Homeowners need to be aware of some areas that create liability risk for them. We live in a world that loves lawsuits, after all, and it’s important that you’re aware of those things so you can take steps to reduce the risk of someone getting hurt on your property. Of course, helping others avoid pain and injury is the top priority, but you can also save yourself a lot of grief (and money) by reducing liability at your house.
Look out for these potential sources of risk.
1. Trampolines and pools.
The things that can provide endless summer entertainment for the kids can also present a pretty big risk – specifically, we’re talking about trampolines and swimming pools. These are known as “attractive nuisances” because they draw people to them. Small kids can be especially susceptible, as they aren’t super aware of the potential dangers posed by these seemingly fun things. And the thing is, if a child were to sneak their way to your pool or trampoline and get hurt, you could be responsible. (And yes, you could be liable even if you weren’t aware that the child was on your property.)
This is why insurance companies aren’t too enthusiastic about insuring homes with “attractive nuisances”. However, some insurance companies will extend liability coverage for your pool. If you have a trampoline, you will likely need to have a sturdy safety net around the trampoline so no one accidentally falls off. Just be aware of that.
2. Your driveway, steps, and walkway.
Okay, so your driveway might not seem as treacherous or dangerous as a trampoline or pool. But trips and falls do happen (we’ve all faceplanted at one point or another). If there are cracks in the pavement on your driveway or if you have an uneven step, someone could take a fall. And humans aren’t indestructible, so something as simple as a fall could cause major damage.
Dogs are great, let’s make no mistake about that. But they can increase your liability risk. Insurance companies tend to get concerned about the potential for a dog bite claim. They worry about certain breeds more than others. Truly it’s nothing personal about your dog. It’s about risk.
Lower your risk.
Let’s take a look at each of these sources of liability and go over ways you can manage your risk.
- Have a safety fence.
- Make sure to supervise people.
- Keep life-saving equipment on-hand.
- No running/roughhousing.
- Take CPR and lifeguarding classes.
- Have rules posted clearly at your pool.
- Get your kids in swimming lessons taught by a certified teacher.
- When the pool isn’t in use, cover it.
- Be careful if you’re hosting a party. If there’s alcohol, make sure you have designated “supervisors”
- Supervise all trampoline-goers.
- Only let one person jump at a time.
- Remove the ladder when the trampoline isn’t being used.
- Don’t allow flips.
- Make sure springs, hooks, etc. are covered with safety padding.
- Don’t forget the safety netting.
- Place the trampoline on stable ground.
Maintaining your driveway and sidewalk is a necessary task. You need to make sure there are no holes or cracks that present a tripping hazard. Your front steps should be even so they don’t present a trip trap. If someone falls on brick, stone, or concrete, they’ll probably not be unscathed.
You need to pay attention to your dog. Make sure your dog is exposed to various environments with people and dogs when they’re young so they get properly socialized. Also, be sure to train your dog to have positive, non-aggressive behavior. Make sure they walk well on the leash and make sure they know to listen to you. Spaying and neutering can help make a dog less prone to wandering, and it can help curb aggression towards both humans and other dogs.
Do you want higher limits of liability insurance?
Homeowners with a pool, trampoline, or dog may want to think about getting higher limits of liability coverage. It can’t hurt to find out how your rate would change if you added liability coverage. It might not drive up your premium by that much. You can also think about getting an umbrella policy, which sits on top of your underlying liability policy and gives coverage that extends above and beyond the coverage on your underlying policy.
Homeowners have to be aware of their risk of liability and they need to know how to reduce that risk, but it’s also important to have the right home insurance policy to both protect your home and cover your liability. Get in touch with our team to get started with home insurance quotes. You can get started with home insurance quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.