You might have a small backyard or a detached garage or a big, sprawling backyard and a garage attached to your home. Maybe you have a backyard but not a garage, or vice versa. No matter your layout, it is important for homeowners to understand what is and is not protected by home insurance in these places.
Your backyard and garage have insurance risks in them. These areas of your home can get damaged and people may get injured in them. The items you keep in these areas may also get lost or stolen.
AAA is here to help with home property insurance to protect your backyard and garage – no matter their shape or size.
Why You Need Home Property Insurance for Your Yard
Do you have a trampoline or a pool in your backyard? A tree house? These are great places, but they are also areas where people can get injured. If someone visits your home and falls from a trampoline or a tree house, you could be held responsible. Liability coverage in a homeowners policy protects you from having to pay hospital bills for an accident on your property.
Also, if a tree falls and damages your pool, it helps to have insurance to cover the damage and help you replace or repair your pool. Similarly, if someone steals property from your backyard or garage, insurance covers the stolen items.
Backyards and garages are particularly vulnerable to insurance risks such as fire, floods and other extreme weather. Insurance can give you the funds and peace of mind to move forward after a natural disaster.
Insurance Risk in Backyard Structures
In addition to or in place of a garage, if you have a shed in your backyard it is part of your property (an “attached structure” in insurance language) and should be covered by your home insurance. Any structure on your property needs coverage.
If you have a fire pit, that also carries an insurance risk. Sit a safe distance away from an active fire pit, and be careful when rearranging wood logs or other burning material. Always be careful around open flames, including fire pits, barbeques and grills.
If you want to add a pool to your property, please follow safety precautions and install a fence with a locked gate outside the pool so children cannot wander in unsupervised. A pool alarm is also advisable as a second layer of protection. An adult needs to watch while children are in the pool. Contact your local government because you might be legally required to install additional safety features.
Learn more about pools and homeowners insurance.
On that note, if you plan to add a pool, remodel your garage or make major changes to your backyard, please contact your insurance agent first. Your coverage may need to be updated, and the insurance risk may change. Ask if your policy covers renovations and additions to your backyard and garage. This especially applies if you are doing the work yourself. Even if you hire an outside contractor, ask to see how they cover their workers. Know your coverage in case of an accident while they are renovating your property.
Garage Insurance Inside and Out
Many families use their garage as a storage area. In addition to being a place to park the car, it can be a place for Christmas decorations in the warm months and patio furniture storage when it’s cold, often among many other things.
What do you keep in your garage? Tools and yard equipment? Bikes and skateboards? Heirlooms? Do you use it as a workspace for your hobbies? If these objects are important to you – or expensive – you should keep a list of them for your insurance company, with attached receipts to show value. If you do not have a receipt, you can have items appraised for their value. Try to keep appraisals current and updated every three to five years.
Home insurance has some coverage for personal property, but in the case of valuable or rare items, you may want to raise the liability limit or add a rider to your coverage. It is always smart to keep photos and/or video of your belongings in case you need to show your insurance company the condition of the items you keep in your garage if they are stolen or damaged.
Has your homeowners insurance protected you in an instance involving your backyard or garage? Share your story in the comments.
To learn more about how to protect your garage and backyard, schedule an appointment with a AAA insurance agent at a time that is convenient for you.