Surprising Home Safety Hazards

surprising home safety hazardsIf you visit Pablo Solomon’s home in the Texas Hill Country, be sure to watch out for scorpions.

When Solomon, an artist and environmental-design expert, warns others about these critters (who like to crawl into unattended shoes), he’s being not only a good host but a smart homeowner. After all, if a scorpion stings a guest, Solomon could be held liable.

While scorpions obviously aren’t a concern for everyone, we all have potentially dangerous hazards around the home; and it’s worth assessing their risk. If guests or visitors—including mailmen or service providers—injure themselves on your property, they could look to you to pay the damages.

Consult your homeowners policy to know what it covers—just remember that the key to a safe home is addressing problem areas before anything occurs. Here’s how to help protect your visitors from your home’s hazards.

Identify Red Flags

When performing property inspections, insurance companies look for certain things that pose a potential hazard or liability concern. You should keep an eye out for the same things. Pay special attention to anything that looks broken or out of place; stairs, decks and porches are a good place to start. Beyond the steps and flooring, be sure handrails and railings are solid and that there’s proper spacing between balusters.

Remember, though, that liability doesn’t stop at your front door. Stroll around the perimeter of your home to ensure the safety of your guests. Is there debris on the lawn, like an inoperable vehicle or nonworking appliances (a fridge or washer/dryer)? And never forget particularly hazardous areas like trampolines, pools and skate ramps. For these, always maintain proper fencing and a locked gate.

Protect Tiny Guests

Take extra care if you’re expecting little ones in the house. Besides always ensuring proper adult supervision, you’ll want to remove trip hazards, like a garden hose lying across a sidewalk, as well as toys or bikes in the driveway. And never underestimate what curious kids may get into—cabinets with chemicals and cleaning products, or drawers with dangerous implements like kitchen knives. Always keep these locked or otherwise childproof.

If you have a dog, take extra precautions with little ones around. Is your pooch particularly aggressive? Does he have a tendency to snap at children or get nervous around loud noises? Take steps to ensure that your pet isn’t put into these stressful situations, especially if your guests have a fear of dogs. The fix is easy: Simply secure Fido in another room before guests come over.

To help protect yourself and your home, get a free quote through the GEICO Insurance Agency for homeowners or renters insurance.

Next article: 7 Home Renovation Do’s and Don’ts

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