Summertime and vacations are likely to include entertaining, travel and outdoor excursions. But before engaging in these and other recreational activities, make sure you evaluate your insurance risks and needs as summer approaches.
The following tips from the Kansas Insurance Department and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners can help.
Pools and trampolines — and maybe swing sets
Before inviting friends and family over to enjoy any of your house’s outdoor amenities, know that any of them may increase your insurance risk. Consider purchasing an umbrella policy in addition to your homeowners insurance to increase your liability coverage for any use of those objects.
However, because pools, trampolines and swing sets pose potential dangers, some companies may not insure your property if you own them, or there may be policy exclusions for liability for related injuries. An insurance company may also deny coverage or cancel your policy if you do not follow the policy’s safety guidelines or fail to inform the company when you build a pool or purchase a trampoline.
Check with your insurance provider for rates, discounts and safety guidelines (such as installing a fence or locked gate). If you lease a property with a pool, discuss your insurance options with your agent or insurance company.
A boat insurance policy provides liability coverage if someone is injured on your boat. It also covers bodily injury inflicted on others and property damage to your boat. Read your policy carefully and speak to your agent.
The personal property coverage of your homeowners policy may cover a small boat for $1,500 or less in physical damage. However, coverage for your liability risk is limited.
Personal watercrafts, such as jet skis, often require a separate policy that may be offered by your homeowners insurer. Talk with your insurance agent and get quotes from other companies to understand your options.
Also, some boat policies allow for a “lay-up” period so that coverage can be suspended during the off-season. But, because losses such as theft, fire and vandalism can occur any time, it is good for your insurance agent to review coverages to see if they can be adjusted during the off-season. And, if there is a lien on the boat, a lender may require year-round coverage.
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
ATVs are not covered by standard automobile insurance policies, but your homeowners policy may partially cover liability. Ask your agent if you have sufficient coverage. Also, ask about age restrictions regarding who may operate the ATV, or if the policy covers friends and family.
Outdoor activities increasingly include drone flying for hobbies such as photography. Because of increased drone popularity throughout the United States, having liability insurance, in case of accidents, and damage insurance, for the machine, is recommended. Drone users should check with their insurance agents about whether their homeowners policies cover drone use or whether a separate policy is needed.
Whether you are leaving home for a weekend getaway or a long road trip, be aware of what your homeowners or renters policy will cover while you are gone. Typically, your homeowners insurance will follow you, protecting you even while you are not at home.
In addition to your deductible, items will typically have a limit on items such as jewelry. If you are traveling with high-priced items, it is a good idea to get separate insurance coverage for these items. Check with your agent or company.
Contact the Kansas Insurance Department’s Consumer Assistance Division at 800-432-2484 for more information. You can also use the department’s Online Chat feature, located on the home page of our website, www.ksinsurance.org.