Don’t Light Your Neighbors House on Fire (And Other Tips)

It’s the first week of July, which means the sounds of booming and whistling fireworks will be heard repeatedly over the next few days.  My daughter and her boyfriend bought enough fireworks to put on their own show this weekend.  Of course they went through their supply fairly quickly and got into a friendly competition with one of the neighbors for the best fieworks display.

At my first home years ago, my neighbor spent a long Independence Day weekend up north and left her teenagers behind.  Of course, these kids invited their friends over and had a party.  I watched those teens climb on their roof and jump off onto their trampoline below while drinking adult beverages.  They also had an enormous fireworks bounty of their own and proceeded to fire them off close to my house.  Now this particular summer was very dry- nearly drought conditions.  Some communities nearby had to cancel their official fireworks displays because of the dry conditions.  I watched these teens fire off these fireworks- waiting for one of them to blow off a finger, hand, or eye since they were firing them off at each other.

Eventually, these neighbor kids started aiming their fireworks at all of the neighbor’s houses.  I saw a few land on my roof and was anxious that one of the sparks would light up some debris on my roof and start my home on fire due to the dryness.  I took out my hose and sprayed down my roof and wooden siding to hopefully prevent a fire.

But what would have happened if these kids started someone’s home on fire with their fireworks?

The liability coverage on my neighbor’s homeowner’s policy would have kicked in if the neighbor’s teen was found liable.  Most homeowner’s policies have between $100,000 and $300,000 of liability protection.  Is that enough?  If my neighbor’s teen started my house on fire and I lost both my home and all of my personal belongings.  Not even close.

What about if my neighbor’s teen accidently blew off one of his friend’s fingers?  Or blinded him with an explosion to close to his friend’s face?

The liability protection of the homeowner’s policy would kick in for that situation as well if the teen was held liable.

If the injured party was a star athlete or brilliant student that has tons of potential, you can best believe the liability damages will be substantial.

And if someone was killed…  well…  we won’t even get into a wrongful death lawsuit…  (state statue says that a minor’s wrongful death starts at $500,000 for the family).

These are prime examples of why it is very important to protect yourself with a Personal Umbrella Policy.  A Personal Umbrella Policy sits on top of your Home (Condo or Renters) and Auto policy to give you increased liability protection.  A typical Personal Umbrella Policy will give an extra $1 million coverage (although higher amounts are available).  If you have $300,000 of liability coverage on your homeowners and a $1 million Personal Umbrella Policy, you now have $1.3 million of protection.

It doesn’t have to be a teenager blowing off fireworks to cause damage during this time of year.  Adults can cause harm as well.

Accidents happen and I don’t need any sort of fancy college degree to tell you that no one makes a claim on their excess liability insurance policy (Umbrella policy) because they “just knew it was going to happen but they did it anyways”… nope- everyone always says “I never thought it would happen to me” or “this has never happened to us before.”

Famous last words.

Umbrella policies usually cost less than $1 per day- and for that small amount of money- you save your home, your future earnings from being garnished for a really long time, and everything you have ever worked for.  You are spending small dollars to protect big dollars.  It is a good investment.  In fact- you still hope that even though you are spending money on this policy- that you never have to use it.  Because if you do- you have caused something really bad to happen- like a loss of life, a disability, or someone’s house to burn down.  These things have emotional effects that go far past monetary effects.

Bottom line- a Personal Umbrella Policy will offer more protection to your family (and piece of mind) in case of an accident.  Strongly recommended for those of you who like to get overzealous on the 4th of July… or any holiday, for that matter…

And P.S.  An Aim-and-Flame is always a better option than a match or a regular lighter when lighting those fireworks.  Just saying!  Stay safe!

 

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