Safety tips for Recreational Vehicles

Some of life’s greatest joys happen while sitting around a campfire, making a wake on the lake or cruising down a backroad. Whether you own a boat, motorcycle, off-road vehicle or motorhome, recreation insurance can help protect you and your vehicle from the unexpected. In addition to this insurance safety measure, you need to practice extra caution when operating any of these vehicles. Here are some of the top things to keep in mind for each recreational vehicle: 

Boat safety

Time spent on the water can leave you with lasting memories. Relax without worry, knowing you have taken these steps to ensure a safe boat ride or activity. 

  • Equipment: Everyone on board must have a life jacket of appropriate size available to them. Other equipment, including oars, a bailing bucket, a whistle, visual distress signals, navigation lights, a fire extinguisher and an anchor are also required by the U.S. Coast Guard to have on board while you boat. 
  • Operating tips: Make sure the person steering the boat is aware of the rules for safe boating. A few of the major rules to follow include: Check the weather beforehand, don’t exceed the boat weight or passenger limit, don’t drink and steer the boat, follow wake zone speed limits and always be aware of nearby swimmers. 

Motorcycle safety

Whether you’re taking your motorcycle for a long road trip or a short joy ride, it’s important to take steps to ensure a safe journey.  

  • Equipment: Always wear a helmet and limit the number of passengers to the number allowed on your specific bike. You should also consider wearing gear that protects you from debris, potential accidents and the weather. Leather jackets, sturdy boots and protective eyewear are all great items to help shield you from possible dangers. 
  • Operating tips: When driving a motorcycle, it’s always recommended to drive defensively. This means never assuming other drivers on the road can see you, since motorcycles are much less visible vehicles. To make yourself a little more visible, avoid driving in blind spots or driving too closely to other vehicles. Also, as with any other vehicle, check for weather that could cause hazardous driving conditions.

Off-Road Vehicle safety

Your weekend getaway may include straying off the main path and getting some mud on the tires. For your next off-road adventure, follow these safety tips: 

  • Equipment: Just like motorcycles, helmets are always a must on an off-road vehicle. Driving an open vehicle through rough terrain at accelerated speeds means there’s a great risk for head injury. Wearing gear like goggles, long pants and boots is also recommended to help protect you from flying debris or tall grass, limbs or rocks that could injure you. 
  • Operating tips: Never drive your off-road vehicle on highways, streets or paved roads. Regularly check your vehicle’s functions like steering, brakes and tires. Also, make sure you’re operating an off-road vehicle that’s right for your age and never allow passengers on a single-rider vehicle. 

About Recreation Insurance

Following these safety tips can help reduce your chances of an accident, but a small chance will always remain. Whether you have a boat, motorhome, motorcycle or off-road vehicle, recreation insurance can help cover your vehicle and passengers if something unexpected does happen. To learn more about the features offered in our recreational policies or to get a quote, contact an OKFB agent near you.

Protection for your Backyard Swimming Pool

As we enter the dog days of summer, having a pool at home provides refreshing relief from the sun and heat. Your backyard pool may be a savior during these long summer days and a fun time for the kids, but it also presents some risks. It’s important to be aware of how your pool impacts your insurance, so if you’re thinking about adding a pool or buying a home with one, we have some tips for you on pool safety and insurance coverage.

An “Attractive Nuisance”

Your backyard oasis may add value to your property, but it is considered by insurance companies as an attractive nuisance. An “attractive nuisance” is anything that might attract a child and be dangerous to an unsupervised child — and you can be held liable if something were to happen. Things like trampolines, playgrounds and man-made ponds are all considered attractive nuisances. As the homeowner, you are responsible for the risks posed by your pool and preventing potential harm that could come from it. Having an insurance policy that includes coverage for your pool can help you prevent poolside accidents by requiring you to meet certain safety measures. 

Safety Precautions

In order to include coverage for your pool in your insurance policy, many companies require you to take safety precautions that reduce the chance of an accident in or around your pool. Here are some safety precautions that may be required for you to obtain policy coverage for your pool:

  1. Install a fence around the entire perimeter of the pool, with a self-latching gate lock that children can’t reach. 
  2. Get a safety cover to serve as a secondary barrier. Lockable pool covers are a great way to help ensure children are not using the pool without supervision.
  3. Provide accessible safety equipment. Flotation devices near the pool for children who are not yet able to swim can help prevent accidents. 

If you don’t fulfill these safety measures, you could face denied insurance coverage or claims, cancelled policies and possibly large liability lawsuits for which you could be solely responsible. 

Insurance Options

Pool insurance by itself doesn’t exist. You’ll need to talk to an OKFB Insurance agent to find out how you can get coverage for your pool by adding your pool to your home insurance policy. It may also be beneficial to add an umbrella policy, which can provide an additional layer of liability coverage. We offer personal umbrella insurance that’s designed to protect you and your family from lawsuits not fully covered under a standard liability policy.

Summer Outdoor Safety Tips for the Whole Family

Summer is here, which means it’s time to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities with the family. Whether you’re cooling off in the pool or grilling burgers, it’s important to keep safety tips top of mind. Check out these tips to help ensure you have a fun and safe summer.

Water safety

Whether you’re poolside or lakeside this summer, keep these tips in mind to make sure you and your family are safe from any water-related accidents.

  1. Use flotation devices. Water conditions can change in an instant, so even those riding in a boat or in shallow water should wear a life jacket at the lake at all times. At the pool, children who can’t swim should be outfitted with arm floaties or life jackets and adults and children who can’t swim should stay in the shallow areas where they can safely touch the bottom of the pool.
  2. Apply sunscreen. Make sure to apply sunscreen liberally and often. An appropriate SPF can help protect your skin against damage and burns from the intense summer sun.
  3. Never leave children unattended. Always watch children when they’re in or around water. This will help prevent any water-related accidents, as well as allow you to take action quickly if a situation occurs

Fire and grill safety

Summer means campfires, bonfires and outdoor grilling. These tips are helpful if you are working with fire or heat this summer.

  1. Choose the right location. Keep any fire apparatus or grill at least 10 feet away from any home or structure and make sure it is on a flat surface. Also keep it away from overhanging branches and patio coverings.
  2. Check weather and burn status. Fires can unexpectedly spread, especially on windy days. Make sure to check the weather as well as the burn status to avoid the dangerous spread of a wildfire.
  3. Be smart around fire. Never allow children or pets to be unattended around fires. Follow basic safety tips such as: avoid wearing flowy clothing, avoid drinking while grilling or dealing with fire and always keep a fire extinguisher in close vicinity of the fire/grill.

Playground safety

Children’s outside playground equipment can have some hidden hazards during the summertime. Here are some things to watch for in the summer heat.

  1. Hot surfaces. The metal and plastic on the surface of playground equipment can reach temperatures between 120-150 degrees. You will want to check the heat levels of these surfaces before your children play on them, or seek out equipment that is in a shaded area.
  2. Insects. Wasps and mosquitos are two insects commonly found at playground sites that you will want to watch for in the summer. Wasps can sting and injure a child, and mosquitos are known for transmitting diseases. Applying bug spray can help prevent encounters with these, and other, insects.
  3. Bacteria. Children can pick up all kinds of viruses and bacteria from playground equipment. Some playgrounds may offer wipes — or you can pack your own — for sanitizing surfaces before playing on them, which can help prevent the spread of diseases. Have your children wash their hands before and after a playground visit to help keep illness at bay.

No matter what activity your family is enjoying this summer, always stay hydrated and apply sunscreen. Drink water continuously throughout the day and take breaks in the shade to avoid heat exhaustion and dehydration. Be aware of the warning signs so that you can take action if necessary.

Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s Safety Services Division offers a wide variety of free safety programs that provide further information and safety tips. To learn more or request a program in your community, visit OKFB’s Safety Services Division.