When you need to de-clutter the house and wouldn’t mind making a little extra cash while you’re at it, a yard sale is the perfect solution. However, before you invite everyone in town to hunt for the hidden treasures in your trash, it’s important to make sure you’re covered with liability protection so your yard sale doesn’t end up costing way more than you bargained for.
Consider this scenario: You set out some free weights on the lawn for 50 cents apiece (what a deal!). One of your neighbors’ young sons decides to test his super-strength by lifting them, but he ends up straining a muscle instead. Now the price tag on those weights could quickly spike from a couple of quarters to a couple thousand dollars because technically, you could be held liable for his injury and the resulting hospital bills.
If you’ve invested in a smart homeowners insurance policy, you’re likely protected by personal liability protection for just this reason. If someone is injured on your property and decides to sue, this type of insurance can help you cover medical treatment, court fees and other subsequent expenses. Typically, a standard home insurance policy includes at least $100,000 in liability coverage with the option to bump that up to as much as $500,000 or more.
Many homeowners ask whether it’s necessary to invest in a separate business policy for the event, since a yard sale is technically a profitable business transaction. Remember, most standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover liabilities that occur while the home is acting as a business.
The answer? If you’re just holding a one-time yard sale every couple of years, you could be able to get coverage from your existing policy. However, if you hold sales more frequently, you could need additional coverage. Regardless, it’s a good idea to talk to your licensed insurance agent about your coverage.
Another idea to help you prevent any accidents at your big sale is to clean up any dangerous debris in the yard, keep sharp objects such as knives or other kitchen tools out of reach of children and keep any pets away from the sale. If you have any other dangerous assets on the property, such as a pool or trampoline, make sure they’re out of range of the sale and properly secured (with a pool cover or a locked gate).
Limit access as much as you can so that you can keep a close eye on shoppers and their children. Even if you don’t get sued, you don’t want anyone to be involved in an accident. Don’t allow strangers in your home or garage during the sale.