It’s time to put the boat on the lake and get the ATVs out of storage. It’s also a great time to check with your insurance agent to make sure your summer fun items are properly protected. Here are some tips on reviewing your coverage, and some questions to ask your agent, to make sure you and your family are insured for the increased risks that come with those fun outdoor activities.
Small boats may be automatically covered by your homeowner’s policy, but coverage is limited depending on the size of the boat and the motor. If you own a boat, ask your insurance agent about a boatowner’s policy that covers physical damage to the boat and any liability that might result from its use.
Personal watercrafts, such as jet skis, will also require a separate insurance policy.
Questions to ask your agent before putting your boat or personal watercraft in the water:
- Does my policy have adequate liability limits?
- Are there special discounts for taking safety courses?
- Who does the policy cover to operate the boat or personal watercraft?
- Is the liability of towing skiers or persons on tubes covered by my policy?
Owning and operating a boat or jet ski puts you at increased risk for liability losses. Consider adding a personal umbrella policy to provide liability coverage above what your boat policy offers. Talk to your insurance agent about your options.
Golf carts are a popular recreational vehicle both on and off the golf course. Coverage for personally-owned golf carts under the homeowners and auto policies is typically only provided by endorsement. Golf carts that are regularly used off premises may require a separate policy, or may be added to your personal auto policy as a recreational vehicle. Check with your agent for available coverage options.
Questions to ask your insurance agent:
- Are golf carts permitted on public roads if this is their primary use?
- Are they required to be registered?
- Are there age restrictions on who may operate the golf cart?
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are also not covered by standard automobile insurance policies; however, your homeowner’s policy might partially cover your liability on an ATV. Ask your insurance agent or company if this coverage is enough to protect you and your family. You might want to consider a separate ATV policy to make sure you are properly insured.
Questions to ask your insurance agent:
- Are there age restrictions on who may operate the ATV?
- Does my policy cover friends or family who are operating the ATV?
- Is there a discount for taking an operator safety course or for riding with a helmet?
Be sure to ask if your homeowner’s policy specifies any safety guidelines you are required to follow, such as installing a certain height fence or locked gate for example.
An insurance company can deny coverage or cancel your policy if you do not follow the safety guidelines or do not inform the company when you install a pool. Check with your insurance agent for rates and safety guidelines before installing one.
Having a pool puts you at increased risk for liability losses. You may also want to consider purchasing an umbrella policy to provide liability coverage above what your homeowner’s policy offers.
While these prized possessions are often insured year-round, they get the most road time in the warmer months. Before taking it out of storage for the summer, talk to your agent about your coverage needs for your classic or antique auto.
For some of us, renting our summer fun is the way to go. But rentals also carry their own set of insurance risks and exposures.
Most standard personal auto policies don’t provide coverage for damage to a rented motor home. While liability coverage for personal use is provided, considering the size of a motor home and the potential damage they can cause, the liability limits on your personal auto policy may be not be enough.
Car rental companies offer optional insurance coverage called Collision Damage Waiver to protect you from financial responsibility should the vehicle be stolen or damaged while under your control. Personal liability, bodily injury, and property damage would still be covered under your personal auto policy.
One of the most common rental scenarios for watercraft involves jet skis. Despite their popularity, most standard homeowner’s policies limit the liability coverage available for rented jet skis to those with 50 HP or less, so this limitation may exclude coverage for many, if not most, rented jet skis. Most non-motorized watercraft such as kayaks, rafts, canoes, and rowboats should be covered, but it’s always best to check with your agent prior to renting.
What about physical damage coverage? Consider the cost to replace a pontoon boat should you be found liable by the marina or rental establishment. Carefully read all rental agreements to make sure you know exactly what you’ll be liable for.
Your personal liability coverage follows you anywhere in the world, as does coverage for your personal belongings. Should your rented vacation home be damaged or become uninhabitable, there may be no Loss of Use coverage under your homeowner’s policy, so you would be responsible for expenses to find other lodging or to travel home.
Whether you own or rent your summer fun, a personal umbrella policy offers an additional layer of protection over what most primary liability policies provide. Talk to your agent about the extra protection of an umbrella policy.
Some information noted above courtesy of the Ohio Department of Insurance.
The coverages above are described in the most general terms and are subject to the actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions, and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact your independent insurance agent.
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