PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST THE RISKS OF YARD SALES

With the arrival of warm, balmy weather, yard sales begin to pop up everywhere. Although a yard sale might transform your spring cleaning chores into a profitable day of getting rid of unwanted items, it can also create a setting for a legal nightmare. For example, you're legally liable if someone at the yard sale slips, trips, or falls and injures themselves. Such scenarios are exactly why you must know what your homeowner's insurance covers before you take on the responsibility of inviting yard sale-goers onto your property.

Most standard Homeowners policies will provide $100,000 dollars worth of liability coverage for property damage or bodily injury that is caused to others by those living in the home. The coverage amount can be used to cover your legal defense and any resulting monetary judgments against you.

No-fault medical coverage is another feature of your Homeowners insurance liability protection. It usually provides between $1,000 to $5,000 dollars worth of coverage. This feature can help you avoid lawsuits from a person injured on your property since it will allow them to directly submit their medical-related bills to your insurer for payment.

The above might seem adequate enough for a yard sale, but given today's litigious mentality, it might be prudent for you to add to your liability protection. You might consider raising your Homeowners policy's liability coverage to at least $300,000 to $500,000, depending on your specific needs and property. An Excess Liability or Umbrella policy can provide additional protection and won't typically cost more than $350 a year for $1 million worth of coverage.

The Insurance Information Institute has an excellent guide on the insurance needs for various types of yard sale events:

  • Charity or fundraiser event - your Homeowners insurance policy will most likely be adequate coverage during an event to raise money for a charity or non-profit. However, you might also consider contacting the entity to ask if they have any insurance protection to extend to you for the event.
  • Occasional or one-time events - the occasional yard sale that's designed to sell personal items that you no longer want is also typically covered under your Homeowners policy, but do consult your insurance agent to ensure you're adequately covered.
  • Multiple, frequent yard sales - a separate Business Liability or In-Home Business policy should be considered if you're planning to have multiple yard sales.
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