It’s almost that time of year when children look forward to trick-or-treating, dressing up in costumes, decorating and obtaining more candy than they can possibly eat. As fun as it is, Halloween is also a deceptively dangerous night, and preparations for a safe and enjoyable celebration should begin long before Halloween night.
SELECTING A COSTUME
Select a costume that doesn’t risk slips, trips or falls. Costumes should not drag on the ground.
Wear comfortable shoes for walking. As tempting as it may be to wear shoes themed with the costume – high heels for Cinderella come to mind – they can be unsafe for youngsters to navigate.
Choose a bright costume that motorists can see.
2 months ago ·
by John Koetz ·
By John W. Koetz, CIC, CPCU
The new craze is rental scooters. Have you seen them yet? There are two companies, Bird and Lime, with scooters sitting on the sidewalks of larger cities and wait till you also see the crazy way some people drive them. So what happens if you rent a scooter and run into a pedestrian while driving it? Or even worse, you cause an accident by riding in the street forcing a car to swerve to avoid you and they hit a pedestrian.
Where will you find liability coverage when you get sued for $1,000,000
for causing someone’s injuries while driving a rental scooter?
Your car insurance will not cover you! – Most personal auto policies exclude “Any motorized vehicle having fewer than four wheels, except for a motorcycle …”
Your homeowner insurance will not cover you! – Most homeowner policies exclude “motor vehicles” which are defined as self-propelled land vehicles, arising out of the use of the motor vehicle rented to an insured. However, they cover “’Motor vehicles’ designed for recreational use off public roads …” The rental folks state you must drive the scooters on the street so most companies would exclude this.
Your personal umbrella insurance may not cover you! – Every personal umbrella policy can be a little different so be sure to check with your carrier. But in general, umbrellas follow the home and auto policies they are meant to provide excess coverage for. Many do “drop down” and provide primary coverage for certain situations. However, the ones we have reviewed exclude coverage for “Recreational motor vehicles” (this includes scooters) unless they are specifically listed on the umbrella policy.
LIME and BIRD will not cover you! – So you say, “I’m sure these big companies will protect me if something goes wrong.” WRONG! Both Lime and Bird Rental Agreements (yes they have a detailed rental contract you agree to when you sign up online) have waivers that say they are NOT responsible for ANYTHING that happens while you are driving their scooters.
To make matters worse, they also make you responsible for any claims made against them including paying for their attorney fees! (see end of article for language)
So what should you do when you’re tired of walking or just curious and want to rent a scooter?
Call UBER or Lyft! At least these companies provide some liability protection. OR think twice about what could happen and DON’T RENT THE SCOOTER! Yes they are fun, but so is enjoying the money in your bank accounts that will stay there because you didn’t take a 10 minute joy ride that cost you your life savings. Sorry to be a party pooper… More to come on scooters.
(John Koetz is an independent insurance agent with the W.E. Davis Insurance Agency located in Columbus, Ohio and lives in the Short North, a popular tourist destination in downtown Columbus.)
6 months ago ·
by Matt Adams ·
Comments Off on Home Safety Checklist
The “Safe Home” Checklist
How many of these common safety hazards can be found around your house? The National Safety Council provides the following tips. They recommend house cleaning as an excellent time to conduct a home safety check. Some safety hazards to look for in your home…
- Provide good lighting at the stove, sink and countertop work areas, especially where food is chopped.
- Use a step stool or utility ladder for reaching high shelves and cupboards; not chairs or other unsafe makeshifts.
- Have a special rack or tray for storing sharp knives.
- Keep all household cleaners, disinfectants and insecticides out of children’s reach.
- Spills should be wiped up as soon as they happen or as soon as you notice them.
- Use self-polishing or non-skid wax on floors. If regular wax is used, be sure to buff it thoroughly.
- Place non-skid mats, abrasive strips or textured surfaces in tubs and showers to prevent slipping on slick surfaces.
- Medicines should be clearly labeled and placed where children cannot reach them.
- Dispose of outdated medicine. Many chemicals change with age and the medicine may become harmful.
- Put night lights in bathrooms.
- Keep breakable bottles of shampoo, oils, lotions and creams where they will not be knocked over and shattered.
Basement or Utility Room
- Tag all gas and water lines for easy identification during an emergency.
- Label all fuses and circuit breakers to show which outlets and fixtures they protect.
- Washers and dryers should be electrically grounded. Be careful: damp or wet floors can lead to electrical shock.
- Use non-combustible pads or metal ironing boards.
- Keep all cleaning fluids, drain openers, bleaches, ammonia and similar items locked up and out of children’s reach.
- Keep passageways clear. Basements are notorious for becoming cluttered.
- Position light switches in accessible areas. Accidents can happen when people stumble through the dark.
Fire & Electrical
- Avoid “octopus” electrical cords. Have an electrician install more electrical outlets if needed.
- All appliances should have UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or AGA (American Gas Association) labels.
- Cover electrical outlets 9 you have toddlers.
- Test smoke detectors monthly and replace batteries annually.
- Inspect fire extinguishers and recharge them if necessary.
- Practice the family’s fire escape route.
- All fireplaces should have a fireproof screen in front.
Inspecting your home and creating a hazard free environment will reduce the chances of having an accident and give you peace of mind. Take time to ensure the health and safety of your family and your home.
This information is provided by The W.E. Davis Insurance Agency and The Ohio Casualty Group of Insurance Companies to help make your home the safest it can be.