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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

Holiday candles, fireplaces, and Christmas decorations present fire hazards that can lead to home insurance claims..Winter brings an increased risk for fires and other disasters. This is even more of a risk during the holidays when everyone is busy gathering with friends and family this time of year, it’s easy to overlook some simple safety measures that can reduce the risk of damage during the holidays.

  • If you hang stockings on the fireplace mantle, then be sure to move them away from the fireplace before lighting a fire, and keep other decorations away from open flames and power receptacles and plugs. Statistics show that 20% of home fires that occur in December are the result of decorations that are too close to heat sources.
  • Be sure your Christmas lights are used appropriately. Avoid using indoor lights in the outdoors, and vice versa; and see that the lights you use have been properly rated for their intended use. Take a moment to check each strand of lights for frayed or bare wires, damaged sockets and loose connections. If you expect to be stringing your lights together, limit to three strands to avoid overloading your extension cord.
  • Consider battery operated candles as opposed to real candles to avoid a fire hazard. When using real candles, do not leave them unattended or where they can be easily knocked over.
  • Avoid using lights on metallic trees which could become charged with electricity if the lights are not in good condition. Someone touching such a charged tree could be accidently electrocuted.
  • When leaving the premises or going to bed, make sure to turn off all decorative lights. Keep live trees well-watered so they remain hydrated while in use. A tree that dries out can become a fire hazard if exposed to decorative lights,

View this video from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) for more useful tips....

Home Insurance Tips

Be mindful of the risk of homeowners liability claims. Keep the front door and walkways well-lit and free of obstacles that could be a tripping or falling hazard for your visitors. In particular, if you decorate your lawn with any blow-up decorations that must be anchored in the lawn, monitor them to be sure they do not shift and obstruct your visitors’ path.  The holidays can be busy for everyone and will be likely full of activities. A few practical precautions can help you and your loved ones to enjoy an accident-free season and can prevent you from having to file homeowners insurance claims when you would rather be celebrating.

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency here in Lutherville/Timonium MD to discuss your home insurance.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances.


Thursday, 10 November 2016 21:56

college and nsuranceIs your student off to college this semester? Have you done an insurance review?

Can you believe that summer is coming to an end and it’s now back-to-school time once again? It’s the time of year when we notice more than ever the way our children are growing and how their lives are changing. So this makes it the perfect time of year to also evaluate your family’s auto insurance and homeowners insurance coverage. Is this the year when your teen goes to college? Will your son or daughter get a drivers license? Will you be replacing your vehicle to make room for school carpooling? Will you be adding an addition to your home to accommodate space for home schooling? Keep your children safe in the new school year— review your car and home insurance coverage this fall.

Car Insurance

  • Before you decide on that new vehicle, check with your insurance agent to see how its purchase will affect your auto insurance rates. Also, you’ll want to discuss how carpooling impacts your coverage as well.
  • Teen drivers can be expensive to insure, but don’t forget to check for a student discount. Typically, getting the discount requires that your child carry a good grade-point average, so you’ll need the details on that as well. In addition, if your teen passes a driver safety course, you might qualify for reduced car insurance rates.
  • If your child in college, it’s possible that you might receive a further discount, provided they meet the requirements – typically attending school outside of a specific distance from home without a vehicle while away.   Again, your insurance agent will know the details.

Home Insurance

  • Perhaps home schooling is your plan, and you know you’ll need to expand your home to accommodate the space. There are many insurance questions to resolve before you move forward. For example, if your home is expanded and the property value increases, then how will this affect your homeowners insurance cost. Not to be forgotten, also, is the need for sufficient liability coverage if your home schooling will include others beyond your immediate family.
  • If your college-bound teen will be living on campus, then most of his or her belongings will typically be covered – at least in part – by your homeowners insurance policy. This includes all those expensive items like a laptop, TV, bike, smartphone and other electronics, among others. 
  • If your college student will be living off campus while away at school, then it is likely that your homeowners insurance will not cover, and renters insurance will then be your answer. Renters insurance is typically very affordable, and a discussion with your insurance agent will let you know your options.

Home and Auto Insurance Tip

The start of another new school year can be an exciting time for your family. Giving yourself the peace of mind knowing that you’ve got the right insurance coverage can help you protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future. The first step to doing so is to meet with your insurance agent who can help you explore your options.

The William M. Sparks Insurance Agency located in Lutherville / Timonium, MD, is a full-service insurance agency offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA) and Pennsylvania (PA) since 1981. Our experienced insurance agents welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time.


Monday, 08 August 2016 21:26

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