Summer officially starts tomorrow! BBQ’s beaches, and sun are just around the corner, but before you dive head first into summer’s festivities, we urge you to review your insurance to make sure you are properly protected. Use these tips to
review your coverage to make sure you and your family are insured for the
increased risks that come with outdoor activities.
Before you set sail, there are a couple of things you should know. The personal property coverage of your
homeowners policy might cover a small boat for $1,500 or less in physical
damage, and coverage for your liability risk is limited. Insurers
generally provide liability insurance on small sailboats (26 feet or less)
and powerboats with small motors (50 hp for inboard and inboard/outboard
and 25 HP for outboard motors). A boat of any significant size
will be excluded from your homeowners policy for both property and
liability coverage. If you own a larger boat, ask your insurance agent about a separate policy that covers physical damage to the boat
and any liability that might result from its use.
As far as personal watercrafts go, such as Jet Skis, they will
also likely require a separate boat insurance policy. Again, you might be
able to purchase this policy from your homeowners insurer or you might
wish to use an insurer that specializes in boat insurance. Did we mention we specialize in Boat Insurance?
Some other questions to ask your agent
before putting your boat in the water:
- Does my policy have adequate liability limits?
- Are there special discounts for taking safety courses?
- Who does the policy cover to operate the boat or personal
- Is the towing of skiers or tubes covered by my policy?
Off the water and on to the road. Keep in mind motorcycles are not covered by your standard
auto insurance policy. They need a separate policy that covers
liability, no-fault personal injury protection (if required) and depending
on the value of the motorcycle, comprehensive and collision coverage. If
your motorcycle is financed, your lender will likely require you carry
physical damage coverage. You want to keep that baby covered right?
The premium for your policy will partially
depend on a couple of factors, such as the motorcycle’s engine size, its age and how often you ride. Also remember when talking to an agent about quotes, ask about the discounts you could receive by being a member of certain associations or for taking
Insurance companies have separate
requirements for helmets. Be sure you understand your state law and that
you have read your policy to see what it requires when it comes to wearing
a helmet. If you have specific questions, contact your state insurance
Another thing to look into is seasonal coverage on your
motorcycle, which allows you to eliminate liability and perhaps collision
coverage in the winter months if you do not ride. Always check to make sure your
policy is up to date and that you have a current insurance card before
riding this summer. Do you have proper motorcycle insurance?
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are also not
covered by standard automobile insurance policies, but your
homeowners policy might partially cover your liability on an ATV. Check with your agent if this coverage is enough to protect you and
your family. If not you might want to consider a separate ATV policy to make sure
you are properly insured.
Here are some other questions to ask your insurance agent:
- Are there age restrictions on who may operate the ATV?
- Does my policy cover friends or family who are operating the ATV?
- Is there a discount for taking an operator safety course or for
riding with a helmet?
Pools and trampolines, while fun for the
family, are also dangerous and will increase your insurance risk. It is
important to check with your insurance agent to make sure you
are properly insured for this risk. You might want to consider purchasing
an umbrella policy to provide liability coverage above what your
homeowners policy offers. Be sure to ask if your homeowners policy
specifies any safety measures you are required to install, such as a
certain height fence or locked gate.
If you have a trampoline, you may find it very difficult to insure your property. Coverage may be denied or they may have policy exclusions
for any liability related to trampoline injuries. Be sure to understand
exactly what damages and injuries your homeowners policy covers before you
allow anyone on the trampoline.
Take note, that an insurance company can deny coverage or
cancel your policy if you do not follow the policy safety guidelines or do
not inform the company when you install a pool or purchase a trampoline. Make sure you always check with your insurance agent for rates and safety guidelines
before making your purchase.
Fourth of July is close, and for many people, it is tempting to shoot off
fireworks in the backyard. It’s important to understand
that the use of illegal products, like fireworks, could jeopardize your
insurance coverage if someone were to be injured or your home was damaged
as a result of your actions.
If fireworks are legal in your area, it is
still a good idea to check with your insurer to determine if you are
properly covered for liability and damage to your home that results from
the use of fireworks. Also ask if there are any safety requirements in
your policy. Remember you are protected for damage to your property if
somebody else (not a family member) is responsible for the damage. Oh, those crazy neighbors…