The “fun in the sun” season is upon us. But before you take a dip in the pool or hop on your brand-new motorcycle for a ride, be sure you and your loved ones are covered in the event of a vacation mishap.
It’s important to evaluate your summer insurance needs. That includes knowing your risks and considering your insurance coverage and liability. Safety does not take a summertime break.
Pool insurance to keep you afloat
It may offer refreshing breaks from scorching summer heat, but a sparkling backyard pool can put you in the financial deep end if you don’t have the right amount of insurance.
Pools can be dangerous, so they increase your liability risk because you stand a greater chance of being sued or having to pay someone’s medical expenses. Nearly 400 children younger than 15 drown each year in pools and spas, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Boost your liability coverage when you put in a new pool. And consider an umbrella policy, which increases your liability coverage beyond what you have on other policies.
A few hundred dollars a year may allow you to get up to $1 million in additional liability protection beyond your existing auto and/or property insurance coverages. Most insurance companies offer limits of $1 million and higher, if that is what you need to protect your assets.
Before installing a pool, review the standards and codes where you live. Those could include requirements for safety equipment, such as fences and locks, says the institute.
It’s not just any ol’ car
That classic car calling from the garage for its chance in the sunlight demands separate insurance from your regular set of wheels because of its limited use and higher value.
Insurers offer agreed-value or stated-value policies. You’ll likely want agreed-value, which means you and your insurer agree on the car’s value. In case of loss, the company will pay you the full amount on the policy, minus your deductible. Stated-value policies leave your classic car’s value open to interpretation by the insurer, according to the institute, which adds that these policies are rarely sold.
See if your insurer has the resources to help find rare parts and mechanics with the know-how to handle any damage to your baby. Ask if you’d be able to send the car across state lines to a mechanic of your choice.
Liability coverage is especially important with collector cars, which can be difficult to drive if they have small windows or lack mirrors.
Boat coverage from stem to stern
Buy a watercraft for summer fun off dry land, and you’ll take on a boatload of risk.
Homeowners or renters insurance offers little to no coverage for boats. For larger and faster boats, or personal watercraft — like Jet Skis — you’ll need a separate marine policy.
Your premiums will depend on your boating background, type of boat and where you’ll use it. your age, credit history, driving record, boating certifications and whether you own or rent a home can affect your policy cost, too.
Proper boat insurance will pay if your boat is accidentally lost or damaged and cover damage or injuries to others, as well as your legal costs, if someone takes your boat for a joy ride without permission.
Easy ridin’ the right way
Thinking about buying a motorcycle to rev up your summer recreation? Weigh your coverage options first.
All motorcyclists are required to have liability coverage for property damage and bodily injury that they may cause to other people in an accident. Check with your agent to see if that coverage would also protect passengers on your bike.
In Northern states, bike owners who ride mostly during the warm-weather months may be able to get what’s called a “lay-up” policy, which suspends all coverage during the winter except for comprehensive. That can help cut the cost of insurance for the rider.
But a part-year rider may want to consider full-year coverage anyway, even though comprehensive covers non accident damage, such as from fire, vandalism and theft.
Whether you’ve had an accident, where you ride, your age and how you store the bike all affect your motorcycle insurance premiums. Discounts are available if you’ve taken a safe-riding course, are a member of a motorcycle organization or club, or if you own more than one bike.
Hit the road with the insurance you need
The idea of a summer road trip can seem dreamy. But when you go to rent that convertible, know what your own auto insurance covers before you accept the rental company’s policy.
The insurance sold at the rental counter typically includes, among other things, liability protection for lawsuits, personal accident insurance for medical or ambulance needs, and personal effects coverage for theft of your belongings in the car, says the institute.
You may not need all of that. Check your auto policy and your credit card agreement, which also may provide car rental coverage.
Here’s a key question: If a rental is damaged, will you have to pay upfront for repairs and wait for reimbursement, or will your insurer cover the costs right away?
Crossing into Canada or Mexico? Look into insurance requirements and whether you need to take proof of coverage.
Hit the road with the insurance you need
Renting out your home for vacation use can be cost-effective for everyone involved. Vacation rentals are growing in popularity, but insurance requirements vary considerably, depending on the length and frequency of the stays.
Some insurers may allow a short-term rental (a week or several weekends) of your primary home under your home insurance policy. Other insurance companies may require additional coverage.
For longer rentals, you’ll need a landlord or rental-dwelling policy. Regular rentals, whether short- or long-term, won’t be covered by your homeowners insurance. You’ll have to buy the sort of business policy appropriate for either a hotel or bed-and-breakfast, according to the institute.
If you’re renting someone else’s home for your own summer vacation, talk to your agent about whether your own home insurance covers damage or theft where you’re renting. If you book through an online vacation listing website, it may offer a property damage policy as part of the package.
Have more summer fun knowing you're covered. If you have any questions, give us a call.