The summer season is officially underway so many of us are looking forward to vacations, swimming pools, boating on the lake or long, lazy road trips.
Before you hit the air, road or water though, give careful thought to your insurance needs and how the summer season may require adjustments to your coverage.
"Safety does not take a summertime break and, in fact, this season presents unique risks for injury or property damage,” said Jan Tripp, president & CEO of Members Insurance Advisors, LLC, Delta Community’s wholly-owned insurance agency. “We encourage everyone to review their insurance policies before summer vacations.”
As the summer of 2016 gets into full swing, consider how the changing season may change your insurance needs in these six areas.
Backyard Swimming Pools
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says each year nearly 400 children drown in swimming pools and spas. Since backyard pools can be dangerous, they increase liability because homeowners stand a greater chance of being sued or having to pay medical expenses.
That’s why it is vital that pool owners have the appropriate type and amount of insurance. Regular homeowners insurance may not provide enough coverage for a swimming pool, and some policies may even exclude them.
Boost your liability coverage if you have a pool and talk to your insurance agent about whether you need an umbrella policy, which increases your coverage beyond what you have on other policies. A few hundred dollars a year more may allow you to obtain up to $1 million in additional liability protection beyond your existing property insurance coverages.
If you’re still in the planning stages or just thinking about installing a pool, be sure to review any homeowner association standards and county codes where you live.
If you have a boat, you also have a boatload of risk. Homeowners or renters insurance may provide coverage, but larger or faster boats and personal watercraft, like Jet Skis, require a separate marine policy.
The cost of insurance premiums will depend on your boating record, the type of boat and where it will be used. Your age, credit history, driving record, boating certifications and whether you own or rent a home can also affect policy cost.
The right insurance will pay off if your boat is lost or damaged, or if someone else’s property is damaged. It will also cover personal injuries and legal costs.
If you are pre-paying for an expensive vacation, or going on a cruise or group tour, buy trip insurance. Policies, which cost about 5% of the total cost of your trip, provide a refund if you get sick or if you miss your trip because of a family member’s illness. Policies can also cover tour operator or airline default.
Purchase trip insurance from your own insurer, or an independent provider, not the tour group or cruise line, since those policies usually best protect the provider. And always pay deposits with a credit card which may give you additional protection if your trip is cancelled.
Nothing says summer more than a road trip, especially in a convertible car. If your summer vacation plans include rental cars, be sure you understand what your personal auto insurance covers before you accept the rental company's policy.
Insurance policies sold at car rental counters often include liability protection, personal accident insurance for medical or ambulance needs, and personal effects coverage for theft of your belongings in the car.
You may already have the necessary coverage through your own auto insurance or even through a credit card. Check to see if your credit card provides coverage on rentals if you use that card to pay for the car.
No matter how you handle it, it’s important to fully understand your coverage. For example, if you damage a rental car you may have to pay for repairs upfront and then wait for a reimbursement. That unexpected expense could ruin vacation plans, so find out if your insurance will cover repair costs right away.
Vacationers looking to rent a home or condo during the summer have more options than ever, thanks to Airbnb and similar sites. If you're renting someone else's home for a summer vacation, ask your insurance agent if your own homeowners insurance covers damage or theft where you're staying. If you book through an online vacation listing website, that company may offer coverage as part of the package.
If you are renting your home to others, insurance requirements vary widely. Some short-term rentals may be covered under your regular homeowner’s insurance policy. For longer rentals, you'll need a landlord or rental-dwelling policy. It costs more than a standard policy, but you get more protection against property damage and liability.
For ongoing or regular rentals, you will likely have to buy the sort of business policy appropriate for either a hotel or bed-and-breakfast.
Planning a vacation may not seem to go hand-in-hand with planning for worst-case scenarios, but take some time to review your life insurance coverage. If you need help or have questions, call one of the professionals at Delta Community’s Members Insurance Advisors.
Whether you’re a thrill-seeking adventurer or a laid-back beach bum, an advisor can help ensure your summer is even more relaxing because you will have the peace of mind of knowing your family’s financial future is secure.