Want Peace of Mind?
Make sure you have enough liability insurance.
Regardless of how conscientious you try to be, there are likely hidden dangers around your home. Should any of these lead to property damage or an injury, you may be legally responsible. Here are common household hazards to watch out for:
As beautiful as they are, your trees could also pose unintentional dangers. Check to make sure they’re maintained and trimmed, and that dead limbs are cut away. A gusting wind could easily break loose a limb and send it plummeting onto your neighbor’s property or onto a guest’s vehicle. Have a tree service come out and make sure everything’s on solid footing; some trees can develop weak root systems that result in them toppling over when the ground becomes saturated with moisture, or in a big wind.
While recreational equipment may make for fun afternoons in the yard, it can present its own challenges where safety is concerned. A swimming pool, for example, should be properly secured so that visitors (invited or not) can only access it with your consent. The same goes for trampolines, which account for many fractures and other injuries every year.
No one likes to think that a beloved pet might hurt anyone, but it happens all too frequently. It can be a dog bite, of course: Dog bites account for 15,000–16,000 liability claims paid out each year. Or it can be something as unusual as a cat scratch or a trip over a pet that is seeking attention. Well-trained pets always make the best and safest companions, but securing them in another area when guests are visiting is also an option to consider.
Anything that might cause a visitor to trip should be dealt with as soon as possible, such as garden hoses that aren’t properly stowed away, or unmaintained surfaces such as cracked sidewalks, uneven paving stones and rickety stairs. Even the cord to your decorative outdoor lights could send a guest tripping, so make sure it’s out of the way.
Whenever you host a get-together, you put yourself at risk of a liability claim. House, condo and renters insurance can provide coverage for party-related mishaps, but being a responsible host is your duty. Keep guests safe by offering nonalcoholic drink alternatives, and try to avoid making alcohol the center of your party. Have sober designated drivers available for any who overindulge, or have them stay the night.
As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and the best preventions are removing hazards from your home and making sure that you have adequate insurance.