ByJune 29, 2021 8:12 am
COLUMBUS – Vacation trips, barbecues, parties, fireworks and boating are common Independence Day activities that involve costly risks. The AAA Ohio Auto Club Insurance Agency offers advice to avoid common breakdowns as they celebrate this July 4th.
1) Theft while on vacation
AAA expects the second highest Independence Day travel volume this year (third highest in Ohio) on record. Since many are leaving for the first time in more than a year, they leave their homes and belongings vulnerable to thieves. The AAA Ohio Auto Club insurance agency recommends travelers to:
- Avoid the temptation of social media: When you post a photo on the beach or enjoy a popular travel destination, just know you are not home. Instead, post about the vacation afterwards.
- Make your house look inhabited: Stop mail and newspapers, maintain lawns, and turn on timers. All of these can help ward off potential thieves by making them think someone is home. You can also install cameras to monitor your home on the go.
- Notify the right people: If you have an alarm, let the alarm company know how long you will be gone. You can also notify your local police department and ask them to check the house regularly. A trusted neighbor can also help you take care of you.
- Safe things on the go: Always keep car doors locked, windows closed and keys out of the vehicle. Do not leave valuables in the vehicle and beware of what you leave behind in hotel rooms. If possible, use the safe provided.
In most cases, household or tenant insurance covers personal property around the world; it is limited and a deductible may apply. It is very important to speak to your insurance agent before leaving so that you know exactly what is insured.
2) Restricted driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 28 people die in drunk-driving accidents every day in the United States. That’s one person every 52 minutes. To avoid disruptions to driving this vacation, Ohioans should:
- Plan ahead: name a sober driver or call a taxi or rideshare.
- Responsible Host: Serve soft drinks and note that Ohio host liability law holds those who serve alcohol liable if their drunk guests are involved in an accident on their way home. Home insurance can cover this liability, but it can be avoided by making sure no one goes home drunk.
3) BBQ fire
According to the US Fire Administration, around 5,700 barbecues take place on residential properties every year. Most are caused by broken gas grills. These fires cause an average of $ 37 million in damage annually and send thousands to the emergency room with burns. When barbecuing in the park or at home, remember:
- Place your grill at least 3 m away from walls or tents
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby
- Never leave a grill burning unattended
- Remove the fat from the grill and grill trays
- Cook food thoroughly
If a barbecue fire occurs, normal household insurance usually covers the damage. The liability part of the policy also covers burns or food-related illnesses of your guests. If a hot grill catches your vehicle on fire, your car insurance’s fully comprehensive insurance can help cover the damage. For more information and additional tips, see Outdoor Grilling Safety Tips | Insights | AAA Ohio
4) Fireworks injuries
Ohio law requires a license to fire large fireworks, but sparklers and smoke bombs that are legal in Ohio can still cause damage or injury if not used responsibly.
“Almost a third of all firework injuries are caused by sparklers,” said Ed Conley, director, Insurance Operations, AAA Ohio Auto Club. “While they won’t be the most exciting display you’ll see while on vacation, it’s important to take steps to minimize your risk while using them.”
The AAA Ohio Auto Club insurance agency recommends Ohioans:
- Follow all local laws regarding the use of fireworks. If you’re not sure, check out the Ohio Revised Code.
- Supervise all children with fireworks. According to the US Fire Administration, children under the age of 15 are responsible for nearly 40% of fireworks injuries.
- Protect your home. Set off fireworks in a safe area away from any structure. Watch out for branches, bushes, or dry grass that could catch fire.
- Extinguish fireworks completely. Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby, and never throw hot fireworks into a trash can. Soak used fireworks in a bucket of water overnight.
For more information and tips, see Fireworks Safety Tips | Protect Your Home From Fireworks Damage (aaa.com)
5) Boating accidents
“If you want to enjoy Independence Day on the water, safety is key,” said Conley. “If you take a few extra steps before you set off, you can make sure your day on the lake starts off with a bang.”
- Don’t drink and go boating: Just like in your car, drinking alcohol while driving a boat is extremely dangerous and can cause harm to yourself or others. A blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit when driving a boat is also considered a federal offense with high penalties.
- Check all the lights: If you plan to be outside after sunset, it is important that others can see you.
- Bring the right materials: Make sure you have enough life jackets for everyone on board, and remember that all children under the age of 13 must wear them on the water. Also, pack a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, tool kit, flashlight, and a phone or two-way radio for communication.
- Have a proper registration and certificate: If you own a boat in Ohio that is more than 10 horsepower and were born after 1982, you must earn an education certificate.
- Be well insured: Make sure your insurance policy is up to date and that you have the correct policy for your vessel. If you are not sure, speak to your insurance agent before heading out on the lake.
For more information on boat safety, see Boat Safety Checklist | AAA Ohio Boat Insurance
AAA provides travel, insurance, financial, and automotive services to more than 62 million members. Founded in 1902, the non-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at AAA.com.