Accidents happen, sometimes right under our own roofs. A four-year study by the National Safety Council reported that the average home insurance claim for bodily injury was nearly $18,000. In addition;
- About one-tenth of homeowners have filed a bodily injury claim at some point in their lives
- Unintentional at-home injuries caused $150 billion in annual losses, mostly in medical expenses and lost wages
As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – and in the case of home injuries it can be worth much more to your financial health. Being mindful of conditions around your home can help prevent an injury from occurring in the first place. Here are some things to consider;
- Clean up spills immediately – liquids, grease, or anything else that could cause someone to slip and possibly fall.
- Secure rugs.Purchase rugs with slip-resistant backings, secure them with nonskid pads or use double-sided carpet tape to keep them in place.
- Beware of where you put hot liquids – Refrain from placing hot liquids on or near the edge of counters. Keep them off of a table that has a runner or table cloth hanging over that can accidently be pulled on causing the liquid to spill. Always keep hot liquids out of reach of children.
- Install grab bars in the shower – Installing grab bars could help prevent a fall should anyone who is unsteady on their feet slip.
- Check your hot water heater – Children and the elderly are more susceptible to burns from hot water. Keep your water heater set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid unintentional burns.
- Keep electronics away from water – Do not keep electronics near water or in a place where they could fall in or a child could pull them in.
- Check your basement and garage – Often used for storage, check that these areas have a clear path to walk in and make sure boxes are stacked securely so that items do not fall on anyone.
- Keep guards on all tools and store out of reach: Be sure to keep all safety covers on the tools and store them in a locked cabinet or in a place out of reach of children.
- Stair safety – Make sure stairs are well lit. Handrails should run the full length of the staircase, make be certain carpets are secure, and do not put area rugs or mats at the base or top of the stairs. If you paint basement stairs add some sand to the paint to give the stairs more traction. For outside steps that are not well lit, paint the edges white so they can be seen in the dark.
- Keep cleaning products out of reach – All cleaning products should be stored in a place where kids and pets cannot get to them. Put them in a cabinet with child-proof locks or better yet store them in a high cabinet.
If an Accident Happens…
- Take pictures: Document the conditions of your home when the accident occurred, for instance, if a visitor claims he or she slipped on your icy walk, but it was dry outside, be sure to document that fact.
- Contact your insurer immediately: And provide insurance information to the injured party.
- Stay Calm and think Fairly: When someone who’s been injured feels as though they’re treated fairly, they’re less likely to seek compensation,
Regardless of whether you own or rent, your home or renter’s insurance usually includes only a modest amount of coverage for visitors’ injuries. If you have substantial assets that you want to protect from an injury-related lawsuit, you may be wise to talk to your agent about Umbrella coverage, which would pick-up where your standard policy leaves off.