Do you have the right insurance for these summer vagaries?

Summer is a great time for gatherings with friends and family, but with more activities and travel, the risk of accidents and injuries increases. Some of these incidents could cost you thousands of dollars if you don’t have the right insurance coverage.

Here’s how to make sure you’re properly covered for some common summer scenarios so you can make the most of those much-anticipated sunny months.

Road trips

Cramming in the car with friends can be a budget-friendly way to travel. But before getting behind the wheel, it’s wise to check your car insurance.

“When you’re driving in an unfamiliar place, the likelihood of an accident increases,” says Ted Olsen, vice president of Goosehead Insurance.

Your state’s minimum auto insurance requirement may not provide sufficient coverage if you cause an accident during your trip. You will be responsible for costs related to the accident, such as medical expenses and repairs.

Olsen recommends choosing liability auto insurance above the minimum required by law. The extra coverage isn’t expensive and can help protect you from the impact of a personal injury lawsuit, he says.

You may also want comprehensive and collision coverage, says Karen Collins, assistant vice president of personal lines at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association. This coverage is optional, but without it you may have to pay out of pocket to repair your car if it is damaged. Liability insurance only covers damage you cause to others and their property.

Be sure to read: The average national gasoline price in the United States just hit $5 a gallon for the first time ever. Prepare for prices to “go even higher,” says GasBuddy.

Rent a car

When renting a car, be aware that your current car policy may affect your rental car insurance.

Your auto insurance typically extends to a rental car, but only for equivalent coverage, Olsen says. So if you don’t have collision coverage on your personal vehicle, you could be responsible for the cost of repairs if you wreck that brand new rental car.

If you’d rather not add collision and casualty to your current auto policy, you can purchase loss-damage coverage from the car rental company instead. This waiver means you don’t have to pay for damages if your rental car is destroyed or stolen.

Your credit card may also provide rental car coverage, and purchasing a standalone car rental policy is another option.

Before renting a car, check your current auto insurance coverage and credit card benefits. Consider purchasing additional coverage if your current auto insurance policy has low limits or is liability only.

Pool party

Swimming pools can be dangerous, especially for young children. If someone drowns or is injured on your property, you could be personally liable if you don’t have sufficient liability coverage through your homeowners insurance.

Olsen recommends at least $500,000 in homeowners liability insurance for the average homeowner, and Mark Sherman, an insurance agent with Country Financial in Missouri, says pool owners might want more.

Sherman generally suggests at least $1 million in liability insurance for pool owners. It doesn’t add much to the cost, he says, and in the event of an injury lawsuit, “those extra few dollars a month could be the difference between dealing with a terrible situation or losing everything you worked for.” for your whole life.

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ATVs and dirt bikes

Small motorized vehicles such as ATVs or dirt bikes may not be covered by your auto, home or renter’s insurance. Any coverage that extends to these vehicles will likely end at your property line.

“There are a lot of cheap ‘toys’ that people choose not to insure because it’s not required by law. It’s a huge point of risk,” says Olsen. “There are a ton of ATV lawsuits and injuries.”

The best thing to do is to buy a separate policy for your small motorized vehicles, he says.


Small boats, such as kayaks and canoes, may have little coverage with homeowners insurance, while motorboats over 25 horsepower are generally not covered.

Olsen recommends purchasing a separate insurance policy for your boat. “Make sure it’s covered at least for liability, even if it’s not required by law,” he says. “There are also optional covers, similar to car insurance. Some people will insure a boat for liability, then in the summer, when they actually use it, add comprehensive coverage and collision coverage.

Also see: ‘You only live once, man. I think it’s time to really accept what we have”: Americans brace for a summer of searing inflation

Consider an umbrella font

Standard insurance policies — whether for your home, car, boat, ATV or anything else — typically offer no more than $500,000 in liability coverage, Olsen says. “That’s usually the most you can get, but a lot of people need more than that.”

If you need additional liability coverage, Olsen and Collins recommend umbrella insurance, which will kick in if you’re sued for more damage than your standard insurance policy covers. Olsen says a $1 million umbrella policy typically costs around $300 a year, and Collins says that can be a smart move.

“If there is potential for litigation, this umbrella policy will generally provide substantial benefits,” Collins said.

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Ciarra Jones writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected]

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