Did you install a pool in your backyard and decide to host a summer barbecue? Before inviting people over, double-check that you have the right insurance coverage.

In-ground and above-ground pools

Pools—whether in-ground or above-ground—are structures. Typically, structures are covered for 10% of the dwelling limit. This limit may be increased if it’s not sufficient. Homeowners should inquire about covered perils and how these structures will be valued if they are damaged.

Liability for swimming accidents. Homeowners with pools should ensure they have adequate personal-liability coverage in case there’s an accident when people are in or near the pool.


Before grilling, homeowners should take precautions to avoid accidents that can cause injury. It’s important to check grills for cracks, leaks or breakages before barbecue season starts. Grills should be kept on level surfaces and not on a wooden deck—especially a roof deck (illegal in many cities).

If a barbecue causes property damage, a homeowners policy can cover it as a covered peril. Injuries to guests can be covered under the personal liability section of the policy.

More on injuries, liability

The likelihood of injuries rises if alcohol is served. While homeowners insurance can provide some liquor liability for gatherings, it may be limited and insufficient for certain exposures. In New Jersey, hosts may not serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated guest—regardless of age—if it’s reasonably foreseeable that the guest is about to drive.

This can make homeowners liable if friends drive home drunk from gatherings—something to beware when serving alcohol. To mitigate risk, hosts should watch for signs that guests have had too much to drink, and should slow them down or cut them off.

To occupy kids, homeowners may consider an inflatable bouncy castle. These also can cause injuries and homeowners may be liable, even if parents sign waivers. Homeowners should ensure that their policies cover bouncy castles and other temporary structures. Specialty insurance also can cover bouncy castles.

Give us a call

Backyard barbecues are as American as apple pie, but they can lead to costly liabilities. Do you know how your homeowners policy covers you? Did you add a pool to your property? Give us a call.

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