What better way is there to enjoy the warm summer months than in or around the water, whether it be at the pool, the lake or on the boat. But water and risk go hand-in-hand. Everyone needs to take appropriate precautions—and you need to be sure that you are properly insured—to make sure the summer fun doesn’t go down the drain.
Having a pool in your yard is a great way to keep busy and stay cool all summer long. But homeowners with backyard pools also have a great deal of responsibility for the safety of their families and guests. In addition, pool owners need to take steps to protect themselves from lawsuits and financial devastation. Consider these tips to reduce your liability risk and above all keep swimmers safe from harm.
- A fence with a locked gate should surround your pool.
- Install a pool alarm.
- Keep the pool covered at all times when it is not being used.
- If you have an above ground pool, remove the ladder when the pool is not being used.
- Never let children swim alone.
- Children and inexperienced swimmers should stay in the shallow area, if applicable.
- Do not allow diving into shallow areas of the pool.
- Always keep safety equipment and flotation devices nearby.
- Consider getting CPR-certified.
- Make sure all drains have anti-entrapment covers.
- Discourage running on the pool deck, and keep trip-and-fall hazards out of the way.
- Store pool chemicals out of reach of children.
- Maintain proper chemical levels in your pool at all times, and check levels regularly.
You will likely want to have increased liability limits on your homeowners insurance policy if you have a backyard swimming pool. You also need to make sure that you have adequate coverage for the swimming pool itself in the event that it is damaged.
Pool owners should also consider purchasing a personal umbrella policy to add excess liability coverage to their insurance portfolio.
Boating is also a wonderful way to spend a hot summer day. But before you head out on the water, remember the following boating safety tips to be sure you have a pleasant, injury-free day.
- Monitor the weather forecast before you head out. Let someone know where you are going and when to expect you.
- Check the engine, fuel, electrical and steering systems before heading out.
- Keep fire extinguishers on board and ready for use.
- Your boat must be equipped with navigation lights and a whistle, horn or bell.
- Keep a paddle or oars, a first-aid kit, fresh water, a tool kit and spare parts, a flashlight, flares and a radio on board at all times.
- Make sure that everyone on board wears a life jacket.
- Do not permit riding on the bow or seatbacks.
- Never operate your boat while intoxicated.
And don’t forget your boat insurance! Boat insurance is similar to car insurance. Boat collision coverage pays for the cost of repairing or replacing your boat due to physical damage resulting from a collision. Boat liability coverage pays for damage that you cause to someone’s property or injuries that you cause to an individual while you are operating your boat. Boat comprehensive coverage pays for repairing or replacing your boat if it is stolen, vandalized or damaged in some way other than a collision.
There are also a variety of optional coverage types for your boat. Your coverage needs will depend on the type of boat you have, custom features, the property you keep on board, and how and where you use your boat.
Having a boat is also another reason to consider a personal umbrella policy. Personal umbrella insurance provides excess liability protection above and beyond your other insurance policies (auto, home, boat, etc.). Because the risk of being liable for someone else’s injuries or some type of damage to someone else’s property increase when you own a boat, a personal umbrella policy can help ensure that you are properly protected.
Are you ready to get out on the water, or splash into the pool? Do you take appropriate safety precautions? Do you have the right insurance?