Covered on the Fourth of July

Gotham is the NYC insurance broker that can guard against the holiday’s dangers

July 4th Fireworks

Fireworks over the East Village, Manhattan

We at Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc., wish everybody a happy and safe — emphasis on safe — Fourth of July weekend.

But every year, we see injury and property damage claims stemming from distraction, carelessness, ignorance, intoxication or some perilous combination.

The three big July 4 danger zones:

The Grill
Nothing goes down better on the Fourth than a tasty sausage or burger hot off the grill. But carelessness over the grill can lead to injury or property damage. A few tips:

  • Grills should be used only on level surfaces a safe distance away from the home, garage, landscaping and children.
  • The designated grill master should wear a protective apron and oven mitt that covers up to the elbow.
  • For charcoal grills, use starter fluid sparingly and rekindle reluctant fires with dry kindling rather than fluid, which can create out-of-control flash fires.
  • For propane grills, keep gas cylinders outside and away from the house. Valves should be turned off when the grill is not in use, and check often for leaks in the connections.

If something does go awry, know at least that accidental fire damage to property is covered under most standard homeowners and renters policies.

The Pool
If you own one of the estimated 7.4 million swimming pools in the United States, take some basic precautions to keep it safe, especially with small children around: install barriers that surround the pool, remove any loose items that might cause injury from the pool area and never — ever — leave small children unattended.

Pool owners need to consult and keep their homeowners insurance policies up to date, too. For obvious reasons, pools increase homeowners’ liability risks. Even though standard homeowners policies usually carry at least $100,000 in liability coverage, homeowners with pools should consider increasing the coverage amount to $300,000 or $500,000.

A relatively low-cost solution is an umbrella liability policy that, for $200 to $300 per year, can provide $1 million in liability protection over and above the amount in the homeowners policy. For a pool owner, it’s a smart move.

Consumer fireworks are illegal in both New York state and New Jersey. The only legal fireworks displays you’ll see in those states are sponsored by civic groups that have obtained permits beforehand. The average Joe can’t legally buy M-80s and bottle rockets and shoot them off from the rooftop on Flatbush Avenue.

That does not prevent the occasional average Joe from buying M-80s and bottle rockets and shooting them off from the rooftop on Flatbush Avenue. If that happens, and any of those fireworks cause damage to your property, you’re covered by the standard homeowners or renters policy — and you can sue Joe, who can look forward to an arrest. Check here for good information and tips on fireworks and fireworks safety.

As always, if you have any questions about your apartment, homeowners, condo, co-op or renters policy and the hazards it does and doesn’t cover, or you’re thinking about changing your policy or buying a new one, call or email us for a quote. Gotham is a local, family-owned firm that’s found insurance policies at the right price for more than a half-century in the five boroughs, and we can assure you that nothing is more important to us than our clients’ safety.

photo by: David Shankbone via WikiMedia Commons

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