Insurance Blog

 pool safty family and friends

Many Americans retreat to swimming pools throughout the summer to escape the blistering heat. For some, a pool party complete with drinks, grilled food, and music is an essential part of a perfect summer day. While swimming pools are great for bringing family and friends together, there are risks and pool safety concerns home owners should consider.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly ten people drown each day in the United States and there are over 3,000 unintentional drowning deaths, unrelated to boating, every year. While swimming in a residential pool is relaxing and great for physical exercise, it does present dangers that home owners should prepare for—especially when children are present. In fact, the Red Cross states that about 200 children drown in residential swimming pools annually. Vigilance and certain safety precautions can greatly reduce accidental injuries and swimming-related deaths.

Invest in Adequate Fencing and Gates

According to MSN Real Estate, it is extremely important for home owners to have locking gates and fencing surrounding a pool. Privacy fencing at least six feet high greatly reduces the chances that an uninvited person will enter a backyard to swim. In addition to regular privacy fencing, there are specially made fences with childproof locks that can enclose the immediate pool area. The Red Cross recommends using a four-foot high fence that has self-latching and self-closing gates to keep children and pets away from the water.

Provide Swimming Lessons and/or CPR Training for Members of Your Household

If you reside in a home with a pool, every member of your household should know how to swim and understand basic CPR methods in case a swimmer or guest needs resuscitation. Furthermore, young children should be enrolled in swimming classes that are age- and skill-level appropriate so that they can learn basic swimming techniques to help prevent fear of water and promote better responses to pool-related accidents. The Red Cross and the National Swimming Pool Foundation offer an online course that teaches pool safety tips and training for accident prevention.

Beware of Faulty Drains

A potential danger to adults and children alike is faulty drains that produce too much suction where clothing, hair, and limbs can become trapped at the bottom of a pool or spa. Faulty drain issues resulted in federal mandates and consumer advocacy education regarding this danger, especially after the death of a young girl, Virginia Graeme Baker, in 2002. The Consumer Product Safety Commission launched a public awareness campaign to help prevent faulty draining mechanisms from claiming more lives.

Precautionary measures recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission include ensuring that spa and pool drain covers are compliant with the latest safety codes and installing Safety Vacuum Release Systems, which automatically stop a pool pump if blockage in the drain is detected. Additionally, home owners should have easy, quick access to pump switches so they can be rapidly shut down if necessary. If a swimmer is trapped by the suction of a drain, avoid pulling the person out of the drain. Instead, break the seal by inserting a small object or several fingers between the swimmer and the drain or grate.

Arm Your Pool with an Alarm System

Like homes, pools can be armed with alarm systems. For example, Leslie's Swimming Pool Supplies, a company with stores throughout the United States, offers in-ground pool alarms that can sense entry into a pool by an animal or person weighing over 18 pounds. Using negative displacement technology, this type of pool alarm is submerged and can be activated by a remote control device. When its sensor detects in-water movement, an alarm will sound inside the home as well as in the pool to alert home owners. In addition to sounding a noticeable alarm, this safety device will also sound off when removed from the pool in its armed state. Other alternatives to pool alarms that can help notify home owners of unwanted pool activity are motion-sensor lighting and security systems for doors and windows that limit access from the home to the pool area.

Practicing pool safety and receiving proper training in responding to swimming-related accidents or injuries can offer home owners more peace of mind when it comes to protecting loved ones and friends. For more safety tips, talk with a Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent. We can help you protect your home and its occupants with valuable information and insurance coverage.

prom night statistics

From our Plymouth Rock partners

Prom season is here! From early May through mid-June, high-schoolers dress to the nines for a night on the town. Everyone (parents and teens) wants to have a safe and happy prom season. With so much happening on prom night it can be easy for them to get distracted. Take some time before the prom to talk to your teen about being safe behind the wheel. With so much happening on prom night it can be easy for them to get distracted. Take some time before the prom to talk to your teen about being safe behind the wheel.

Here are 5 prom season pitfalls, and an action plan to avoid them:

Alcohol: Cars and alcohol are a deadly combination. One problem is that many teens view drinking as a normal part of the prom and graduation celebration. A study of 12,000 students by the Statistic Brain Institute, found that 53% of prom-goers admitted to having more than four drinks on prom night. That means more than half were legally drunk (or worse). As educators and parents, we cannot condone this behavior and it’s imperative that we do not facilitate underage drinking. On the other hand, if we deny that underage drinking happens, the results can be catastrophic.

Seat belts: According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than half of 16-20 year olds killed in car crashes were not wearing seat belts.

Distractions: For many students, prom night is the highlight of the year. This youthful exuberance amounts to emotional driving. Text messages, Snapchat, loud music and a stunning companion all contribute to the chaos, and combine to take the young driver’s mind OFF what they are doing.

Drowsiness: After-parties + prom weekend trips = little or no sleep. Did you know? Drowsy Driving is one of the top causes of distracted driving crashes, according to the National Safety Council. A five-year study by NHTSA shows that drowsy driving accounts for an average of 2.5% of the fatalities on our roadways each year. (Between 832 – 1194 deaths annually, over the 5 year period.)

Bad Driving: Let’s face it, most of these kids have been driving less than 2 years, and the majority of them haven’t learned to drive properly anyway, so they are still learning on the job. Add to that a car full of kids (if they’re 18, they are no longer probationary drivers) and it adds up to trouble.

Here is a five-step plan to help your family have a safe prom season:

  1. Always make an ironclad agreement with your teenager that they are never to get behind the wheel, or get into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking (one is too many), using drugs or tired (minimum of 6 hours of sleep before driving). Your child needs to know that they can call you at any time — day or night — and get picked up, if they, or their designated driver, have become impaired.
  2. Listen carefully to their plans, especially their travel plans. Are they allowing enough time for everyone to recover from the prom night festivities? Alcohol-free prom and graduation nights have been a huge help in reducing drunk driving tragedies. One problem is that the kids stay awake all night and, in many cases, are allowed to drive home drowsy the next morning!
  3. Involve yourself in their planning — they may object, but someone has to be the adult. Who will they be with? Do you know the other kids and their families? Who is driving? Are they still a probationary driver? Insist that there must be one alternate (well-rested) driver included. Where will they be staying? How many kids to a room?
  4. Volunteer to be their chauffeur for the weekend. They’ll probably refuse, but it’s worth a try.
  5. Expect them to follow rules you set. This goes for prom, graduation and summertime driving. These are great times in our kids’ lives, but don’t allow your young driver to take a “mental vacation” from their safe driving habits.

Stay Safe Out There!

#prom, #staysafe

Vacation Home? Income Property? Here’s How to Cover It.

There are many reasons you might want to rent out your home on either a short- or long-term basis. Depending on the rental scenario, your standard homeowners policy may not cover losses incurred while your home is rented out, and you may require a more specialized insurance policy. So, whether you own a second home that you lease to tenants, want to rent out a spare bedroom in your house periodically through Airbnb, or make a little extra cash renting out your beach cottage the weeks you’re not using it, the first step should be to call your insurance professional. 

 

Short-Term Rentals/Primary Residence

If you are planning to rent out all or part of your primary residence for a short period of time, for instance, a week or several weekends, there will likely be two insurance scenarios.

  1. Some insurance companies may allow a homeowners or renters policyholder  a short-term rental—assuming they have notified the company. Other insurers will require an endorsement (or rider) to the existing insurance policy in order to provide insurance coverage. 
  2. If you plan to rent out your primary residence for short periods on a regular basis, to various “guests.” this would constitute a business. Standard homeowners insurance policies do not provide any coverage for business activities conducted in the home. To be properly covered you would need to purchase a business policy—specifically either a hotel or a bed and breakfast policy.

 

Long-Term Rentals/Second Home

If you are planning to lease your home to one person or a couple or family for a longer period of time, say six months or a year, you will likely need a landlord or rental dwelling policy. Landlord policies generally cost about 25 percent more than a standard homeowners policy to pay for increased protections. If you are regularly renting out a vacation home or investment property, this would also require a landlord or rental dwelling policy.  

Landlord policies provide property insurance coverage for physical damage to the structure of the home caused by fire, lightning, wind, hail, ice, snow or other covered perils. It also offers coverage for any personal property you may leave on-site for maintenance or tenant use, like appliances, lawnmowers, and snow blowers.

The policy can also include liability coverage; if a tenant or one of their guests gets hurt on the property, it would cover legal fees and medical expenses.

Most landlord policies provide coverage for loss of rental income in the event you are not able to rent out the property while it is being repaired or rebuilt due to damage from a covered loss. This coverage is generally provided for a specific period of time.

 

Renters Insurance

As the landlord, your coverage is only on the structure itself and your financial interest in it. Your tenant’s personal possessions are not covered under your policy. In order to avoid disputes arising from damage to the renter’s belongings, many landlords require a tenant to buy renters insurance before signing a lease.

 

Source: Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)

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