Does building a backyard skating rink affect home insurance?

A backyard skating rink is a great Canadian tradition and enjoyed by many families across the country, maybe even more so during a pandemic. If you are enjoying a backyard DIY rink, it’s important to understand what is and isn't covered under your home insurance policy, and make sure you're protected in case anything goes wrong.

Building a rink on your property is a liability risk

A skating rink increases the chances of injury to someone on your property or it may cause damage to a neighbour’s property, not unlike a swimming pool.

What if someone slips and takes a bad fall? What if your kid shoots a hockey puck through a window and causes damage inside? Maybe someone sneaks into your yard for a late-night skate, you could still be considered responsible.

The reality is that scenarios like these can be a big headache if you end up on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Don't always assume your home insurance will have you covered, it might not.

What should I do?

Check with your broker to make sure you have enough 3rd-party liability coverage on your home insurance policy to protect you if you’re held liable for an injury or property damage. It may be recommended to increase your liability limit for this new risk. And, always make sure to look over the exclusions in your policy or check with a broker to find out if the rink is covered.

Set some rink rules

Accidents can happen, to help prevent injuries, make sure everyone using the skating rink knows the rules. This includes wearing helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads if necessary, and making sure young children are only allowed on the ice while supervised by an adult. 

Don't forget about property damage

Location matters, remember to consider where the water will go once the ice melts. Rapid melting could flood your yard, or even worse depending on location, flood your basement. Most home insurance policies cover water damage for things like a burst pipe or a malfunctioning appliance, but damage caused by a melting ice rink probably isn’t included.

Also consider the proximity of the skating rink to neighbouring properties. The last thing you want to happen is flooding your next door neighbour's basement or shattering their window from a wild slap shot!

And don't forget...

Insurance coverage shouldn't be your only concern when installing a backyard rink. You may want to reach out to your local officials and make sure there are no restrictions on where it can be installed, how long it can be used, and even how it's built and maintained.

If you’re planning on building a backyard skating rink, or have done so already, contact us today to make sure you're properly protected, or if any additional coverage is needed.