Homeowner liability is more than child’s play

girl-drawing-hopscotchWith the arrival of summer and the end of the school year, neighborhoods fill up with children playing in yards and on the sidewalk. Before sending your children out to play, be mindful of the liability they can present.

In many cases, your homeowner insurance covers damage to your neighbor’s property if your son or daughter is legally liable, and your liability coverage – whether through your homeowner insurance or a personal umbrella policy – may respond if someone is injured on your property.

It’s always a good idea to keep track of where your children are playing and who is playing in your yard. If an injury occurs on your property, you could be liable for the medical expenses and other damages. You will want to make sure you have taken all the measures necessary to prevent injuries and to protect yourself financially with insurance.

Don’t overlook the liability that scooters and battery-powered toy vehicles can present. If your child injures someone or causes property damage while operating a toy vehicle, not all homeowner policies provide coverage. Reviewing your policies with a professional independent agent will help ensure you are adequately covered.

Also discuss any changes to your property with your agent. Perhaps you have purchased a trampoline or are thinking about installing a swimming pool. Each may be considered an “attractive nuisance” – a legal principle that makes the homeowner responsible if a child trespasses on your property and then is injured. Your liability for trampoline and pool injuries may not be covered by all insurance carriers, so you will want to make sure you are covered if you have these items. In some cases, you can protect yourself by making sure that your yard is fenced and that there is a self-closing, latching gate. Consider a pool alarm for additional protection.

And even with every safety precaution, nothing can replace attentive parental supervision when children are playing.

Have fun, but be careful out there!


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