COLUMBUS, OH – July 6, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — If you’re planning a trip to a vacation home, a time share, a rental property, a home exchange or if you plan on renting your home this summer, you may have specific insurance needs. The Ohio Department of Insurance is offering these tips to help you prepare a well-planned vacation that includes insurance protections.
Renting a Vacation Property or Participating in a Home Exchange
If you’re renting a property or exchanging homes with another family this summer, your homeowners or renters insurance policy might provide some coverage for damage to the property where you’ll be staying. Generally, as a renter, you are not responsible for damages caused by unavoidable accidents, such as faulty plumbing. However, there are circumstances where you could be considered responsible for damages caused by your negligence, and you may be expected to pay for the damages.
Personal belongings you take on vacation – such as a laptop, camera or clothing – are generally covered by your primary homeowners or renters insurance policy. Check with your agent or company to see how much coverage you have and consider increasing the coverage, if necessary. Your insurance agent may recommend scheduling specific coverage for cameras, jewelry, or other high value items.
Secondary, Seasonal or Vacation Home Insurance
If you own a secondary, seasonal, or vacation home, it may be insured by an endorsement to your primary homeowners insurance policy, covered under a separate homeowners policy or covered by a separate dwelling property policy. Like with your primary homeowners insurance, it is important to review the policy for your secondary home every year and keep an up-to-date home inventory in case you would need to file a claim following a loss. Go to www.insurance.ohio.gov for an easy-to-use form and tips on completing a home inventory.
When reviewing your policy, remember the insurance needs in another area may be different than where your primary home is located. Talk with your insurance agent if you think you might need flood insurance or additional coverage against wind, hurricanes or earthquakes.
If you have an umbrella policy to provide excess liability coverage, the policy may not automatically extend to any new property you purchase or rent. To be sure the umbrella policy meets your liability insurance needs, read your policy and discuss coverage needs with your insurance agent.
The personal property coverage of your primary, secondary or renters insurance policy might cover a small boat for $1,500 or less in physical damage. However, coverage for your liability risk is usually limited. Insurers generally provide liability insurance on small sailboats (26 feet or less) and powerboats powered by small motors (50 hp for inboard and inboard/outboard you do not own and 25 hp for outboard motors). However, a boat of any significant size will be excluded from your homeowners policy for both property and liability coverage. Read your insurance policy carefully or talk to your agent before you put your boat in the water.
Personal watercraft will likely require a separate boat insurance policy. You might be able to purchase this policy from your homeowners insurer or you might choose to use an insurer that specializes in boat insurance. Get quotes and compare policies from several different places to get the best deal.
Some important questions to ask before you head out on the water:
• Am I insured if someone other than me is operating my boat or personal watercraft?
• Are there legal age restrictions on who may operate the boat or personal watercraft?
• Is towing skiers or inner tubes covered by my policy?
Renting Your Home to Others
If you hope to make a little extra cash this summer renting your home, first review your insurance policy and discuss your plans with your insurance agent.
Some important questions to ask include:
• Will the policy cover damage to your property caused by the renters?
• Will it cover bodily injury or medical expenses of a renter injured during their stay?
Ohioans with questions concerning insurance are encouraged to call the Department’s consumer services hotline, 1-800-686-1526. Additional tips and more information about insurance, including a link to the Insure U web site, can be found at the Department’s web site, www.insurance.ohio.gov.