From firepits to swimming pools, backyard entertaining is some of the most fun you can have in
the summer. But backyards can also come with a lot of liability, especially if you’re looking to
upgrade your space. Before you install that swimming pool or invest in a new fire pit, you may
want to consider upgrading your insurance policy. Because we want you to get the most out of
your backyard, while worrying the least, we’re sharing our top backyard safety and coverage
tips to help keep you, your space, and your visitors protected this summer.
Pools, Hot Tubs & Garden Water Features
Ponds, pools, and other water features can beautify a backyard and turn it into a personal oasis. But they’re also especially interesting to children, who can drown in as little as an inch or two of water. To protect yourself and others from hazard, be sure to have the appropriate protective steps in place.
Surround your pool or other water feature on all four sides with a lockable, rigid cover or
Supervise children in or near water at all times
Be sure water treatments or chemical mixtures are tightly covered when not in use
In the event of an accident, be sure you’re covered.
While it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure the safety of people enjoying the pool or hot tub on their property, accidents and injuries can still happen. Owning a pool or hot tub increases your liability risk. In the event the worst happens, you can prevent expenses coming out of your own pocket with an increased liability or umbrella policy. Always be sure to contact your insurance agent and review your policy if you’ve newly purchased a pool or are planning to install one.
Trampolines, while fun for kids, have a high potential for injury. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, they cause nearly 100,000 injuries per year. Many insurance companies don't cover trampolines for this reason. Here are some basic safety tips to apply when using or supervising use of your trampoline:
Supervise children at all times
Install a trampoline enclosure to help prevent falls
Anchor the trampoline and the enclosure to the ground with a trampoline anchor kit
Limit numbers of jumpers at a time
Remove all ladders after use to prevent children from accessing the trampoline
Understand your insurance options
If your policy won’t cover your trampoline, you could be liable for any accidents—even if someone uses your trampoline without your knowledge. Some insurers will offer coverage on netted trampolines, and some have no restrictions. If you’ve purchased or are planning to purchase a trampoline, it’s important to call your agent as soon as possible and discuss your options.
Treehouses & Playsets
Swing sets, treehouses, and playsets can transform your backyard into an adventure for children of any age—but if not taken proper care of, these structures can cause accidents. Here are some ways to stay safe when using your treehouse or playset:
Supervise children at all times
Place playsets on level ground and use wood chips or other soft material to cushion falls
Check for openings or areas that could trap a child’s head, neck, arms or legs
Regularly check for damage or weather-worn signs like rusty bolts or rotten wood, and
Find out if you need treehouse insurance
Like hot tubs and pools, treehouses are considered an “attractive nuisance” by insurance companies. While a standard homeowners policy may help you cover the expense of injuries, you may still be responsible for repairs in the event of an accident. Also be aware that because treehouses increase the likelihood of injuries on your property, your rate may be affected. To properly understand how you’re protected, when violations of your policy may occur, and what options exist for an umbrella policy and extra liability coverage, speak to your agent.
Grills, Fire Pits, and Campfires
There’s nothing quite like sitting around a campfire in the summer, roasting marshmallows and telling stories. To enjoy your fire pit safely, here are a few tips:
Never leave a fire unattended
Fully extinguish the fire with sand
Let coals cool completely after use and dispose in a metal container
Require adult supervision until the fire has completely cooled
Place the fire pit away from your home, and far from any deck or low-hanging trees
Understand your insurance coverage
While an open fire is always a risk, most homeowners insurance policies will include a provision that at least partially covers damage from recreational use of a grill or fire pit. However, there are certain circumstances that may require specialist insurance, and your risk profile could increase based on certain features and placement of the fire pit itself. To be sure you’re covered in the worst case scenario, consult your insurance agent and ask about any policy limits around grills, fire pits, and campfires.
Before Something Goes Wrong
We want you to have as much fun in your outdoor space as possible this summer, as safely as possible. So before you upgrade your backyard, talk to your local Cushman Insurance agent to make sure you’re covered. Our agents are here to help every homeowner understand your unique insurance needs and can help navigate any changes you may need to make to your existing coverage. Contact us today to learn more.
Money.com. You Probably Don’t Have Enough Insurance for Your Backyard Pool. https://money.com/homeowners-insurance-pool-liability/
Nerdwallet. What Every Homeowner Should Know About Trampolines. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/insurance/trampoline-home-insurance
Business Insider. Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Trampolines and Treehouses? https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-trampolines-and-treehouses
Take a Yard. Are Firepits Covered By Homeowners Insurance? https://takeayard.com/fire-pits-homeowners-insurance/