Summer generally arrives with a huge surge in personal activities. School ends and parents start searching for leisure and recreational activities for themselves and their children. The activities range from elaborate vacations or summer-long camps to simply buying play and sports equipment (or getting it out of storage) and renewing park and pool passes.
Summer fun's dark side
It is important to remember that good, clean fun can also have consequences when things go wrong. Using sports equipment such as tennis racquets, baseballs, baseball bats, Frisbees, lawn darts, or horseshoes has the potential to harm others. Danger accompanies the operation of skateboards, bikes, mopeds, go-karts, and radio-controlled cars, helicopters and planes. An even larger area of concern may involve inviting friends over to use your driveway, play equipment or swimming pool. The potential liability comes from either you having fun at the expense of other persons or their property, or failing to take precautions that persons you've invited to your residence (or other places) are safe to enjoy themselves.
How to preserve your fun
The easiest way to prepare for your summer liability is to ask yourself some questions:
- What can I do to keep other persons safe from my activities?
- Am I prepared to be responsible for people I hurt or property I damage?
- How do I make my home and yard safe for fun-seeking visitors?
- Am I keeping my guests to various events safe?
While accidents happen, many can be prevented by making sure that you and your children enjoy your activities responsibly. Operating bikes safely and in low traffic areas reduces the chance that others will be hurt. The proper use of games and equipment also make the likelihood of having someone injured more remote. In other words, it's important that your family uses sports and game equipment safely and appropriately. Adult supervision is critical for potentially dangerous activities such as the use of motorized recreational equipment, trampolines, and swimming pools (including small wading pools). It's also important to make certain that guests you invite for camping or hiking trips are watched after carefully. In many instances, you are responsible for the safety of your guests when you invite them to enjoy outdoor activities, particularly boating or other activities involving water-related equipment.
Another way to reduce the chance of others being hurt is to do an inspection of your home and yard. Do you have an adequate fence (with secure or self-locking gate) to protect young children from a pool when you're not around? Is your playground equipment well-maintained and strong enough to support the weight of the children using it? Is your yard and driveway free of tripping hazards? Are dangerous items such as tools, chemicals and lawn equipment kept out of reach of children? If you can answer "no" to any of these questions, you're inviting trouble.
Insurance plays a role
When accidents happen, they may be followed by medical expenses and, more seriously, lawsuits. You must be protected against such financial consequences. Don't assume you have coverage, especially when an activity involves motorized or powered equipment. You may have to add coverage to your homeowner policy or even buy special coverage for mini-bikes, mopeds, boats, all-terrain vehicles, etc.
So make safety a part of getting ready for summer fun. It's also smart to include a visit or call to your insurance professional to make sure you have the right coverage to support a fun summer.
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