FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 2021
Now that there’s plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors, you probably are excited to break out your grill. Not only is it a great way to cook delicious meals, it’s many families’ social gathering place during the summer. All the same, grills have their drawbacks. Like any indoor stove, they are cooking devices. Therefore, they could experience problems — namely fires — and damage the home or harm others. Can your homeowners insurancehelp if problems strike?
How Home Insurance Can Help With Grill Accidents
Consider a few of the problems that might occur when you use your grill.
A grill positioned too close to your home might ignite the structure.
In high winds, grills could tip over, causing fires or burning those nearby.
Coal or wood-fired grills could emit sparks, potentially igniting foliage nearby.
Grills often produce poisonous carbon monoxide gas. If used in areas that do not have ventilation, the accumulation of gas from the grill could sicken or kill those around.
Should accidents occur, your homeowners insurance policy might be able to help you recover some of the damage costs.
Should something unexpected — such a gas explosion or severe weather — damage the grill, your contents insurance might be able to cover the cost of a new item.
Damage to the home’s structure, such as from a grill fire, will likely have coverage under the home’s structure insurance.
A grill accident could hurt someone else or damage someone else’s property. Your liability insurance or medical payments insurance might help them cover the costs related to their medical bills or recovery costs.
However, never assume that your policy will cover the grill. For example:
Some homeowners policies often won’t insure items stored outdoors.
If an insurer finds that you committed extreme negligence while using the grill (such as by trying to grill inside the house), then they might refuse to cover your losses.
In many cases, you will have to pay a deductible for the damage a grill fire causes. Therefore, if the cost of the grill itself is not worth the deductible price, you might even have no coverage.
The most important thing to do is to tell your RCU Insurance Services agent that you own and use the grill. In many cases, agents will even ask you if you have one. This can help them adapt your coverage to account for the risks of grill ownership. Therefore, you can ensure you have coverage in any way your policy can offer it.
Safe Grilling This Summer
As you plan to pull out your grill, keep safety and security in mind. The more you know how to handle the grill, the better you can protect yourself.
1. Monitor Gas Usage
If you have a gas grill, then you must use the propane tank carefully. Ensure that you attach all hoses correctly, and only leave the gas turned on while using the grill. You often have to shut off the gas supply separately from turning off the flame.
2. Keep the Flame Under Control
Your grill will include very specific instructions for lighting the flame. Only start the flame in the way described by the owner’s manual. When cooking, monitor and adjust the flame so that it never gets out of control (and so that it ensures a perfectly-cooked meal).
3. Cook in Open Areas
It goes without saying that you should never grill inside your house. However, even cooking too closely to the home’s structure could be a powder keg. Move the grill to an open space, away from foliage and structures. If you have a specific structure where you grill — such as in a gazebo — ensure the area has proper ventilation.
4. Keep the Grill Covered
Keep the lid closed on the grill while you cook. It will help ensure items cook correctly. However, it can also help you prevent fires because the cover can isolate sparks.
5. Be Ready to Extinguish
Always keep a fire extinguisher close to the grill. Do not try to douse a grill fire using water. Pay attention to any burn bans in your area. If the local environment is very dry, then there might be a risk of triggering a wildfire. You might have to put your plans on hold.
6. Keep People Away from the Grill
Never let small kids around the working grill. Also, only let adults who know how to grill use yours. If someone is intoxicated, it might be unsafe to let them grill.
7. Clean Up and Store Safely
After you finish grilling, you need to shut the grill down appropriately.
Turn off the gas. Let any coals or wood fully extinguish before disposing of them.
Clean the grill’s racks to prevent flammable buildups.
Store the grill in an enclosed area. Many grills come with covers to protect them from the elements.
If you ever smell gas or smoke when not using the grill, carefully remove the tank and dispose of it. If you feel it necessary, call the police or fire department to help you.
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