Upgrading your backyard? You may need to upgrade your insurance policy as well.

Upgrading your backyard? You may need to upgrade your insurance policy as well.

Jun 24 2020

Upgrading your backyard? You may need to upgrade your insurance policy as well.

The summer of 2020 will likely be very different for many this year.  Instead of summer trips many families are enhancing their backyards by installing pools, trampolines, and treehouses to create their own fun at home. Your friends at Bearingstar are here to remind you that before you do make these updates, you should give us a call to review your policy to make sure you have the proper coverage. We’ve also outlined a few risks and scenarios you should keep in mind as you prepare for your new yard.

Swimming Pools – Do I need extra insurance when I install a pool or hot tub? 

You certainly want to be sure you have enough coverage if the worst should happen.  Ultimately, it is the homeowners responsibility to be sure people are safe when having fun in their pool or hot tub; but even with supervision and added safety measures, accidents do happen. Without the proper coverage, such as increased liability or an umbrella policy, expenses will most likely be coming out of your own pocket if anyone is injured. 

Pools and hot tubs are considered an “attractive nuisance” by the insurance industry. As enjoyable as they are, it will increase your liability risk so it’s advisable to contact your insurance professional and review your insurance if you’ve just got a pool or are planning to install one.

Scenario:

Your kids invite friends over for a dip in the pool. While running to dive in, one of the friends slips on the wet concrete and hits their head on the ground. Unfortunately, this type of incident is quite common, as residential pools have high rates of injury. Without umbrella insurance, you could end up paying the medical bills for your child’s friend. The medical costs for swimming pool-related injuries can be thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars if long-term care is needed. An umbrella policy can help prevent financial ruin if you are sued.

Trampolines – Does homeowners insurance cover trampolines? 

Many insurers don’t cover trampolines because of the high potential for injuries associated with them. That means you could be held liable for any resulting accidents, even if someone is on your property without your knowledge. Some insurers have no restrictions when it comes to having a trampolines, some offer coverage only if netted and others do not offer coverage. This is why it is so important to call your agent if you have recently purchased a trampoline.

Scenario:

Your neighbor’s child sneaks over to use the trampoline in your backyard. She sustains a broken ankle and requires surgery.  Without the proper insurance, the cost to diagnose and treat her could be very high, and you would be paying for it.

Sheds – Is my new shed covered by my homeowners insurance? 

While building your own shed is both fun and empowering, it’s important to always let your insurance agent know. Homeowners insurance does cover sheds and other structures not attached to your home, but it is important to check that you have adequate coverage for the new structure and have it recorded with your agent.

Scenario:

You build or buy a shed and forgot to let your insurance company know about the new structure. A storm rolls through and a tree falls and completely ruins the new shed and all your appliances you moved into it for storage. Since you didn’t update your homeowners policy to include the cost of the new shed all damages, and the items inside, could be coming straight out of your own pocket if you’re not properly insured.

Treehouses – Do I Need Insurance for My Treehouse?

Standard homeowners insurance could help cover tree house-related injuries. But if your treehouse is damaged in an accident, you may be responsible for the repairs. Treehouses also fall under a category of an “attractive nuisance”.  A treehouse increases the likelihood of potential injuries and your home insurance rate may increase as a result.

Because coverage can vary from company to company, you should speak with your agent to be sure you have adequate protection and that you’re not in violation of your policy, which could lead to cancellation or non-renewal.  You may also want to discuss an umbrella policy for extra liability coverage. 

Scenario:

Your children and their friends are having a great time playing in the treehouse. One of the neighbor’s kids is leaning on an old part of the railing. It breaks and the child falls and is severely injured.  They require years of rehabilitation and therapy. The child’s family files a lawsuit to pay for the ongoing bills associated with the accident.  Increased liability limits and an umbrella policy can help pay for these expenses. 

Umbrella Insurance – Are Umbrella polices expensive? 

We sure have talked about liability a lot here.  Are you starting to get the feeling that maybe you need to look into an umbrella policy? Worried about the cost?  Umbrella insurance can be surprisingly affordable. We have carriers with limits available from $1 to $5 million at attractive and competitive pricing. In fact, the average Arbella $1 million personal umbrella premium in Massachusetts is $246* for the full year. That’s less than your daily cup of coffee!

Have more questions about your backyard and your insurance policy? Connect with a local Bearingstar Insurance agent today. With offices throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, it’s easy to find a local agent to help with your insurance needs!

*Issuance of Coverage is subject to Underwriting and actual cost depends upon each insured’s unique attributes; average costs may differ in Connecticut.

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