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Summer plans? Protect yourself and your family, urges PIANJ

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TRENTON, N.J.—Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey are urging their neighbors and friends to remember precaution and risk prevention are the keys to safety as summer begins. Professional insurance agents are there to help their clients through the claim process, should an accident happen, but summer fun can be made more safe (and affordable) when you are proactive about your guests’ safety.
      “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 3,536 fatal drownings happened in the U.S. each year from 2005-2014—that’s about ten deaths per day,” said Lloyd ‘Rip’ Bush, CPIA, PIANJ president.
      “Insurance is important to help everyone when accidents happen, but the most tragic accident is one that could have been prevented,” says Bush. “By observing pool safety guidelines, the incidence of swimming accidents can be reduced. Homeowners must be vigilant about their property and should be aware that they could be sued in the event of an accident.”
      To protect neighbors, family, friends and yourself, make sure the limits of your homeowners policy are adequate. If you are involved in a lawsuit and the court awards a settlement higher than the limits in your insurance policy, you will be held responsible for the balance. To protect against catastrophic losses, PIANJ recommends homeowners purchase an umbrella or an excess-liability policy.
       Contact your local municipality for additional Code and Zoning Requirements. Local laws regarding fencing and other safety requirements for swimming pools may be more restrictive; and your insurance carrier may demand additional safeguards, or it may seek evidence that these safeguards were installed properly and have been maintained adequately. “To ensure your coverage is not affected, make sure your insurance agent is aware of all the safeguards you have installed,” says Bush.
      Many parents purchase trampolines for their children, believing that trampolines are toys that will provide hours of outdoor fun for kids. What they may not realize, is the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that parents never purchase trampolines for homes and never allow their children to jump on trampolines at someone else’s home.  
      “Insurance companies also are not fond of trampolines, due to the high risk of injury they pose,” says Bush. “While liability would be covered on your homeowners or renters policy if someone were to get hurt, some companies ask homeowners to remove the trampoline altogether. It is likely your insurance company has certain requirements if you add a trampoline to your policy.”
       “Call your insurance agent before you purchase a trampoline,” advises Bush. “Many property and casualty companies will not insure homes with trampolines or may exclude or require extra coverage for them.”
       Professional insurance agents want everyone to have fun and be safe this summer. And, while they are always there when an insurance claim occurs, they’d rather not see clients or their guests get hurt. “Homeowners should take every precaution to ensure a safe and enjoyable summer,” urges Bush.
Working with a Professional Insurance Agent offers you a choice of insurance products from a variety of carriers; shops for the best insurance coverage for you; gives knowledgeable and objective advice on complex insurance decisions; and lives in your community and supports local efforts. Look for the PIA logo to find a professional, independent insurance agent.
PIANJ is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.