Most Common Insurance Claims for Summertime
Most of us look forward to summer with its warmer days, trips to the pool, and endless barbecues. Like any season, however, summer comes with inherent hazards that can lead to property damage or injury if you don’t take precautions. Certain insurance claims are much more common in the hotter months. Knowing what to look out for can help you avoid having to file one of these common summertime insurance claims and possibly deal with costly damage.
Top 5 Insurance Claims for Summer
1. Fires Outside the Home
Summer is the time for grilling. Unfortunately, grills are also a huge fire hazard resulting in millions of dollars in insurance claims every season. Gas-fueled grills, in particular, were responsible for 84 percent of all grill-related fires that occurred between 2014 and 2018.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that the majority of grill, hibachi, or barbecue fires caused structural damage through an open patio or porch, with the cause of the fire most often being a gas leak or break.
With that in mind, the number one way to avoid a fire caused by your grill is to never leave the grill unattended and keep it regularly maintained. In addition, take the following steps to reduce the likelihood of a gas grill fire:
- Regularly clean your grill with a wire brush and remove ash-build up
- Make sure the area around your grill is clear and far away from anything that could catch fire, such as patio furniture cushions, the grill cover, or plants/shrubs.
You will also want to review your homeowner’s insurance policy to be sure it covers fires outside the home. Structural fires are generally considered a “covered peril” under most policies, but it doesn’t hurt to be sure.
It is a good idea, too, to review your particular policy with an agent to see if you are adequately covered in the event of a total loss. That is to say, will your policy cover the full cost to replace your home if it cannot be saved from the fire? The loss of a home to fire is a devastating event, and the last thing you need to worry about is being underinsured.
The sheer number of individuals partaking in water-based activities in the summertime means that the probability of death and serious injury are much higher. Drowning is a leading cause of death among children, in particular. In fact, most drownings for children over the age of one occur in a home swimming pool.
If you have a residential pool, you are responsible for securing it appropriately to prevent accidental drowning. If someone is injured or killed on your property, your homeowner’s insurance policy has coverage to help pay for associated costs. However, you may also be sued for emotional damages by a victim or a victim’s family.
Even if someone used your pool without your permission, you are still liable for accidents. The best thing to do is to make sure your pool is completely secure:
- Make sure there is a locked fence around the pool. This will prevent kids and teens from sneaking in and also stop any children in the home from falling in.
Ideally, the pool should be enclosed in a four-sided privacy fence. Many homes have a three sided property-line fence that encloses the backyard but still allows access to the pool from patio doors. According to the CDC, a four-sided fence that separates the pool from the house can reduce child drowning by up to 83 percent.
- Do not allow non-swimmers to use the pool without close, adult supervision.
- Supervising adults should limit their alcohol intake.
- Do not permit head-first diving in the home pool unless it is depth-appropriate (at least 9 feet)
3. Boat Accidents
Boating accidents are quite common during the summer months, either from boat-to-boat collisions or from boats hitting stationary objects (such as rocks or submerged debris).
In Colorado, any one over the age of 16 can operate a motorized boat. While they are encouraged to take a boating safety course, it is not mandatory. You can, therefore, assume that there are a lot of inexperienced boats on the water, and you will want to take precautions. Collisions with other boaters can result in property damage claims and, potentially, personal injury or wrongful death claims in the event of a serious crash.
Boating insurance is also not required in Colorado. However, it is a very good idea to purchase a boating policy if you intend to be out on the water, even sporadically. Boating insurance helps cover you in the event of an accident, as well as in cases of theft or vandalism.
In addition to carrying insurance and taking a safety course, remember to limit alcohol intake while operating a boat (motorized or not). According to the CDC, alcohol consumption is involved in at least 20 percent of boating accidents.
4. Burglary and Larceny
Burglary (unlawfully entering a home with the intent to steal) and larceny (actually stealing) increase during the summer months because many people are away on vacation.
While your homeowners insurance will help cover the cost of damaged or stolen items, it cannot replace sentimental items or precious heirlooms; nor can it soothe the trauma and feelings of vulnerability that are common after a home invasion. Keep your belongings and loved ones safe by taking extra precautions to secure your home:
- Install a security alarm system
- Install motion-detection lights
- Leave a TV on
- Ask neighbors to retrieve packages left on the porch
- Put break-proof laminate on all windows
- Use grade one and two deadbolt locks
5. Storm Damage
Certain areas of the country are prone to storms during the summer months. Colorado has an especially long storm season, lasting from mid-April to mid-August. Thunderstorms bring damaging hail that can result in millions of dollars in property damage claims.
To prepare for storms, have your roof inspected at least twice a year and address any serious issues. Insurance companies may deny a roofing claim if it was found that lack of routine maintenance aggravated the issue.
It is a good idea to review your insurance policy as well. Hail damage to your roof is usually covered under your homeowners insurance plan, but certain policies do require an extra hail rider. Review and revise your policy ahead of storm season to be sure you have adequate coverage.
In addition, you will want to be sure that you have comprehensive auto insurance, especially if you do not have a garage or access to covered parking. Comprehensive coverage will help mitigate the cost of damage to your car from something other than a collision, such as hail or fire.
Find a Top Colorado Insurance Attorney
Despite your best efforts at prevention, accidents can and will happen. If you have been involved in an accident and need legal assistance or help negotiating your claim, David Roth is here to help. David and the Roth Group have helped hundreds of policyholders reach fair insurance settlements for a variety of property and personal injury claims. Contact our office or go online today to schedule your free consultation.