Summer time is best spent outdoors. Jumping in the pool. Taking the boat out. Getting away for a road trip on your motorcycle. However, it is easier to enjoy the great weather when you know your summer “toys” are properly insured.
“The season of summer usually conjures up feelings of fun, especially vacations, swimming, boating, fishing, picnics and other outdoor activities, but along with the fun comes responsibility,” says Cliff Baseler, vice president at Best Hoovler Insurance Services Inc., a SeibertKeck company.
Smart Business spoke with Baseler about how to handle insurance for these extra items.
What is personal lines insurance?
Personal lines insurance is a layer of protection that provides coverage for you and your assets, such as your home, car and possessions, against damage, theft and other potential risks.
When it comes to boats, jet skis, RVs, motorcycles, summer cars, pools, etc., what insurance should you have?
Watercraft, such as boats or jet skis, are placed under a marine policy. These annual policies would provide coverage for bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury is any injury that you caused to someone else’s body, while property damage is damage caused to the boat.
Recreational vehicles (RVs), motorcycles and summer cars require an auto policy separate from your everyday auto policy that is specialized for unique autos. In some cases, a company will be able to add the watercraft and/or special vehicle to your current home policy as an endorsement.
While pools typically are covered under your homeowner’s policy, there are specific requirements to ensure safety. These include, but are not limited to, the depth of the water with diving boards, slides and fence specifications, such as height, area around the pool, self-closing and self-latching gates. Be sure to check with your agent for specific rules and regulations for your pool.
How can you make sure these items are insured to value, and what kind of cost could you be looking at?
While it is important to insure all of your summer toys, it is even more important that they are insured properly and to value; this is critical at a time of loss. The value of the item is best determined by using the year, make, model, value and any customized additions. These details are often reviewed at the annual renewal of your policy for updates and additions.
Premiums also will vary based on many factors. A stand-alone marine policy for a pontoon-style boat valued at $10,000 could have an annual premium of anywhere from $500 to $750, but this is all contingent on the individual’s underwriting information such as insurance score and loss history. Also, some companies provide credits if you package all your insurance, meaning you place your boat with your home and auto. This would also apply to an RV or motorcycle.
Are there ways to save on the premium upfront without jeopardizing important coverage?
Premium savings on ‘toys’ are similar to savings on your current insurance program. Your insurance score, loss history, location, age and marital status will influence the rates applied. The better your insurance score, the lower your premium — just as a high claims history will result in higher premiums.
What else do you need to know about this kind of coverage?
When making a claim, the first step is to contact the proper authorities to help if someone is injured. Then, you will need to call your insurance agent with the details of the event and secure the contact information needed from all parties. Taking photos and obtaining contact information from witnesses is highly encouraged. Your claims adjustor will assist in the entire process.
Surprisingly, most homeowner’s insurance does not cover summer toys for your kids, such as mini-electric cars and scooters. Considered a toy, these are often overlooked but have the potential to be harmful.
When purchasing ‘toys’ it is best to advise your insurance agent immediately. He or she will make sure they are properly insured to value and be able to offer some safety tips to ensure you have a safe and fun summer.
Cliff Baseler is vice president at Best Hoovler Insurance Services Inc., a SeibertKeck company. Reach him at (614) 246-7475 or [email protected]
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