Q&A with John Wiscaver
Summer comes with added risks,
OK insurance professional says
Q: What are some unique insurance issues to consider for summer?
A: Summertime brings increased risks that come with outdoor activities. For example, there were 4,062 recreational boating accidents in the U.S. in 2013 with about $39 million in property damage as a result, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Before you hit the lake, use your pool or take off for a summer vacation, review your insurance policies to ensure you and your family are properly covered.
Q: How can homeowners make sure they’re protected this summer?
A: Homeowners insurance may not provide enough coverage if you have a pool, and some policies may even exclude pools. Consider boosting liability coverage using an umbrella policy if available, which increases your coverage beyond what you might have on other policies. As far as watercraft are concerned, if you have a canoe, small sailboat or small motorboat with less than 25 mph horsepower, your homeowners or renters insurance may be sufficient. For larger and faster boats, you’ll want a separate marine policy. The cost will depend on your boating experience, type of boat, location you’ll be using it and safety equipment on board. Proper insurance will pay not only if your boat is accidentally lost or damaged, but also for damage or injuries to others.
Q: What about insurance coverage for vehicles?
A: Motorcycles and classic cars are also popular during warmer months. Some insurance companies offer partial or full-year insurance you’ll want to consider, depending on where you live and how much you plan to ride your motorcycle. All motorcyclists are required to have liability coverage for property damage and bodily injury. Be sure to check with your agent to ensure your coverage also extends to passengers on your bike. Discounts are usually available for safe-riding courses, whether you’re a member of a motorcycle organization or club or if you own more than one bike. If you have a classic car, these vehicles can require separate insurance from your regular car because of their more limited use and value. Some insurers offer agreed-value or stated-value policies. You’ll want an agreed-value policy where you and your insurer agree on the car’s value, as opposed to leaving the value of your classic car open to interpretation by the insurer.
Q: How do insurance concerns apply when traveling?
A: With the proliferation of websites like Airbnb and others where people rent out their home while they’re away, there are some insurance issues to consider. Many insurance companies may allow a short-term rental of your primary home under your homeowner’s policy. Some require additional coverage or renters’ insurance. For longer rentals, you’ll need a landlord or rental-dwelling policy. If you’re the one renting a space, that won’t be covered by your homeowner’s policy. You’ll need to buy a separate business policy.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER