Make Your Yard Sale Safe

Consumers wishing to obtain additional liability coverage can increase the amount of liability insurance on their home or apartment to $300,000 or $500,000. 

Those who need even more liability coverage in order to protect their assets can also consider purchasing an umbrella or excess liability policy.  These policies cost about $200 to $350 for each $1 million of additional liability protection, and there is a requirement that a certain amount of coverage already be in place - generally about $300,000.  Umbrella policies also provide broader coverage for claims involving libel and slander.

The Insurance Information Institute offers the following guidelines for yard-sale entrepreneurs:

One-time event: Yard sales that are one-time events for the sole purpose of selling unwanted personal items are generally covered under a standard homeowners or renters policy.  However, it is important to have enough coverage, so be sure to check with your insurance agent or company representative.

Frequent yard sales: If the property owner has frequent yard sales, it is a good idea to purchase a separate policy for business liability or an in-home business policy.  These policies are available from many homeowners insurance companies and specialty insurers that sell standalone in-home business policies.

Charity Fund Raiser: If the property owner is staging a sale to raise money for a charity, they will most likely be covered under the homeowners or renters insurance policy.  But they can also contact the charity to see what type of insurance protection they would be willing to extend if necessary.

In addition to checking insurance coverage, property owners or unit owners should plan the sale with safety in mind:

  • Repair loose railings and cracked concrete which may cause injuries.
  • Place sale items so that there is enough space to move about without tripping.
  • Avoid placing items too close to stairs and ledges where people could fall.
  • Do not sell items that you know are unsafe or hazardous.