Party at the Lake or Pool? You Need to Plan Ahead

Party at the Lake or Pool-You Need to Plan Ahead

A recent national survey states that more than 98 million households plan to host a party or event this summer and that at least 32 million of those social gatherings will take place in or around water: at the pool, beach, lake, river, etc… Before you fire up the grill, we recommend that you take a look at the risks, and if necessary, talk to your insurance agent to make sure you, your family and your home are ready for the season ahead.One risk is Social Host Liability. Familiarize yourself with your state’s host liability laws. Be a good friend and a good host. Cutting a friend off who has over-indulged can be awkward, but protecting you, your family, your guests and others is worth a little discomfort. Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated and stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party is scheduled to end. Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who should not drive. Paying for a taxi is a lot less expensive than paying for the consequences of a DUI or an accident while driving drunk.

Pool Safety is another concern. Understand that as a pool owner, you are liable for anyone who comes on to your property and into your pool--even accidentally or uninvited. The same holds true for private docks and beaches on the lake or river. Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death among children under five so designate someone to keep an eye out for the kids. If possible, have a family member or friend who is Red Cross certified at the event to help in an emergency. Remove tripping hazards: pool toys, ropes chairs and towels should be kept off the walkways and the areas surrounding the pool when possible. Finally, check the pool before the party. Make sure it is safe and in good condition that chemicals are at the proper levels.

Grills and Outdoor Pits can cause injury and property damage. Thoroughly clean your gas grill before you use it. Maintain a fire extinguisher near but not on the grill at all times. Never throw a match in a grill, especially after the gas has been on three seconds. Be sure to thoroughly read and follow the instructions that come with the grill. Outdoor fire pits are often low to the ground and could be alluring to children. Make sure to keep children away even long after the fire has been extinguished. Fire pits can hold heat for several hours after the flames are gone. Be careful using charcoal grills with starter fluid. Follow the instructions on the can. Don’t dump hot coals on the ground, stepping on a coal long after the cooking is done can cause nasty burns and the coals can cause a fire if dumped near any other combustibles.

Summer fun often includes extra driving, whether Autos, Off Road Machines or Boats. Understand your liability and risks. Your homeowners policy is not designed to cover significant watercraft exposures. Contact your agent to see if coverage can be added or if a separate watercraft policy that fully covers damage to the boat, liability and uninsured boaters is needed. Many people rent watercraft, jet skis, bikes, ATVs and other recreational vehicles on vacation. Be aware that there may be no coverage for rentals under any policy you own. Owned and rented Jet Skis are often specifically excluded for liability. Take care and understand the risks in storing and transporting boats, jet skis, bikes and ATVs. Summer sun glare is an issue for all drivers of any kind of vehicle. Unexpected glare can cause serious accidents. Be prepared by always keeping sunglasses, visors, or other sun shields in your vehicle, especially if traveling near or on the water. Make sure you and your party guests follow all parking rules and ordinances, especially in residential neighborhoods.

With a little thought and preparation your gathering will be fun and relaxing for everyone because you will be ready for whatever the summer brings.

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