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Summer swimming pool safety and homeowners insurance in Lutherville Timonium MDRegardless of our swimming abilities, many of us beat the heat in our backyard swimming pool as summer temperatures soar.  It seems that taking advantage of a residential swimming pool is more popular than ever before. In fact,  over seven million swimming pools and five million hot tubs are estimated to be in residential or public use in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But all swimming pools – from the simplest inflatable wading pool to the most elaborate luxury in-ground variety – can present a danger, especially to children. Between 2005 and 2014, fatal, unintentional drownings in the U.S. averaged over 3500 annually. More than one out of five drowning victims was reported to be 14 years old or under.

The following safety rules will prevent accidents and decrease your potential liability exposure:

  • Empty wading pools completely after each use, and always store them upside-down to avoid collection of rain water. 
  • Install a fence at least 4 feet high around the entire pool area with a gate that latches and locks.  Never leave furniture or other items close enough to the fence to allow children to climb over.  Pool alarms and safety covers add extra protection. 
  • The powerful suction of a swimming pool drain can trap a child under water.  Cover your pool drain with a safety guard, tie up long hair before swimming, and teach children to stay away from drains and filters.  In particular, teach them never to sit on a pool drain. 
  • Post emergency numbers and CPR instructions in the pool area. Store a first aid kit, a cordless water-resistant phone, reaching poles and ring buoys near the pool area to be used in case of emergency; and do not allow children to play with these items. 
  • Consider having older teens and adults take a course in basic first aid and CPR, and enroll your family’s non-swimmers in swimming lessons with a certified instructor.  Anyone who is not a good swimmer should wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest while in your pool. 
  • Adults should not swim alone, and children should never swim without an adult present and watching them constantly. 
  • Keep the pool area clear of glass items, electrical devices (radios, CD players, etc.), and obstacles that could cause a fall or other injury.

Homeowners Insurance and Pool Liability Issues

If you are planning to install a pool at your residence, it is important to consider the insurance implications as well as the safety issues.  The Insurance Information Institute recommends the following:

  • Installing a pool will also increase your insurance liability risk.  So contact your insurance agent to be sure your homeowners policy provides enough additional liability coverage.  If your pool will be costly, this may mean you will have to increase your homeowners insurance coverage and perhaps add umbrella insurance to provide extra liability above what your homeowners policy provides for your home. Of course, your home insurance must also cover the cost of replacing your pool and any pool-related items like deck furniture, should a storm or other disaster destroy or damage it. 
  • Contact your town or municipality since the definition of a pool which drives local building codes and safety standards will vary from town to town. You will want to have this information before you purchase the pool. 

Here at our Lutherville / Timonium, MD agency, our highly experienced William M. Sparks Insurance agents are always glad to speak with you about any insurance needs. Before you decide on a pool for your backyard, you owe it to yourself to contact us to be sure you have optimum insurance coverage. We can answer your questions, refer you to other resources, offer a no-obligation policy review and discuss your options.

Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:41

Happy New Year to all Homeowners from William M. Sparks Insurance Agency in Lutherville Timonium MarylandImproving on the maintenance of your home likely did not make your list of top ten New Year’s Resolutions this year, but perhaps it should have.

Keeping your home secure and fit is just as important as keeping yourself in shape. Each has its own set of consequences if not done regularly, and each must be done year-round and changes with the seasons. Not buying it? Then consider this: time and effort spent taking care of your home can be measured in dollars and cents when you realize that homeowners insurance claims could be denied if an insurer determines that the loss could have been avoided through proper maintenance. That is not to mention keeping it secure for your family. So just what home related  tasks should you add to your resolutions this year?

READ MORE below to see the best resolutions to start with...

Friday, 05 January 2018 18:30

halloween safety picAs a homeowner, you’ll want to take steps to avoid the risk of various liability issues during this Halloween season.  It’s a spooky night by design, but mischief can prevail and vandalism can result.  Likewise, there is always a greater potential for accidents such as slipping and falling that could cause injury as trick-or-treaters and other guests visit your property on Halloween.  Just as importantly, it might well be a challenge to restrain your pets as the doorbell rings repeatedly and strange voices carry through the house – not to mention all the scary and unfamiliar costumed visitors. 

Even so, it’s difficult not to be drawn into the fun.  So if you do intend to participate, the following tips might help you to enjoy a Halloween evening that is more a treat than a trick.

Friday, 27 October 2017 22:56

Protect your engagement ring after a marriage proposal on Valentine's DayIf the love of your life has chosen Valentine’s Day to pop the question, then we send our congratulations and best wishes to both of you. Take your time. Savor the moment, and make it a cherished memory. But then we hope you’ll remember the practical side of owning that beautiful diamond ring. You might not be “thinking insurance” but we are. The Insurance Information Institute tells us that one of the most frequent of all homeowners’ content-related insurance claims is for the loss of valuable jewelry. We know that you’ll want to see that your new engagement ring is financially protected in case it is lost, stolen or damaged.

Click on READ MORE below to learn the steps to protect your ring as soon as possible…

Monday, 13 February 2017 21:30

Every winter season, the pipes in your home are at risk of damage from freezing conditions. Low temperatures can cause your pipes to freeze, and in some cases burst. Encompass Insurance offers the following tips to safeguard your home before, during and after a pipe freezes.

Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

  • Disconnect all gardening hoses and install covers on all outside faucets.  
  • Keep your house temperature at 68 degrees or higher, even if you're leaving the house for an extended period of time.     
  • Open cabinet doors below sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate.    
  • Identify the location of the main water valve and the valve on your water heater. (Learning the location of these valves may come in handy during an emergency.)     
  • Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that run along outside walls. 
  • Close all windows near water pipes; cover or close open-air vents. Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze more frequently.
  • Heat your basement and consider weather sealing your windows.   
  • Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.     
  • If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, shut off water supply valves to your washing machine.

Monitor Freezing Pipe Conditions

  • Allow a faucet to drip slightly (lukewarm water) in order to minimize freezing.    
  • The first sign of freezing is reduced water flow from a faucet.     
  • Check your faucets for water flow and pressure before you go to sleep and again when you wake up.   
  • Check pipes around your water meter, in unheated areas, near exterior walls and in crawl spaces.     
  • These tend to be vulnerable to freezing conditions.     
  • Identify cold air drafts coming in from a flue or chimney chase and caulk gaps that are near pipes.

If a Pipe Freezes

  • If a faucet or pipe inside your house freezes, you can thaw it using a good hair dryer. (For safety purposes, avoid operating a hair dryer around standing water.)     
  • To thaw a frozen pipe, heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipes.  
  • When thawing a pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet. Make sure the faucet is turned on so that melted water can drip out.

If a Pipe Bursts

  • Shut off water at the main valve.     
  • If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.     
  • Call a plumber. Keep an emergency number nearby for quick access.
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:56
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