but they can also pose a serious hazard, which your insurance company may not want to cover. Damage to these play areas can be covered under your homeowners’ policy, often considered personal property extras. However, if someone else’s child gets injured on your property on a swingset or trampoline, you are liable under your personal liability coverage.
Nevertheless, swingsets, trampolines, and pools are all a large liability and can make your insurance premiums go up.
But that doesn’t mean you need to deny your child all the fun of these summer backyard activities! Instead, take the right precautions to ensure they stay safe while also protecting your insurance rate.
Swingset Safety Precautions
- For children under age three, use enclosed toddler swings.
- Adults should always supervise play no matter how old the children.
- Look at the dimensions of the playground. There should be a minimum of 22 inches between swings. The slide should be no longer than 10 feet.
- Ensure there are no protruding bolts or nails. All sharp corners and attachments should be covered in safety plastic.
- When setting up the swingset, place on a level location away from overhangs. If possible, put it in a shady area to prevent parts from overheating. However, be careful of placing it close to trees that are unsupported or have loose branches.
- There should be at least 10 feet of clearance around the playset.
- Underneath the set should be a soft ground like grass, wood chips, mulch, sand, or a rubberized service.
- Do maintenance at least once per year. Wood especially can expand and contract in changing temperatures, so it is important to watch for cracks that could cause falls or injuries.
Trampoline Safety Precautions
- The minimum age for trampolines is age five.
- Adults should always monitor play no matter the age.
- Only one person should jump at a time. “Popcorning” is not a good idea.
- Parents should encourage their children not to do stunts or gymnastic exercises.
- Kids should always use a trampoline ladder to get on and off. They should never bounce directly off the trampoline. Don’t leave the ladder near the trampoline when not in use, as kids could climb up without supervision.
- Never play on a wet trampoline.
- Set up the trampoline in a clear, flat area with at least 10 feet around. Place it on a soft surface like grass, sand, or dirt.
75% of U.S. households have an outdoor barbeque, grill, or smoker. On average, there are 8,900 grill-related home fires each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These sorts of damages would often fall under your homeowners’ insurance policy.
According to the NFPA Research “Home Fires Involving Grills Fact Sheet,” in 2014, there were 16,600 hospitalizations for grill-related injuries. These expenses would usually be covered under your medical insurance if you were to be injured on your own property. Despite the deliciousness of barbeque, grills can be dangerous for cookers and onlookers—so be sure to take the necessary safety precautions!
- Never grill indoors, including in the garage. Always grill in an open space as a backup of fumes and gasses can be toxic.
- Place your grill at least 10 feet from your home and other structures, like sheds, fences, rails, and trees.
- Don’t store your charcoals or gas under the grill or near any flammable items.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Use grilling tools to protect yourself, and stay at a safe distance while cooking.
- Frequently clean your grill. Grease and food buildup is one of the main causes of grill fires.
- Always check the gas grill connection before use to make sure the lines aren’t leaking or cracked.
- Never leave a grill unattended while on. Keep kids away from the grill.
Unlike the other activities on this list which tend to fall under your homeowners’ insurance, boats typically need a separate type of insurance specific to boating. Boat insurance protects sea-related accidents that cause damage to property or injuries to a person while out on the water.
Interestingly, your boat isn’t always covered under your boat insurance, though. Auto insurance would cover boat-related incidents when the boat is being transported, and homeowners’ insurance would likely cover an incident to your boat while it was parked on your property.
It’s important to understand all the intricacies of boat insurance to appropriately safeguard your assets. Read our Ultimate Guide For Insuring Your Boat for specifics on how to enjoy your vessel under the right insurance coverage. However, if you take certain safety measures when out on the water, you’re less likely to run into an insurance claim in the future.
Boat Safety Precautions
- Always have life vests and floatation devices (like a life preserver) easily accessible on board. Children under ten should wear a life vest at all times.
- You should also have a fire extinguisher and evacuation kit on board.
- Check boating equipment before going out, such as engine, battery, ropes, fuel levels, lights, filters, and additional equipment.
- Carry a VHF radio and a boating navigation system. (Expensive equipment can often be covered under your boat insurance policy.)
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Communicate with fellow boaters to let them know which way you are going. A simple wave is nice too!
- Stay within designated areas. Avoid the channel where large tugboats and transport ships travel.
- Shut off the engine while passengers are loading and unloading for recreational activities.
- Clean your boat after every use to help prevent long-term damage. This is especially important as salty seawater can quickly rust and crack boat exteriors.
- Tell someone on land of your boating plans—even if you’re just going out for a joyride. Give an approximate navigation plan and estimated time of arrival.
- Keep proper documentation on board: identification, boat registration, towing policy paperwork, and boat insurance info.
- Never drink and drive.
Summer Insurance Perils Bottom Line
There’s nothing better than enjoying the summer days in the sun, the water, and the backyard. But an unexpected accident can quickly devastate the summer fun. Finding the right insurance company and policy will help save you from financial burdens, and taking simple safety precautions will safeguard you from serious injuries or damages. Get a quote from InsuraMatch to see just how much it would cost to protect your summer fun!