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Reduce Liability Exposures at Home — Garage Sale Safety Tips

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The second Saturday of August is heralded as National Garage Sale Day. Falling on August 13th this year, get ready to peruse your local sales! And if you’re hosting a garage or yard sale, plan ahead to have a safe and profitable day with our best garage sale safety tips!

Read on to learn more about reducing your liability exposures at home, then get out and enjoy the deals at your local garage sales — and maybe even make a few deals of your own!


Reduce Liability Exposures on Garage Sale Day

It’s an American tradition to host a garage or yard sale or to take a warm Saturday morning to visit other neighborhood sales. Everyone likes a bargain, and the appeal of finding a gem among dusty discards is strong. But inviting strangers — and even friends — onto your property creates liability risks to consider.

Try these garage sale safety tips to keep safe while selling your outgrown treasures:


Look at your home and property with an eye for what could go wrong.

Consider an outsider’s perspective and take a walk around your home and property. Check for things like loose floorboards on the porch, unsteady handrails, and overgrown landscaping encroaching on walking paths. Think about how visitors may move around your space and ensure that open access areas are safe. If you have a gate to private spaces, like your pool or backyard, be sure to lock it.


Make repairs or restrict access to areas that may be unsafe.

If you find part of your property needing repairs, plan to fix the issues before garage sale day. If you can’t, consider closing off that part of your home or property. Clearly mark areas where garage sale visitors can’t access with signs or barriers. And remember to pay attention to people on the day of your sale to help them stay in safe areas. Lock your doors and don’t allow anyone inside your home, even for a quick bathroom visit.


Review your homeowner’s insurance policy and limits.

Before hosting your garage sale, review your insurance policy and limits. Most homeowner’s and renter’s policies cover the occasional garage sale. But if you often hold garage sales, you may want to consider a business liability policy or in-home business policy. And in either case, be sure your liability limits are sufficient for the additional risks of inviting strangers to your property. Contact your agent to increase your limits or discuss coverage questions.


Organize your for-sale items smartly.

People will rummage through your items, but you can plan ahead for safer ways to present your stuff. For example, avoid stacking items in tall piles or placing heavy items high on shelves. If you have anything potentially dangerous, like knives or tools, think about how to keep children away from the blades. Make sure to keep footpaths clear and wide enough for people to walk safely.


Take care in selecting your items to sell.

Be selective when adding items to your garage sale bin. Avoid putting anything out for sale that is faulty or recalled by the manufacturer, especially items designed for infants. And don’t sell your unused liquor or that bottle of wine someone brought as a hostess gift — you could face a hefty fine for selling liquor without a license in many states. It may be unwise to set out lots of valuable items on display. Consider if fragile or breakable things would be better suited for eBay or a private Facebook sale.


Keep pets and small children away on the day of the sale.

You’ll hopefully be busy with potential customers when your garage sale is underway. Be sure to secure your pets and children first to keep everyone safe. Children can get hurt easily, and dogs and strangers don’t mix well. Older children may want to help out or even sell some of their own things, but infants and toddlers pose more of a risk than reward at a garage sale. Keep an eye out for other people’s children, too. If anyone does fall or gets hurt at your sale, be sure to call for medical attention.


Help Your Clients With Garage Sale Safety

Share these garage sale safety tips with your clients to help them stay safer when hosting garage sales at their homes. As their agent or broker, you can help them understand their current coverage and any gaps — and help them increase their liability limits if necessary.

For more great resources designed to empower independent agents and brokers, become a member of the American Agents Alliance. Gain access to valuable discounts and a vast network of professionals to expand your knowledge and business.

Join us today!

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