Summertime brings with it a host of opportunities for vacationing, outdoor recreation, and simply enjoying the warm weather. Regrettably, all those things also bring opportunities for disastrous – and expensive – accidents. It makes sense to take every reasonable precaution to prevent problems when you’re aware of the potential for danger, but sometimes despite your best efforts, disaster still strikes. That’s why it’s also wise to carry insurance coverage that will protect you in the event of these misfortunes. Here are a few of the types of insurance you may wish to consider, depending on your summer plans and needs.
Rental Car. There are more cars on the road during the summer months, and with that increased traffic comes a greater risk of an accident. You know how your insurance covers you if you’re involved in an accident in your own car, but what if you’re driving a rental? Check your auto policy. If you don’t have collision coverage there, the credit card you use to reserve the rental may offer coverage. Failing that, you can purchase liability insurance for the duration of your rental when you rent your vehicle. The rental companies tend to go for the hard sell with their insurance policies, so it’s a good idea to find out before you rent what kind of coverage you already have. You’ll also want to pay careful attention on the pre-rental walk-around, taking photos of any damage inside or outside the vehicle before you drive off the rental lot, so the rental company can’t claim that you’re responsible for that damage.
Swimming Pool. The presence of a pool on your property necessarily entails the presence of the risk of someone drowning. Insurance experts recommend swimming pool owners increase the liability coverage of their homeowner’s policy to $300,000 to $500,000 – more if you have significant assets. Many municipalities have specific laws requiring fences with locks or latches around swimming pools, and it’s wise to take other precautions, like keeping the cover on the pool when not in use and taking a water rescue course.
Play Equipment. A bouncy castle rented for a child’s party, or a trampoline bought for exercise are similar in many ways: they both provide the opportunity for fun outdoor play, and they can both result in serious injury in the event of a mishap. If you own a trampoline, create an enclosure around it to keep unsupervised children away, and check your homeowner’s policy. Many policies have specific limits regarding trampolines, and you may want to increase your coverage.
Sports Injuries. Summer weather offers great opportunity for participation in recreational sports… unfortunately requiring you to consider the possibility of sports injuries. First, health insurance is absolutely crucial. If you need emergency care, you may not be in a position to decide where you’re treated – but if possible, choose a hospital or urgent care center in your network. If your injury is severe enough to keep you out of work for a time, you may need to rely on short-term disability insurance, which may be available through your employer as part of your compensation package.
Dog Bites. When the weather is warm and clear, you naturally want to take your dog outside more. More time spent outside means more exposure to strangers who may make your dog feel frightened or threatened, however. The CDC reports that 30 percent of all dog bite incidents take place during the three summer months (June, July, and August). Check your homeowner’s or renter’s policy; some insurers have breed-specific restrictions, so you’ll want to make sure that your insurer is aware of the animals that are part of your family. Other precautions you can take are spaying or neutering your dog, socializing them to a variety of people early in life, and maintaining a training schedule to ensure your dog responds to basic commands.
Summer Flooding. Stormy summer weather can bring with it water damage and flooding, even in areas deemed low-risk. Standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flood damage, so you should consider separate flood insurance. Bear in mind: roughly 20 percent of claims through the Flood Insurance Program are filed by people living in areas labeled low- or moderate-risk for flooding.
Boat Accidents. Boating is wonderful warm-weather recreation, but boats are just as susceptible to accidents and crashes as cars, with the added complication of everything taking place over water. Small vessels like canoes and kayaks may be covered by your homeowner’s policy, but it’s wise to check ahead of time. Anything larger, like a jet ski or boat, will require the purchase of a boat policy. The cost will vary depending on the value of your boat, where you store it, and how much liability coverage you carry.
Vacation Renting. If you’re going on an extended vacation or have a summer home that you aren’t using, you might consider listing it for rent to earn some extra money. Of course, renting out your home or other property opens you up to the risk of damage by the renters. According to Airbnb, such damage is very uncommon, but that’s little consolation if you wind up as the unlucky rare case. If you only rent out your property occasionally, your homeowner’s policy might be sufficient, but renting with regularity will probably require a separate policy; your insurance agent can help you determine where that line is drawn, and what coverage best fits your needs.
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