Lawn Darts and Insurance

Thanks to Robert Hruzek of Middle Zone Musings for today's interesting challenge that sent me down memory lane.

I haven't thought of lawn darts in years! I remember these things being quite popular when I was a kid. We played almost daily during the summer in the community where my family had our cottage. In fact, our cottage had a lovely flat clay plain out behind the shady trees in our backyard, that made a perfect surface for playing lawn darts on. I can see a lazy warm evening with parents and kids from the neighbourhood, all gathered out in the back, some sipping drinks and others playing darts with the spectators cheering on the team of their choice.

Now, you might not be familiar with lawn darts. If not, you have good reason: they've been banned in the US since 1988. In fact, the game I remember so foundly has been the cause of death for 4 children in the States, the most recent being in 1997.

Why? The silly things have a lovely metal point on them, to help them stick in the ground with the dart pointing up out of the soil. A lawn dart looks just like the dart you use on Tuesday night at the local pub, but with a bigger metal point, not quite as sharp. It's capable of inflicting a nasty injury.

I remember one of the kids in our group getting a lawn dart in the foot. It quickly took the fun out of the game. In fact, we stopped playing lawn darts soon after.

Lawn darts remain legal in some countries, so you could come across these beauties. If you are tempted to buy them, you might want to reconsider. Again, we are in the playing field of liability. What if someone was seriously injured by a lawn dart? What if someone is killed? You better have your liability insurance in place.

However, that won't help you in the US. Once an item has been banned for sale, or otherwise deemed excessively dangerous, your insurance policy may actually exclude coverage for injuries caused by that item. Check your policy carefully for exclusions.

Don't think that you are safe just because your current policy doesn't have an exclusion for outdoor recreational equipment of this type. Trampolines have become the latest victims of the insurance industry's need to reduce risk on homeowners policies. In some cases, insurers are now cancelling coverage outright if you get an outdoor trampoline.

Have I got you thinking liability again? If you need liability, you can check out some of our sponsors who provide this kind of coverage. But don't expect a policy for your amateur lawn dart competition.

Monique L. Attinger
Posted by on January 25,2007 at 10:53 AM
We have indeed lost the pleasures of lawn darts. However, as long as we live in a society where someone will sue me into financial oblivion over even the smallest injuries, I will likely forego the pleasure...
Posted by Robert Hruzek on January 25,2007 at 10:37 AM
Monique, thanks for the tip (and the link!)
Posted by Studawg on January 25,2007 at 10:20 AM
I also have fond memories of playing lawn darts. Sadly they have become another victim of the cotton wool society we live in.
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