Summer is upon us. It can be a lot of fun, but families should take a few precautionary steps to limit seasonal risks. The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America offered the following tips to help make your summer a happy and safe one.
• Understand your liability and risks. Some boats 16 feet or smaller can be covered under your homeowners’ policy. However, if they’re larger or have inboard motors, they typically require separate coverage under a special boat owners’ policy. This insurance is determined by size, liability, location of use, and dockage specifications.
• Never use a boat that isn’t equipped with fully operational safety equipment onboard. At a minimum, any boat should contain life preservers for all occupants, a well-stocked first aid kit, powerful flashlight, two-way VHF radio, fire extinguisher, flare kit, and local area water chart. Large boats also should contain additional lines of varied size and an inflatable lifeboat.
• Never exceed the passenger capacity recommended by the manufacturer, and always keep all owners’ manuals onboard.
• Take a boat safety and operations course, sponsored in many communities by the U.S. Power Squadron or Coast Guard.
• Most homeowners and auto policies won’t protect you for theft, liability, or injury related to the use of these vehicles. They require special coverage, even for use only on the owner’s private property. Tell your insurance agent if you purchase a moped, motorbike, or golf cart for your personal use.
• Don’t let children operate these vehicles, and drive in control at all times.
• Always fence in a pool, and check your state and local ordinances for fence height requirements. Fencing should include a locked gate that generally should remain locked. As a pool owner, you’re responsible and liable for anyone who comes onto your property and into your pool—even accidentally.
• Always cover an empty or partially empty pool in the off-season. Serious injuries can result from children or others jumping or falling into a pool that isn’t full.
• Never let children swim alone, and keep a properly maintained supply of safety equipment in plain view of all swimmers. This includes life rings and other floats, lines, and a first aid kit.
• Maintain the pool properly. Check pool edges thoroughly at the beginning and end of each season to ensure no tile, cement, or other material has come loose. Sun and other elements can damage these edges and pose a hazard to those who step or pull up on them. Always use a non-slip, quick-drying material to avoid injuries on walkways and other areas surrounding the pool.
• Tell your insurance agent if you install a backyard pool. Some homeowners’ policies exclude pools, and extra coverage will be needed. IBI