While you're out having fun in the summer sun, make sure that you're properly insured for the seasonal activities here in Wisconsin. Here are some "summer insurance" consideration that everyone should keep in mind.
Swimming Pools. Regular homeowners insurance may not provide enough coverage for a pool and some policies may even exclude pools. Because pools can pose a danger, they will increase your liability risk. With a backyard pool, you stand a greater chance of being sued or having to pay someone's medical expenses. Nearly 400 children younger than 15 drown each year in pools and spas, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Make sure you have additional liability coverage when you get a pool. Ideally, you may want to get an umbrella policy that will increase your coverage beyond what you have on other policies. That few extra hundred dollars a year can get up to $1 million in additional protection. Before installing your pool, review the standards and codes where you live. Those could include requirements for safety equipment, such as fences and locks.
Classic Cars & Hot Rods. If you're a car buff who owns a classic car, you probably take every opportunity to get your "baby" out of the garage and on the streets. Before you head to the latest car show or event, make sure your classic car has separate insurance from your regular set of wheels. Due to it's limited use and high value, you'll need special coverage.
See if your insurer has the resources to help find rare parts, mechanics with the know-how to handle damage to your car. Also ask if you can send the car across state lines to your mechanic of choice. Liability coverage is especially important with collector cars, which can be difficult to drive if they have small windows or lack mirrors.
Watercraft. Look to see if your homeowner or renters insurance provides all the coverage you need. For larger and faster boats, or personal watercraft -- like Jet Skis -- you'll need a separate marine policy. Premiums will depend on your boating background, type of boat and where you'll use it. A boat in Los Angeles is going to cost more to insure than one here in Wisconsin because of the limited use, theft and storm damage risks.
The owner's age, credit history, driving record, boating certifications and whether you own or rent a home can affect your policy cost, too.
Motorcycle. All motorcyclists are required to have liability coverage for property damage and bodily injury that they may cause to other people in an accident. Check with your agent to see if that coverage would also protect passengers on your bike. Whether you've had an accident, where you ride, your age and how you store the bike all affect your motorcycle insurance premiums. Discounts are available if you've taken a safe-riding course, are a member of a motorcycle organization or club, or if you own more than one bike. Home ownership can also score you a discount on insurance!
Road Trips. If you're renting a vehicle for your trip, know what your own auto insurance covers before you accept the rental company's policy. The insurance sold at the rental counter typically includes, among other things, liability protection for lawsuits, personal accident insurance for medical or ambulance needs, and personal effects coverage for theft of your belongings in the car, but you may not need all of that. Check your auto policy and your credit card agreement, which also may provide car rental coverage. One question to be sure to ask is if a rental is damaged, find out if you have to pay upfront for repairs and wait for reimbursement, or will your insurer cover the costs right away. Finally, if you're heading across the border into Canada or Mexico, look into insurance requirements and whether you need to take proof of coverage.
Vacation Rentals. Insurance requirements vary considerably, depending on the length and frequency of the stays. If you're renting someone else's home for your own summer vacation, talk to your agent about whether your own home insurance covers damage or theft where you're renting. If you book through an online vacation listing website, it may offer a property damage policy as part of the package.
As always, get all the facts about your coverage and speak with your insurance agent regarding any questions. Be safe this summer, not sorry.