If any of the following incidents were to happen, do you know if your homeowners insurance would pay the full claim, part of the claim, or deny it completely?

  • Your golf clubs are taken out of your car.
  • Your expensive digital camera is dropped and broken.
  • Your home-office computer is ripped off.

Unfortunately, with just a standard homeowners insurance policy, the likelihood of your full claim being paid is not great.
While your homeowners insurance policy does provide some coverage for valuable items, it is usually limited in the types of covered claims and payment amounts.
To have full coverage for the incidents above, you would need to purchase a Personal Articles Floater. A personal articles floater provides coverage for possessions with higher monetary values like:

  • Cameras (video or still) and related equipment
  • China and crystal
  • Firearms
  • Golfer’s equipment
  • Jewelry
  • Musical instruments
  • Personal computers
  • Silverware
  • Works of fine art

It will also provide some additional coverage for things like mysterious disappearance and breakage. And the best part is that this type of policy isn’t costly at all.

Why should I consider a Personal Articles Floater?

Benefit 1: A personal articles floater will provide higher limits on your valuables.
Standard insurance policies limit coverage for the items listed above at anywhere from $500 to $1,500 depending upon the item. In many cases, that may be sufficient; however, if the item is rare or valuable, the regular might not be enough.

One of the benefits of a personal article floater is the freedom you have in selecting your limits.  Rather than predetermined limits, insurance companies are more willing to provide higher limits (as long as you can provide proof of said value).

Benefit 2: Claim payments are facilitated more proficiently.
Claims for personal articles floater usually paid one of two ways:

  1. Replacement Cost: Your insurance will pay the necessary amount to repair or replace your item with another one of like kind and quality.
  2. Agreed Value: The insurance company will use an “Agreed Value” limit for the item. This means that, in the event of a covered claim, your insurance company will pay you the amount listed on the policy.

An agreed value limit is great when you’re insuring items like jewelry, fine art, antiques, and other unique items because it means if you suffer a loss on a covered item, you will not have to negotiate a settlement price with the insurance company.

Benefit 3: A personal articles floater provides expanded coverages.
A standard homeowners policy does not include some vital coverages for rare or valuable items.  For example, a personal articles floater can provide coverage for “mysterious disappearance” or “breakage.” So if you were to lose a valuable piece of jewelry or accidentally break some fine china, your policy would pay the associated claim.

Benefit 4: Coverage can be expanded worldwide.
While most homeowners policies will typically only cover items located on the premises listed within the policy, personal articles floaters will provide coverage anywhere in the world.

For example, if you lost your expensive camera while on vacation, your policy would pay for a replacement.

Benefit 5:  Most personal articles floaters do not have a deductible.
A standard homeowners insurance policy will usually include a $500 to $1,000 deductible. A personal articles floater is different; many of them actually remove the deductible removing any out-of-pocket expenses as the policy owner.

Some Tips when Adding this Coverage

  1. Make sure to keep a detailed list of the items listed on the policy, including copies of the appraisals.
  2. Photograph each piece of your collection and store the photos in a safe place. This will make it easy to list each item on your claim report if your entire collection is stolen or damaged.
  3. If you have several high-value items, it may be in your best interest to store them in a safe deposit box or install a security system in your home. Doing so will help discount the premiums on your policy as well.

How Much Does the Coverage Cost?
Now the big question, right? How much does a policy of this type of cost?

Personal article floaters are actually much cheaper than you think, given the coverage they provide. The increased cost can be anywhere from $20 to $2,000 annually, depending upon the type of items insured and their associated value.

*The above information is to be used as guidance only and should not be considered definite in any particular case. Every policy is different, and you need to read through your policy and consult with your agent to determine how your coverage will respond.  This article cannot analyze every possible loss exposure and exception to the general guidelines above.

Exclusions listed in a personal auto insurance policy vary depending upon what state laws permit and then your car insurance company’s guidelines.  When something is noted as excluded from your policy, it means that your policy won’t cover it.

Exclusions can be associated with a person, property, location, peril, or specific situation.

These limitations to your coverage are important to know so that you don’t end up in a situation where you find out after an auto accident that you have no coverage — or have voided your policy.  (Remember, if your policy doesn’t cover you, then you’ll be stuck paying out-of-pocket usually.)

The most common exclusion regarding a person is a named driver exclusion.  With this, you and your insurer agree to exclude a specific person from your policy’s coverages.  This driver isn’t rated on your policy, and in return, your insurer won’t cover the individual if found driving your car.

Here’s a look at some of the most common exclusions found in the different parts of a personal auto insurance policy.

Bodily and property damage liability exclusions

Most policies plainly state they don’t provide liability coverage:

  • If an insured has intentionally caused injury or property damage.
  • For property damage to property owned (or being transported) by the insured.  (So if you hit your own car, you can’t make a liability claim)
  • For property damage to property that is rented, used by, or in the insured’s care.
  • For bodily injury to the insured or any insured family member residing in the insured’s household. (Some states only allow the policy to reduce the bodily injury limits for family members to the state’s minimum)
  • For liability arising out of the vehicle’s ownership or operation being used for “livery conveyance.”   This means using your vehicle to transport goods or people for payment – so don’t use your car as a taxi or delivery service.   So, don’t use your car for delivering pizzas, or you may void your coverage.

In general, using your vehicle for business purposes can be a no-no according to your liability policy.  For example, it may say that the business of:

  • Selling, repairing, servicing, storing, or parking vehicles (other than your insured vehicles) is not covered by your liability or physical damage coverages.
  • Maintaining or using any vehicle that the insureds are using to engage in business –other than farming or ranching – may not be covered.  (If you are using your vehicle for business, see about a business-use or commercial policy)

Catastrophic events or exposures are usually marked as excluded as well.  This can include items such as bodily injury or property damage resulting from:

  • Nuclear exposure or explosion – including the resulting fire, radiation, or contamination.
  • Bio-chemical attack or exposure to biochemical agents as a result of an act of terrorism.
  • War (declared or undeclared)

Vehicles that are excluded from coverage (or deemed unacceptable to cover for either liability or physical damage coverages) vary, but the list may include:

  • One with less than four wheels
  • Designed for use principally off public roads or not registered for use on public roads
  • Any vehicle owned by you or a family member but isn’t listed as insured on your policy.
  • Any vehicle furnished for your regular use but isn’t listed as insured on your policy.
  • Any vehicle used to compete in a race or practice or preparing for any prearranged or organized racing or speed contest.

Some insurers have amended policies to include an exclusion for any operated, maintained, or used vehicle as part of a personal vehicle sharing program.  So, loaning your vehicle out for a car-sharing service could mean you have no personal coverages.

Physical damage coverage exclusions

Collision and comprehensive coverage are the physical damage coverages offered by auto insurers. At the same time, liability insurance covers those that you damage, collision, and comprehensive cover your own vehicle if it’s damage.
Exclusions under this portion of the policy can be similar in many ways to the restrictions listed in your liability portion of your policy.  Typically, collision and comprehensive coverage exclusions include loss or damage due to:

  • Wear and tear
  • Freezing
  • Mechanical or electrical breakdown or failure
  • Road damage to tires
  • Catastrophic events – radioactive contamination, nuclear weapon discharge, war, etc.
  • Destruction or confiscation by government or civil authorities
  • Using your vehicle for livery or delivery purposes
  • The vehicle being used for racing purposes
  • Intentional damage
  • The vehicle used in personal car-sharing programs (some insurers)

Personal items that are damaged in your vehicle or stolen from it aren’t covered, and most policies specifically mention the exclusion of coverage for losses to:

  • Any electronic equipment that is not permanently installed.
  • Custom equipment (or is covered to a specific minimal amount — such as $2,000) unless you’ve added custom parts and equipment endorsement to your policy.

If a vehicle is excluded from liability coverage, then typically, it’s also unable to obtain physical damage coverage.   However, there is some vehicle that insurers allow to obtain liability but not collision and comprehensive — such as vehicles with a salvage or rebuilt title.

Medical payments and uninsured motorist bodily injury

Medical coverages you can purchase for yourself as part of an auto insurance policy have exclusions as well.  Typically, they include injuries sustained in the circumstances mentioned above, such as catastrophic events, racing or livery service, as well as situations such as:

  • Injured on a motorized vehicle having fewer than four wheels
  • Injured while using the vehicle as a residence
  • Injuries that workers compensation benefits should cover because occurred during the course of work

Weather Emergency Safety Tips
​​Know what to do in case of a weather-related emergency.

Plan Ahead
​Your home or work routines can be disrupted with little or no warning by natural disasters, fires, or other catastrophic events. You and your family must be prepared as help may not always be available.

If you or your loved ones are faced with a weather-based emergency, determine the safest course of action and stay informed through radio, TV, internet, or whatever is available.

Before an emergency, you can prepare an emergency kit with at least 72 hours worth of food and water; make sure your car has a kit as well.

Home and Car Emergency Kit
​Your home and car should have kits in case of an emergency.

If you are in an area prone to earthquakes, identify potential hazards, and earthquake-proof your home by securing heavy furniture. If you are indoors:

  • Stop
  • Drop
  • Hold On

If you are outdoors, move to a clear area or a safe building. When in the car, stay in the car. After the quake is over, carefully assess the damage and don’t enter buildings until you know it’s safe.

If the waters are high, make sure you and your family stay dry. Secure your appliances and turn off utilities like electricity. If you live in an area where flooding is common, you might want to invest in flood insurance. If you are driving, never driving through a standing pool of water. If you have to evacuate, return home only when authorities ​say it’s safe. Check for gas leaks, food spoilage, and be aware of other hazards when returning home.

​Before a hurricane, have a shelter in place and avoid traveling during floods, thunderstorms, or tornado warnings. If you live in a high-rise, take shelter below the 10th floor.

Hurricane season is June-November. If you are in an area at risk for hurricanes, secure your property, and consider investing in flood insurance. During a hurricane, evacuate when told to do so or if you are unable to evacuate, go to an interior room and lie low. After a hurricane, assess the damage and be careful of post-emergency hazards like flooding, knocked-down electrical wires, and fire.

​Tornado season is March-June, and there have been tornadoes reported in 48 continental states. Before a tornado hits, practice emergency plans and have a shelter in place. Avoid traveling during thunderstorms, flood, or tornado warnings. If a tornado does hit, lie low in an interior room at a low level, such as a basement or a bathroom. If you’re driving, drive at a right angle to the tornado’s path, and if you’re outside, lie in a ditch or a flat, low area. After the tornado passes, let others know you’re ok, stay tuned for storm watches and warnings.

A Personal Articles floater is used to insure valuable personal property that often requires more coverage than what is provided by an insured’s homeowner policy due to various exclusions and limitations on homeowner coverage. The personal articles floater can be used to ensure the following categories of personal property:

– Jewelry: Most personal jewelry can be included on a floater; however, jewelry is given more consideration than other personal items. Generally, any item over $1,000 in value would require an appraisal.

– Furs: Fur coats, personal fur items consisting of fur, garments trimmed with fur, and even imitation fur can be included.

– Fine Arts: Fine arts can include private collections of paintings, antique furniture, rare books, glasses, ornament knickknacks, and manuscripts. Fine arts are insured on a valued basis, which means if a loss occurs, payment would be made for the amount of insurance stated in that particular item’s schedule.

– Cameras: Items usually included are motion picture recording equipment, projection machines, films, binoculars, and telescopes.

– Bicycles: Each item must be described on a schedule with an amount of insurance.

– Musical Instruments: Most personal musical instruments, including sound and amplifying equipment, can be listed on a floater. Each item should be listed on a schedule with the requested amount of insurance coverage.

– Silverware / China / Crystal: Item must be listed on a schedule with the insurance amount.

– Stamps / Coin Collections: Valuable stamps and coin collections can be insured either on a scheduled basis or a blanket basis.

Guns: Each item must be described on a schedule with an amount of insurance.

– Golfers Equipment  Most golf equipment, including the insured’s golf clothes.
Although there are no standard floater policies, most floater policies share the following four characteristics:

  1. The coverage can be tailored to ensure a specific type of property.
  2. The insured can select the appropriate policy limit for the property.
  3. Floaters are typically written on an all-risk basis, which means all direct physical losses to the property are covered, except for specially excluded losses.
  4. Most floaters cover the property anywhere globally; however, fine arts are usually covered only in the United States.

Exclusions: The personal articles form contains two exclusions that apply: the property is not covered for wear and tear, deterioration, or inherent vice. The property is not covered for loss caused by insects or vermin.

Trampolines are popular among children and teens and even among some adults. Though it may be fun to jump and do somersaults on a trampoline, landing wrong can cause serious, permanent injuries. Injuries can occur even when a trampoline has a net and padding and parents are watching.

Common Injuries

Thousands of people are injured on trampolines each year. Most of these injuries happen on home trampolines. Children younger than 6 years are at the greatest risk of injury.

Common injuries include:

  • Broken bones (Sometimes surgery is needed.)
  • Concussions and other head injuries
  • Sprains/strains
  • Bruises, scrapes, and cuts
  • Head and neck injuries (which can lead to permanent paralysis or death)
  • How injuries occur

Most trampoline injuries occur when more than one person is using a trampoline.

Children can get hurt when they:

  • Land wrong while jumping.
  • Land wrong while flipping and doing somersaults (this should not be allowed because of the risk of head and neck injuries).
  • Try stunts.
  • Strike or are struck by another person.
  • Fall or jump off the trampoline.
  • Land on the springs or frame.

American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendation

Don’t buy a trampoline for your home! Trampolines may be popular and a fun way to get exercise, but there are safer ways to encourage your children to be physically active, such as playing catch, riding a bike (don’t forget a bike helmet) playing a team sport.
The AAP recommends that mini and full-sized trampolines never be used at home, in routine gym classes, or on playgrounds. They should only be used in supervised training programs for gymnastics, diving, or other competitive sports. Only one person should be allowed on a trampoline at any given time.

If you choose to have a home trampoline, the AAP recommends the following safety precautions:

  • Adult supervision at all times
  • Only one jumper on the trampoline at a time
  • No somersaults performed
  • Adequate protective padding on the trampoline that is in good condition and appropriately placed
  • Check all equipment often.
  • When damaged, protective padding, the net enclosure, and any other parts should be repaired or replaced.

Parents should check their homeowner’s policy and obtain a rider to cover trampoline-related injuries if not included in the basic policy.

Self-driving cars are definitely on the way.  In fact, one transport scholar at the University of Minnesota estimates that by 2030 every car on the road will be driverless.
From a safety standpoint, this could be great news as most accidents are caused by human error. If this factor can be minimized by taking control of the moving vehicle away from the driver, accident rates should tumble.

An accident’s risk is unlikely to be completely removed, though, since events are not totally predictable and automated systems can fail. Also, the transition from hands-off driving to hands-on promises to be tricky.

Additionally, driverless cars are still fraught with several safety questions:

  1. What kind of training will people need to handle these types of vehicles safely?
  2. How well prepared will drivers be to handle emergencies when the technology returns control to the driver?
  3. What are the insurance implications of autonomous vehicles?
  4. Who is ultimately liable in an accident – the manufacturer or the driver?

Many of the questions above will be appropriately answered when the first driverless cars actually hit the road.  But in the meantime, we have gathered some research data and insight on how insurance companies are starting to view this new risk.

Insurance Implications
Except that the number of crashes will be greatly reduced, the insurance aspects of this gradual transformation to driverless carts are still unclear. It will also be interesting to see if the accidents that occur lead to a higher percentage of product liability claims, as claimants blame the manufacturer or suppliers for what went wrong rather than their own behavior.

Liability laws will also have to evolve to ensure autonomous vehicle technology advances are not brought to a halt.

Auto Insurance: Some aspects of insurance will be impacted as autonomous cars become the norm. There will still be a need for liability coverage. Still, over time the coverage could change, as suggested by the 2014 RAND study on autonomous vehicles, as manufacturers and suppliers and possibly even municipalities are called upon to take responsibility for what went wrong.

Coverage for physical damage due to a crash and losses not caused by crashes but by wind, floods, fire, and theft (comprehensive coverage) is less likely to change. Still, it may become cheaper if the potentially higher costs to repair or replace damaged vehicles is more than offset by the lower accident frequency rate.

Underwriting: Initially, many of the traditional underwriting criteria, such as the number and kind of accidents an applicant has had, the miles he or she expects to drive, and where the car is garaged, will still apply, but the make, model, and style of car may assume greater importance. The implications of where a car is garaged and driven might be different if there are areas set aside, such as dedicated lanes, for automated driving.

During the transition to wholly autonomous driving, insurers may rely more on telematics devices, known as “black boxes,” that monitor driver activity.  According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, telematics’ use is forecast to grow to up to 20 percent within the next five years.

Liability: As cars become increasingly automated, the onus might be on the manufacturer to prove it was not responsible for what happened in the event of a crash. The liability issue may evolve so that lawsuit concerns do not drive manufacturers and their suppliers out of business.

Repair Costs: While the number of accidents is expected to drop significantly as more crash avoidance features are incorporated into vehicles, the cost of replacing damaged parts is likely to increase because of the complexity of the components. It is not yet clear whether the reduction in the frequency of crashes will reduce the cost of crashes overall.

What to do ahead of time:

  • Hire a licensed electrician to raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above the expected flood levels for your area.
  • Make sure your yard’s grading (slope) directs water away from the building.
  • Have the installation of your furnace, water heater, and other permanent equipment modified so that they are elevated above the expected flood levels for your area.
  • Anchor fuel tanks. An unanchored tank can be torn free by floodwaters, and the broken supply line can cause contamination or if outdoors, can be swept downstream and damage other property.
  • If you have a basement, hire a licensed plumber to install an interior or exterior backflow valve to prevent sewage from backing up into your basement from a flooded sewer system. Check with your building department for permit requirements. Note: this won’t help if floodwaters pour into your basement or house, but it could help in instances where flooding affects the sewage system, but not your house.

What to do when flooding is imminent:

  • Clear drains, gutters, and downspouts of debris.
  • Move furniture and electronics off the floor, particularly in basements and first floor levels.
  • Roll up area rugs, where possible, and store these on higher floors or elevations. This will reduce the chances of rugs getting wet and growing mold.
  • Prepare an evacuation kit with important papers, insurance documents, medications, and other things you may need if you are forced to be away from your home or business for several days.
  • Inspect sump pumps and drains to ensure proper operation. If a sump pump has a battery backup, make sure the batteries are fresh or replace them.
  • Shut off electrical service at the main breaker if the electrical system and outlets will be underwater.
  • Place all appliances, including stove, washer, and dryer, on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.

What to do after flooding:

  • As soon as it is safe to do so, disconnect all electronics/electrical equipment and move it to a dry location.
  • Remove as much standing water as possible from inside the building.
  • Remove water-damaged materials immediately.
  • Ventilate with fans or use dehumidifiers to dry out the house.
  • Acting quickly can increase the chance of salvaging usable materials, reduce the amount of rust and mold that might develop, and limit the likelihood of structural problems.

Home Insurance Exclusions: 10 Things Home Insurance Won’t Cover

Every homeowner needs to know the ins and outs of their home insurance policy, but sometimes knowing what isn’t covered can be just as important as knowing what is. Here are 10 home insurance exclusions that every homeowner should be aware of.

1. Mold Damage

Most home insurance companies exclude mold damage from their policies. Unlike a fire or tornado, insurers see mold damage as a problem that grows over time, and homeowners are expected to take preventive measures to prevent mold spores from spreading throughout the home. If left unchecked, mold can cause structural damage to the home and serious health issues for residents.

2. Floods, Earthquakes, Landslides

As many homeowners found out in Hurricane Katrina, flood insurance is not covered under a standard home insurance policy. For protection against flood damage, you’ll need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.
Earthquake and landslide damage are also notable home insurance exclusions. You will need separate coverage for damage caused by these perils.

3. Aggressive Dog Breeds

If your pet is a poodle or a Chihuahua, your home insurance company probably won’t bat an eye. However, owning a pit bull, Rottweiler, or other dangerous breeds may make it difficult—in some cases, impossible—to find home insurance coverage. Depending on your location, insurer, and other factors, home insurance exclusions may apply to the following dog breeds:

  • Pit bulls
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Rottweilers
  • Chows
  • Akitas
  • Presa Canarios
  • Wolf-hybrids

If you own a “blacklisted” breed, you may be charged more for coverage or denied a policy altogether; you can ask your insurer to exclude your dog, in which case you’ll be financially responsible for any damage it causes.

4. Neglect

Insurers expect homeowners to care for their homes and repair minor problems. This includes sealing cracks, minimizing water damage, fixing damaged pipes, scheduling regular inspections, and more.
For example, if a storm causes your tree to fall onto your home, you’re probably covered. However, if your tree collapses onto your home because of a termite infection that went unchecked, you may be responsible for the resulting damage.

5. Sewage Backup

Infamous home insurance exclusions include sewer damage. For instance, if a toilet overflows and you have to hire a professional crew to mop up the mess, you’ll probably be left footing the bill. Sewage backup usually isn’t covered by home insurance unless you’ve purchased a separate rider.

6. Luxury Items

If you keep precious items in your home, you probably need to purchase additional theft liability coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, most standard home insurance policies only cover up to $1,500 for damage or theft. Items that may require additional coverage include:

  • Jewelry
  • Antiques
  • High-end electronics
  • Collectibles

Contact your home insurance agent if you have items that require additional coverage.

7. Power Outages

The most common and expensive damage occurs when power is restored, and a surge of electricity floods the home’s circuits. These electricity blasts can cause computers to lose information, electronic devices to overheat, and large appliances to malfunction. In addition to using surge protectors, home insurance companies expect homeowners to unplug all sensitive electronic appliances and leave them unplugged until power is restored.

8. Intentional Damage by a Resident

Intentional damage caused by a resident of the home is not covered by home insurance. For instance, if your teenage daughter purposely sets fire to your home after a heated argument, you’re on your own to cover the losses.

9. War, Terrorism, Nuclear Attacks

If your home is destroyed in a riot, you’re probably covered for the damages. But if a foreign army, terrorist attack, or nuclear meltdown damages or destroys your home, your home insurance policy won’t cover you.

10. Trampolines

Insurance companies consider trampolines to be an extreme risk to personal safety—and a lawsuit waiting to happen if a neighbor is injured while jumping on your trampoline. That’s why many home insurance companies refuse to extend coverage to trampolines, and your current insurer may threaten to cancel your policy if you purchase one.

Parents worry endlessly about how to protect their children, but many overlook one of the biggest threats to their children’s safety and well-being — their own home. Experts say that children between the ages of 1 and 4 are more likely to be killed by fire, burns, drowning, choking, poisoning, or falls within the home than anything else.

In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about 2.3 million children are accidentally injured every year, and more than 2,500 are killed. That’s why it’s so important to childproof your home carefully.

We know that home safety measures can seem overwhelming, so below, we have provided some tips to protect your children from potential accidents properly.

Scope out the territory
The most effective way to ensure your baby’s safety is to take a baby’s-eye view of your home. Get down on your hands and knees and see how things look from down there.

What’s within reach? What looks tempting? Where would you go if you could crawl, toddle, or walk?

This will help you figure out which cupboards, drawers, and other spaces your child might get into. As he starts walking and climbing, you’ll have to reevaluate again, looking higher each time.

Carefully lock up or stow away every potential poison or other hazards, including cleaning products, medicines, vitamins, and knives. Use gates to limit your child’s access to areas of your home that might contain dangerous items.

Protect outlets
It’s a good idea to protect electrical outlets with outlet covers. Unfortunately, the removable little plug-in caps can easily end up in your baby’s mouth. Instead, replace the outlet covers themselves – at least those accessible – with ones that include a sliding safety latch.

If you’re using extension cords in your home, cover any exposed outlets with electrical tape.

Use caution with furniture and fixtures.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 16,000 children under the age of 5 went to the emergency room in 2006 with injuries caused when television sets, bookcases, and other furniture and appliances tipped over on them.

Large or heavy bookcases, dressers, and appliances are real hazards: Bolt whatever you can to the wall. Push items like televisions back from the edge of the furniture they’re on or move them out of reach, and then secure them, too. Always put heavier items on bottom shelves and in bottom drawers to make furniture less top-heavy.

Install gates
Most parents consider safety gates as essential as childproofing tools. They allow you to open outside doors for air while keeping your child indoors, they contain him within a designated room, and they block his access to dangerous stairways and forbidden rooms (such as the bathroom or kitchen).

Unfortunately, if out-of-date or misused, safety gates can themselves pose a hazard to children. In general, look for gates that your child can’t dislodge but that you can easily open and close. (Otherwise, you’ll be too tempted to leave them open when you’re in a hurry.)

Never use pressure gates at the top of the stairs. Instead, install a gate that screws to the wall – it’s much more secure.

Check ties on blinds and curtains.
According to the CPSC, the cords on window coverings are a frequent cause of children’s strangulation, killing a child between the ages of 7 months and 10 years every month in the United States.

Window blinds pose a particular hazard because a baby’s neck could become trapped in the cords that raise the blinds or run through the slats. A child can become entangled in a looped window cord and strangle in a matter of minutes. Use cordless window coverings wherever possible, and avoid placing your baby’s crib near a window.

Secure your windows and doors
According to the CPSC, every year, about eight children under the age of 5 die from falling out of windows in the United States, and more than 3,000 are injured.

Always open double-hung windows from the top or fit them with locks to prevent small children from opening them.

Low windows shouldn’t open more than 4 inches. Window stops are available that can prevent windows from opening more than this. Some newer windows come with window stops already installed.

Window screens are not strong enough to prevent falls. To make windows safe, install window stops or window guards, which screw into the side of a window frame, have bars no more than 4 inches apart, and can be adjusted to fit windows of many different sizes.

Prevent drowning
According to the CPSC, more than 430 children under age 5 drowned between 2005 and 2009 – not in a pool, but their own home. Accidental drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4.

Most in-home drowning deaths involve babies in bathtubs. Never leave your baby unattended in the tub – even if he’s in a ring or bath seat. Supervise your child whenever he’s in the bathroom, and install a safety latch on your toilet lid to prevent him from accidentally falling in.

Litigation frequency and severity are increasing at dramatic rates.   Thankfully, homeowners insurance can help protect you from many of these claims, but it is still shocking to see how expensive they can be.

For example, did you know that the average dog bite insurance claims now costs about $30,000 to settle?  Or that half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by slips and falls?
With these items in mind, we have compiled an infographic of the most common personal liability insurance claims with tips on how to avoid them.

If you want to make sure your homeowners insurance policy provides the necessary liability coverage and proper limits for these types of scenarios, please feel free to contact our office.