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Summer Fun Meets Liability Concerns

Jul 30, 2020 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
Who doesn’t love the sun and all the fun activities that summer time has to offer?  From swimming pools to dog parks to ATVs and summer rentals, summer time is when most of us vacation and interact with family and friends.  With this year’s summer upon us, there are new opportunities to have fun, but potential liability hazards are also lurking.  Let’s do a review.

Rental cars are covered as if they are owned by you and are afforded the same coverage as the vehicles on your MA auto policy as long as your short-term rental is being used as a replacement for your insured vehicle. Purchasing extra coverage is not usually recommended.  However, my son, who lives in the city without a car or an auto policy, always buys the insurance option when he rents a car because he no longer has a MA auto policy in his own name.  

Swimming pools are an obvious source of fun and potential liability.  One of our clients called me recently to ask if he had to change his homeowners policy because of the installation of a new above-ground pool. I told him there was no need to endorse his policy. The liability coverage is included on his HO policy, and it will protect him should any non-family member get injured in or around the pool and bring suit against him.  There will also be certain limited perils covering the pool itself against physical damage.
ATVs are fun, recreational vehicles used off-road.  They typically don’t have a registration or legally require a primary liability insurance policy.  ATVs are not insured under your auto policy, nor are they covered by your HO policy because they are not used to maintain your property, unlike motorized devices such as wheelchairs, tractors and lawnmowers.  Those devices are covered by the HO policy because they’re used to maintain your property.  One of our well-to-do clients asked if we could add his ATV to his personal umbrella policy.  I told him we could not until his ATV had a primary liability insurance policy for it.
Renting a house, a cottage or a condo at some sunny destination is a common summer activity. Since anything can and could happen, you will be glad to know that the liability coverage from your HO policy and your personal umbrella policy (if you have one) will travel with you to the rental.  In the event of an injury or a claim, your HO policy will pay to defend you and any other “insured” member of your household should a suit arise while you’re renting the facility.  

Enjoy your summer, everyone, and keep it safe.

This article was submitted by Dick Ostrander of Ostrander Insurance ( Dick can be reached at [email protected] or 508-966-1116.

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