Help your clients sail past these top 6 summer personal insurance claims
It’s summer! Longer days, ice cream, cannonball splashes, raucous fireworks, family road trips and more. A quick look back at our top summer personal insurance claims from previous years shows these results, along with some tips for you to pass along to your clients, to keep them safe this summer:
On location: fire damage
Because we’re not using fireplaces or heating systems, you might think the risk of fire damage is practically eliminated in summer – but think again. Everything from outdoor grills going up in smoke to fireworks landing on the roof can cause summer fires – but the main culprit is cooking fires, followed by electrical malfunctions leading to air conditioning fires. Advise your clients to have an annual inspection on their HVAC systems – and to stay alert when they’re cooking all those burgers and dogs.
On Mother Nature: lightning, hail, storms – oh my!
Of our six summer personal insurance claims, this one unfortunately is nearly impossible to prevent. According to a PropertyCasualty360 article quoting a Farmers Insurance study, lightning and hail are major culprits for home and auto damage during the summer. Add to that summer storms, tornadoes and tropical storms and, well, our main advice here is to remind your clients to stay alert to weather patterns, securing outdoor items as quickly and safely as possible, and knowing where the best safety zones are located, whether at home or traveling.
And speaking of being away from home,
On vacation: does your home broadcast “vacant”?
Remind clients to secure their homes and left-behind vehicles when they head out on vacation. If possible, bring in a trusted house sitter with his or her own vehicle, so there’s movement at various times in the house and driveway. If no one’s house-sitting for them, it’s best to turn off their water at the main shutoff valve, to prevent water damage from a broken icemaker line or washing machine line.
- Trim back shrubbery to eliminate hiding places
- Add exterior lights, including motion sensors
- Double-check that all windows and doors are securely locked, and remove that spare key from under the ceramic frog on the porch
- Alert a trusted neighbor as to when you’re leaving so they keep an eye on the house
- Use timers on various lamps and a loud radio
- Ensure your clients understand what is and what’s not covered in their policy
On the road: road trip mishaps
Nothing spoils a summer vacation like a fender bender, whether it’s a fairly minor ding or sailing off the road, a la Clark Griswold. Distracted drivers are the major impediment here, whether it’s trying to follow Siri’s instructions, looking at a map, texting, or threatening the kids to settle down (“Don’t make me come back there!”). Remind clients to have designated navigators and also to carry their auto insurance card so they have quick access to roadside assistance and auto claims.
It’s important to remember never to leave kids or pets in the vehicle during sunny months, and to always hide valuables in the trunk, lock doors, close the sunroof and keep windows rolled up.
To guard against theft while you’re on a road trip and stopping in a strange location for the night, never hide a spare set of keys on the car – thieves know where to look. Bring your registration papers inside with you for the night, making black market resell more difficult. Also, it’s best to park face-in to the parking space, not backed in: the car is easier to steal if there’s not an obstacle in front of it.
On the go: cyber safety
Remind your insureds not to broadcast their travel plans on social media: they’re not only telling friends where they’re spending the next week – they’re telling would-be thieves that their home is empty. It’s better to save those photos to share AFTER they’re home again from vacation.
Remind them that the unsecure Wi-Fi available at airports, restaurants and hotels is a magnet for hackers. Use that free Wi-Fi, and they’re opening their devices to a possible hack.
On the water: boating accidents
One obvious tip for your policyholders is to never allow an intoxicated person to man their boat or don water skis. In fact, it’s their responsibility to monitor everyone’s drinking on board. And even though your client may abide by these rules, chances are there are plenty of others on the water who won’t – so urge them to watch closely. They should have a life vest or PFD for every person on board. Watch kids and pets carefully. You can view more boating summer safety tips here.
Remind clients to make sure their boat insurance is up-to-date. And once their time of fun on the water is over, remind them to secure their craft and its contents. Read our earlier blog on boat theft prevention for more details on thwarting thieves.
On home territory: at-home misadventures
The backyard is paradise to kids in the summer, particularly when it includes a pool or trampoline. Both are a kids magnet. So remind your homeowners that both a pool and a trampoline may increase their insurance risk should a mishap occur; as their agent or broker, it’s a good idea to check in with policyholders annually to see if they’ve added either item to their backyard; if so, they should consider additional coverage. The other safety tip here: ensure both are well-guarded with locked gates.
Now that you’ve reminded your clients of all their potential risks this summer and helped them find the right solutions, urge them to enjoy the last weeks of summer!