By now, many of us have started work on creating our own private paradise in the back yard, terrace or even balcony. Some people hire landscapers and others do it themselves. However you do it, here is nothing more rewarding than finally seeing all our plans realized and sitting back to relax in our own garden paradise - the perfect escape from city life on the weekend.
As you sit there and enjoy, insurance is probably the last thing on your mind, but as I sit here and look at my favorite spot, I realize insurance does come into play at some point. So, to protect you and ensure you don't have any sorry surprises if ever anything unexpected should touch your little piece of paradise, just a few tips:
1. Outdoor installations are not always automatically covered on an insurance policy. Make sure that if you have built structures in the back yard that you call your broker or insurance company to find out if it is automatically covered or if you need to add a small amount of coverage to insure your hard work. Remember all those parts and pieces, the special spotlight items you purchased to make your garden just right? A lot goes into these set ups, fountains, mechanical equipment, pumps, special trees and flowers, bird houses, gnomes...even the cost of wood or other materials used in these constructions can be high, keep yourself informed - it was a lot of hard work to get to where you are at.
Here are some incredible fish in that beautiful garden setting, they survived the winter last year and are happy for summertime. A quick tip if you have any special pets, either in the garden or in your home - insurance policies have limitations (and possibly exclusions) on animals! Find out if this effects you in any way. What are the coverages, or exclusions? Is there a deductible? You invested a lot in your beautiful environment, make sure it is covered properly.
Continue reading for tips #3-7 : Building a new deck, Landscaping, Pools, Liability, and special heat and lighting like those wonderful tiki torches...
3. You may have clauses which limit or exclude the amounts payable for trees and shrubs or landscaping - some companies keep these limits quite low, so please ask about it if you've made some significant investments in your outdoor world. You don't want to find out that the beautiful magnolia trees you bought are limited to $50 or $100 per tree...or worse yet, aren't insured at all.
4. Going for a dip in the pool? Above ground pools are not automatically covered on insurance policies, ask your insurance provider for details. Cost of coverage can be quite low (estimating $60 per year - please inquire for your situation). In ground pools are covered by some policies automatically, but do not take this for granted, you do not want to find out yours isn't covered! Some companies require mention & additional coverage.
5. Liability issues. This is when someone is holding you responsible for damages they suffer due to injury suffered on your property or due to your ownership, use or control of the property. I will bet you never thought about your liability while you were building that perfect deck! That's okay, that's what your broker or professional insurance provider is there for!
It is recommended to have railings and safeguards installed around structures that you build in or around your home. You would be surprised how something that is quite safe and "never causes an issue" for the members of the household can pose a potential danger to small children visiting, or even friends and family who come to your next summer party and BBQ.
If you are not sure, call your insurance company and find out what they recommend for guard rails etc. They will often have specific criteria in regards to height (and distance between the rails) to help you make sure your garden and home is safe, not only for you but for everyone!
If you have a pool, most cities have bylaws that suggest fencing around the back yard, to prevent people from getting in and injuring themselves or drowning in unattended pools.
When its 100 degrees out, an unattended pool can be quite appealing to anyone!~
Don't leave yourself open - make sure that you have taken all the recommend and necessary precautions so no one gets hurt on your property and holds you responsible. If they do, at least you will know that you complied with all recommendations and that your home insurer will be there to help you out.
Please contact your insurance representative who can act as a guide to the best preventative measures to lots of safe summer fun!
Continue reading for tips on heat lamps, tiki torches and other outdoor heating info...
6. I am a big outdoor fan - I like to enjoy the garden even when its getting a little brisk o ut. Some of my favorite backyard things: heat lamps (for when the weather is clear but the night is chilly) and torches.
Nothing beats keeping that tropical feel, even when its "not so tropical" out. Some people even put fire pits and/or outdoor wood burning stoves. Get in touch with your local fire department and make sure they are installed properly and to building code. When you are resting in that hammock under the stars and your torch flame gets a little high, you want to make sure you don't get awakened to your porch or deck catching fire! Keep it warm and cozy, and make sure you respect recommended distances from hanging objects and other structures. You never know when that wind will pick up!
7. Finally, if you haven't finished that perfect back yard plan yet, and are just getting into it , then don't forget to call your insurer and let them know about the any renovation or construction plans. Often items being used in construction are favorites for thieves. Homes under renovation (if undeclared to your insurer) can sometimes render some of the portions of your insurance coverage null and void. Don't take a risk, just declare it and make sure your file is noted.
Protect yourself and get some good advice from your insurer or broker - they are your resource, and they are there to protect your assets. After all, if they can help keep you and your premises safe, it's good for everyone! No claims, no hassles, and you can just live life and enjoy!
Now that we covered all of that... It's finally time to get out the BBQ and relax!
Where's your favorite summer garden?
Have a beautiful summer!Planning a tea party in the garden? Get inspired by these tea party photographs for sale