Many Parents Unaware of Every Day Insurance Risks When Hosting Kids: Survey

Between soccer practice, play dates and sleepovers, parents are busier than ever. Despite the majority (83 percent) of parents with children aged five to 12 years saying they drive and/or host other children in their home, more than half are unaware of the insurance ramifications of certain behaviors and decisions, according to new research from Mass.-based Liberty Mutual, the fifth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S.

What’s more, nearly one-third (32 percent) of these parents neglect to enforce basic home safety rules, and more than three-quarters (79 percent) admit to distracted behaviors while driving other children – from talking on the phone to speeding.

The Liberty Mutual study suggests that parents of young children do not fully understand their auto or home insurance coverage and may be at more risk than they realize. More than one-third of those with auto insurance, and nearly half of those with home or renters insurance report they are unaware of their liability coverage if someone is injured in their vehicle or home. In addition, only 12 percent of parents surveyed have an umbrella policy, which provides liability coverage in excess of standard home and auto policies.

“Our study reveals that many parents may not realize that everyday activities, like carpooling and play dates, may require a closer look at their coverage and where they may be vulnerable,” said Ty Harris, executive vice president and chief product officer at Liberty Mutual Insurance. “Understanding your coverage and ensuring enough liability protection is included in your policy is essential to protect your family and your future.”

Parents Engage in Risky Behaviors, Even When Driving Others’ Children

Not only are parents unsure of potential liability, but they also seem to ignore important safety measures that can help mitigate the risk of injury and liability. According to surveyed parents, safety precautions in the car are not always followed. While 65 percent of parents who have recently driven others’ children believe that they drive more safely when other children are in the car, they still admit to engaging in distracted and dangerous behaviors.

Percentage of parents who engage in distracted behaviors while driving others’ children

  • Talking on a cell phone 42 percent;
  • Eating or drinking (non-alcoholic beverages) 42 percent;
  • Speeding 22 percent;
  • Texting 10 percent.

When it comes to car seats, an alarming 20 percent of parents who drive other children admit to not having proper car seats for all children in the vehicle. And while nearly all parents report that they adhere to car seat regulations, more than a quarter are not very familiar with those regulations, suggesting younger passengers may not be as safe as parents assume.

Parents Must Review Basic Home Safety Rules

Similar basic safety rules apply in the home. Despite more than two-thirds of parents reporting that they have safeguarded their homes against potential dangers, many overlook essential safety precautions.

Percentage of homes where dangerous materials exist and are NOT properly protected (e.g., locked up or fenced in)
  • Poisonous chemicals 57 percent
  • Prescription medication 53 percent
  • Pool or hot tub 50 percent
  • Fireplace and/or fire pits 48 percent
  • Breakables or sharp objects 37 percent
In addition, 31 percent of parents are not aware of allergies of the children they care for. These statistics are especially concerning; since, including their own kids, a majority of parents (82 percent) who host may have up to four children in their home. Safeguarding the home may be as simple as keeping dangerous materials locked up, or breakable items out of children’s reach.


About the Study

Liberty Mutual commissioned ORC International to conduct an online survey of 1,000 parents with children from ages five to 12. These parents were all identified as the household’s primary/shared insurance decision-maker. The overall sample can be interpreted at a 95 percent confidence interval with a margin error of +/- 2.94 percent.


Source: Liberty Mutual Insurance

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