Homeowners Insurance: Child’s Play can be a Liability

Homeowners Insurance and Playtime

Boy riding his bike.

With summer in full swing the neighborhood streets are filled with children playing. As you send your children out to play be aware of the liability they can present.

If your child somehow causes damage to your neighbor’s property, your homeowners insurance will cover it if your child is legally liable for the damages. If someone is injured on you property your liability coverage or a person umbrella policy should cover the claim.

It’s a good idea to know when other children are playing in your yard and to know where your children are playing if not in your own yard. If a child is injured while playing on your property you may be liable for medical and other expenses. Make sure you have taken all the necessary steps to keep any visitors to your property safe and protect yourself financially with the proper insurance coverage or a personal umbrella policy.

Scooters and battery powered toy vehicles are fun to play with but may not be covered under your homeowner’s policy if someone becomes injured or causes property damage when using them. Check with your insurance agent to ensure adequate coverage for these items.

Inform your agent of any changes to your property. Trampolines and swimming pools may be considered an “attractive nuisance” – a legal principle that makes a homeowner responsible if a child trespasses onto your property and injured on a trampoline or swimming pool. Not all insurance companies will provide you with liability coverage for these items. Protect yourself by adding a fence around your yard with a self-closing, latching gate. Pool alarms provide extra security and protect you from people wanting to “take a dip” without permission.

Even though you’ve provided extra protection, nothing can replace your attentive supervision when children are playing in the yard.

From all of us at Insurance Advisors, Inc. be safe and enjoy your fun in the sun!

Safely Grilling in the Backyard

Summers mean backyard grilling – safely!

Hot dogs on a grill.Just like hamburgers and hot dogs a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer and grilling isn’t just about great food. Backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with friends and family.

Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents.

There’s good news, though: you can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers – and not your house – the next time you fire up the grill.

Tips for All Grills

  • Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames (bushes, fences, etc.).
  • NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes could kill you.
  • Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.
  • Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children play near it.

Charcoal Grill Tips

From Kingsford.com

  • Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.
  • Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.
  • Use flame – retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees.
  • To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or a bucket of water.

Gas Grill Tips

From the National Fire Protection Association

  • Check your grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you have a leak, and it will not stop after the grill and gas is turned off, have your grill serviced by a professional.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
  • Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.
  • Store propane tanks in an upright position, and never indoors.

From all of us at Insurance Advisors, Inc. happy grilling and stay safe this summer!

Firework Safety Tips

Fireworks over MinneapolisFireworks are a part of celebrating Fourth of July but, be safe about it!

  • Always purchase fireworks from a reliable source.
  • Use fireworks as directed on consumer product safety label; never alter products.
  • Observe local laws and use good COMMON SENSE.
  • Have a designated shooter to organize and shoot your family show.
  • A responsible ADULT should supervise all firework activities.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; AWAY from buildings and vehicles.
  • NEVER carry fireworks in your POCKET.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor trash can.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

These safety tips were provided to you from The National Council of Fireworks Safety

Insurance Advisors, Inc. would like to wish you a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!!

How To Prevent Cyberbullying

With today’s’ technology kids are connecting to the internet in more than one way. This increased way to connect may also increase cyberbullying

Know What Your Kids are Doing Online

Line drawing of man at computerBe aware of the sites your kids go to and the online activities they are participating in.  Ask them what sites they are going to, who they communicate with and what they are doing on the site.

Install parental control filtering software and monitor your child’s online behavior.  Inform your child that as a parent it is your responsibility to check up on their online activities to keep them safe.

Learn which sites your child likes to visit.  Ask them for the passwords to the sites and tell them you will only use them in an emergency.

Ask to be their “friend” or “follow” them on social media sites or have another trusted adult do so.

Encourage your child to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, are being cyberbullied. Help your child understand that they can always come to you if they are being bullied or encourage them to go to another agreed upon trusted adult in your absence.

Technology Use Rules

Sit down and talk to your child about appropriate use of cell phones, computers or other social networking capable devices.  Make sure they understand what sites they are allowed to visit and which are not allowed.

Teach kids about what should and shouldn’t be shared on social networking sites.  Set up the account together and show them how to block personal information such as home address, home or cell phone numbers, what school they go to and what pictures are appropriate to share.  Help them understand that once it is posted on a social website it is always there even if they delete the picture it may already have been shared with someone else.

Remind your child not to share their password with friends.  Help your child understand that sharing a password can compromise their online identities and activities.

By: Christine Gaffron, Insurance Advisors, Inc.

     Source: stopbullying.gov

Lawn Work Safety Tips

Let’s Keep Our Lawns – and Ourselves – Safe in Minnesota

For many of our neighbors in Minnesota, summer means more than sunshine and vacations. It also means working in the yard – often with tools that can be dangerous if not used properly.

Child eating strawberries in the garden.Each year about 400,000 people are treated for injuries from lawn and garden tools, according to the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Don’t let your landscaping efforts land you in the hospital. Follow these handy safety tips.

Lawn Tool Safety Tips from the U.S. CPSC

  • Dress appropriately. To protect yourself from debris when using lawn tools, wear eye protection, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, close-fitting clothes and no jewelry.  Sturdy shoes are recommended, and ear plugs may be appropriate depending on how loud the lawn equipment is.
  • Before starting, remove objects from your work area that could cause injury or damage, such as sticks, glass or stones.
  • Keep children indoors and supervised at all times when any outdoor power equipment is being used.  Never let a child ride or operate a garden tractor or riding mower, even if the child is supervised.  And never assume children will remain where you last saw them.
  • Use extreme caution when backing up or approaching corners, shrubs, and trees.
  • Teenagers using power equipment should always be supervised by an adult.
  • Handle gasoline carefully. Never fill tanks while machinery is on or when equipment is still hot.  Of course, you should never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline or any gasoline-powered equipment.
  • Do not work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions.  For protection against electrocution, use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)
  • Be sure that extension cords are in good condition, are rated for outdoor use, and are the proper gauge for the electrical current capacity of the tool.

Lawn Chemical Safety Tips from Texas A&M University

  • If you use chemicals to control seeds or pest in your lawn, read the product label carefully so you understand the potential effects on humans, animals and the environment.  Follow all instructions.
  • Keep children and animals away from the application area, and protect your skin, eyes and nose during and after application.
  • Remember, use only the recommended amount. Using more of the chemical will not do a better job.
  • Ask yourself if you truly need to use a general pesticide. Is there a product that will specifically treat only the problem you need to solve?

From all of us at Insurance Advisors, Inc. Here’s to keeping both you and your lawn healthy this summer!

Also See:
Garage Safety Tips