Navigating the Insurance Risks of Today’s Recreational Pursuits

Who doesn’t love a good adrenaline rush? It could be soaring on a zipline, cruising down a city street on a rental scooter, or throwing axes like a lumberjack. But as we revel in the excitement, have we considered what we’re signing up for? Especially when fun’s new frontier is increasingly at odds with words like “liability,” “insurance,” and yes, “personal safety.”

The Electric Scooter Surge: A High-Speed Fun Hazard

In urban jungles across America, electric scooters are the new taxis. Parked on corners or dropped haphazardly on sidewalks, they promise convenient travel with a side of exhilaration. But what happens when the thrill turns into a spill?

Take Greg Reigler’s cautionary tale. A short, familiar ride turned disastrous when a rogue curb disrupted his journey, resulting in nearly $40,000 of medical bills. Greg, who was without health insurance, learned the hard way that the terms and conditions absolve the scooter company of liability. A study published in JAMA tells us Greg’s not alone—hundreds land in emergency rooms yearly due to scooter incidents.

States have varying stances on scooter regulations, but most don’t require a driver’s license, and some companies don’t cover personal injury. According to a Wall Street Journal Article, your Homeowners or Renters insurance may or may not cover liability arising from the use of electric scooters. They certainly won’t cover damage to the scooter itself without a special endorsement.  So, before you hop on, consider investing in specialized electric scooter insurance.

Bouncing Off the Walls: The Inflatable Crisis

The bounce house: a joyful castle of air where kids can leap like superheroes. But a study from the American Meteorological Society shows that inflatables are not all fun and games. It documents over 400 injuries and numerous fatalities worldwide from wind-related incidents.

With viral videos capturing bounce houses tumbling in the wind, we have to question their safety measures. The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) further underlines the need for caution, citing a surge in bounce house injuries over the years.

A quick Google search will yield multiple insurance carriers that offer liability insurance and risk management advice to operators. As the bouncing epidemic grows, make sure to check your venue’s insurance credentials before letting your little ones jump in.

New Thrills, Old Dangers: Axe Throwing and Smash Rooms

For those seeking edgier pursuits, axe throwing and “smash rooms” provide an outlet for primal thrills. Yet, despite the glaring risks, these venues usually adhere to strict safety protocols, as described by Brett Pollak of Insurance Allies, an agency specializing in entertainment risks like axe throwing.Carnival sport

Axe-throwing venues require waiver/release forms that minimize company liability. However, each venue’s insurance policy varies, so it’s essential to read the fine print. As the axe-throwing industry blooms, with over 600 venues nationwide, owners are urged to include general liability, accident, property, and liquor liability in their insurance.

Smash rooms, meanwhile, typically limit the number of participants in a room to avoid “over-exuberant” accidents. In addition to general liability, accident insurance, and property insurance, many also offer customized coverage tailored to clients’ needs.

The Tamer Side of Adventure: Golf Carts and Drones

Golf carts have evolved into suburban runabouts, no longer confined to the greens. But with increasing accidents, including a tragic incident involving a Florida child, regulations are tightening. Studies by NEISS point to the need for insurance coverages like liability, collision, and comprehensive plans.

Recreational drones, accounting for 63% of registered drones in the U.S., have also seen their share of accidents. As Kevin Amrhein from the Insurance Journal Academy states, the definition of aircraft liability is comprehensive and mandatory. Hence, specialized drone insurance becomes increasingly critical.

Keeping Your Head Above Water: Jet-Skis and Personal Watercraft

Joyriding on a Jet-Ski can be a splashy affair, but without the right insurance, you could be sinking in bills. Most personal lines carriers offer varied insurance rates based on several factors, with liability coverage as the cornerstone.

The Bottom Line

We all love fun, but there’s a thin line between exhilaration and danger. So, before you soar, bounce, throw, or zoom, understand what you’re signing up for. Adequate insurance can turn a potential nightmare back into an adventure worth remembering.

As regards owning or operating jet skis, drones, golf carts, or electric scooters, always check with your personal insurance agent to verify coverage for both liability and physical damage coverage.golf cart crashed in water

As regards the rental of inflatables, axe throwing facilities, or smash room facilities for private parties or other events, you will need to rely on the General Liability insurance provided by the respective provider. Be sure to demand a certificate of insurance that evidences at least a $1M limit and ask to be named as an additional insured.

And whatever you do, make sure you are covered by quality health insurance before engaging in any of these fun, but risky activities.

Source:  https://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/mag-features/2023/08/07/733387.htm

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