summer boating

SUMMERTIME INSURANCE CLAIMS

Summer can be one of the best times of year to get outdoors. Unfortunately, some of that extra activity can lead to accidents and possibly more insurance claims. With some caution and the right coverage in place, summer risks can be managed easily to make way for summer fun!

Here are some of the most common types of insurance claims related to summer, along with some tips on how to avoid them:

OUTDOOR FIRES

Barbecuing on a grill and sitting around a fire pit are enjoyable on a summer evening, but they can quickly turn into disaster if you’re not careful.

U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,900 home fires per year in 2009-13 involving grills, hibachis or barbecues, according to a report by the National Fire Protection Association. They caused $118 million in property damage, with almost all of it from structure fires.

Propane gas from grills was involved in 83 percent of the home fires, the NFPA reported. Leaks or breaks were the main causes of gas grill fires. Other causes were a failure to clean the grill, having the grill too close to something that could catch fire, and leaving the grill unattended.

The best solutions? Don’t leave a grill near flammables and don’t leave it unattended. If you have a charcoal grill, make sure the embers are out before leaving it. You’ll want to double check on your liability and personal property coverage, should you cause damage with grill flames.

CAR ACCIDENTS

Memorial Day is the start of summer driving season, when more people drive on vacations and more teen drivers die in auto accidents. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls this start of summer driving season the “100 Deadliest Days.” Compared to other days of the year, the average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 16-19 increased by 16 percent per day, according to AAA.

The three top distractions for teen drivers are talking or attending to other passengers, using a cellphone, and dealing with something inside the vehicle. Talking to your teenager about avoiding these hazards before they get behind the wheel or ride with another teen driver can help.

There are other summer driving hazards that affect people of all ages. They include increased road construction, flash floods, overheated vehicles and glare.

Do a maintenance checkup on your car before a summer trip, and check with your insurance agent to make sure you have enough coverage.

DROWNINGS

High temperatures get more people outside to swim, or attempt to swim, leading to more drownings during the summer.

If you have a pool, you want to make sure that the gates around it are locked so that no children can either sneak into the pool or accidentally fall into it. Without a fence around a pool, your insurance rates could rise and you’d have to make an insurance claim if someone fell into your pool and drowned.

About 10 people died per day in the United States from non-boating related drownings from 2005 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one in five people who die from drowning are 14 and younger, and for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency care for nonfatal submersion injuries. The nonfatal injuries can cause severe brain damage and long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities and a permanent vegetative state.

BOATING ACCIDENTS

Recreational boating accidents caused $42 million in property damage and involved 626 deaths and 2,613 injuries in 2015, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The fatality rate was 5.3 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vehicles. Drowning was the most common cause of death, at 76 percent, and 85 percent of those victims weren’t wearing a life jacket.

Deaths were also reported on boats where the operator didn’t receive boating safety instruction. The top factors contributing to accidents were operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure and excessive speed.

To avoid boating accidents, take a boating safety class, make sure your boat is in good running order, and require everyone on board to wear a life jacket.

HOME BURGLARIES

With more people away from home on vacation and more people outside in the good weather, home burglaries and assaults are higher in the summer. Summer has higher rates of home burglaries and aggravated assaults, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Unoccupied home burglaries are covered by homeowners insurance, but the risk can be reduced by installing a security alarm system, motion detection lights and by having neighbors collect your mail, packages and newspapers.
All of these possible insurance claims that are more common during the summer can be overwhelming and you may want to just stay inside. But with some common sense and forethought, they can be avoided and you can enjoy the summer without a major worry.

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