Hardy families brave the summer heat and venture into their backyards to enjoy pools, barbecues, trampolines, and other joys of the season. But the backyard and its contents aren’t all fun and games. We don’t want to rain on your backyard party, but let’s take a moment to ponder what can go wrong. What if a criminal sneaks into your yard and nicks your $900 gas barbecue grill? Or what if a neighbor kid breaks her wrist when falling off your trampoline? Your friends at Buzz urge you to review your insurance policies before disaster puts a damper on your summer.
First, the Fence
We admit it. At Buzz, we’re a little biased. Our favorite part of the backyard is our glorious fence. So what if a summer thunderstorm knocks a healthy tree over on your fence? Whether the tree belonged to you or your neighbor, your fence probably falls under “other structures coverage” on your home insurance policy. Note, we said a healthy tree. If that old oak was diseased for years, your insurance company won’t have much compassion for you and your poor demolished fence.
Your number one way to cool off is also your number one backyard insurance liability. Adding a pool means you might need to bump your liability coverage up a half million dollars. In insurance terms, pools are often called an “attractive nuisance,” which means they can attract trespassers as easily as the pied piper. Most municipalities have specific rules about fences, gates and latches to keep trespassing children away from your pool. Good news: Your friends at Buzz are skilled at building pool fences and gates! Note: Fences may also keep your pool gator-free.
Other High Risk Backyard Items
Trampolines and treehouses are almost as fun as pools, and are similarly attractive nuisances. Broken bones and concussions are unhappy byproducts of both. Coverage varies by state, so review your policy carefully and consider phoning your insurer. You’ll probably find you have either no exclusion for trampolines, which means your policy doesn’t restrict ownership or usage; coverage with safety precautions, meaning you’ll need a net enclosure or fenced-in yard (Give us a call!); or a trampoline exclusion, which means no dice.
Now, back to that $900 grill. Generally, it’s covered as personal property under a homeowner’spolicy. But that’s no reason to make it easy for thieves. Consider putting your grill on wheels and rolling it into a shed when you’re not using it. Or chain it to a post in your backyard. Or go high tech and attach a sensor and alarm. Your insurance company will smile upon these precautions.
Other personal property
Lawn furniture, lawn mowers and mountain bikes are also usually covered as personal property. Again, take precautions against theft. Especially with bikes, which are not only valuable, but even serve as the perp’s getaway car.
Remember, we’re not insurers, we’re fence builders. So talk to your insurance company to clarify your policy, and call us if you’re ready for a new fence.