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Planning a Garage Sale?

September 14, 1997

Although a garage sale is a good way to earn extra money for those unwanted items in your home, it may turn into a potentially serious and damaging lawsuit if someone gets hurt while shopping on your property.

Before you plan your next garage sale, check your homeowners insurance policy or talk to your agent to makes sure you have liability protection. To determine whether you are adequately covered under your policy, the nonprofit Western Insurance Information Service has the following guidelines:

If your garage sale is a one-time event for the sole purpose of selling unwanted items, your homeowners policy will provide liability coverage.

If your garage sale is a regular money-making event, your homeowners policy may not apply. Because this is a business pursuit, you may need to purchase additional coverage.

If you and your neighbors are planning a neighborhood yard or garage sale and plan to make a profit, then you may not be covered. However, if this event is used to raise money for a charitable organization and you do not expect to receive any money, the yard sale may be covered under the homeowners policy.

If your garage sale is being sponsored by an organization with the intent to make a profit, you must first check the liability coverage of the organization. For example, a church is likely to be covered under its insurance policy. However, smaller and less formal organizations may not be covered.

The Western Insurance Information Service is an nonprofit, non-lobbying consumer education organization serving 10 western states since 1952.

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