How Working Out at Home Could Cost You a Bundle

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Let’s face it, those Christmas cookies, egg nog, bread pudding and turkeys we ate over the holidays were delicious. But all the rich, buttery and sugary goodies that left your taste buds feeling oh, so happy, probably left your diet wondering what the heck happened. And if you’re like most, you’ve vowed to snap out of the food frenzy by resolving to shape up in the new year (or am I the only one?)

I have a confession: I’m a wimp. And the combination of chilly weather and reduced daylight means long walks with the dog or an after-dinner run outdoors are out of the question until sometime mid-May. And I’ve never been one for public displays of physical strength or sweating. So to stick to my resolution, I’m taking my exercising efforts indoors, to the comforts of my spare room (aka treadmill room).

While working out at home certainly has its advantages (private showers and my own fresh, fluffy towels for starters), all that pumping up at home could lead to navigating a minefield of home insurance claims if you’re not careful. A study of British homeowners says 24 percent of those who’ve opted to exercise at home have caused damage to their home; nearly one fifth have had to file a health insurance claim for pulled muscles and/or broken bones.

Health insurance will likely cover the sprained ankle or broken wrist that results from an exercise-induced injury. Homeowners insurance is another story.

Damaging your personal property from tripping or falling in your home will probably not be covered by your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Most policy types for homeowners or renters insurance will only cover your personal property against “named hazards” like fire, theft, vandalism, etc.

The only hazard that could possibly be argued for coverage is the hazard of “Falling Objects” but since the roof or outside wall must be damaged first, and then fall on you, there are very, very few potential exercise-related claims that would be covered,” says Jonathan Peele, president, Coastline Insurance in Southport, NC. “If you decide to workout in your home, make sure you give yourself plenty of space. Try to avoid trip and fall hazards and stay far away from any expensive items.”

If at-home exercising is still on your radar, beware of these common home work out faux pas that had lead scores of exercisers before you holding the workout bag of costly repair or medical bills.

Flubbed floors
Dropping a dumbbell on your brand new hardwood or ceramic tile floor could leave an unsightly crack, gouge or dent. And as I once learned, running on a treadmill could cause it to ‘inch’ along a smooth surface and leave irreparable scratches on a wood floor.

The fix: Exercise mats and temporary flooring is an affordable option to protect your floors. Available at a Walmart, Target and sporting goods stores, mats and flooring run anywhere from $19 to $100 or more. But that price tag is still smaller than the cost to replace all, or a section, of your floor. Trust me!

Shattered windows
Mom always said not to play ball in the house. And the same advice could be said for exercising in the house, too. If a resistance band snaps the wrong way or you accidentally kick a shoe off while Zumba-ing or doing other aerobic moves in the house, your window could end up shattered.

The fix: Develop an equipment checklist you review before each and every work out. It sounds simple, but little things like making sure your shoes’ laces are up to snuff can prevent your shoe from hurling through the air and crashing through your picture window.

Heavy structural damage
Heavy bags are a popular part of kickboxing and other fitness routines. But with the word “heavy” in the name, it’s no surprise that hanging a bag in the wrong place can lead to the sky falling.

Days after her son hung a heavy bag on the ceiling of the basement, Diana Turner awoke to a crash in the middle of the night. “The bag ripped down a large portion of the ceiling. The joists were also damaged because they weren’t strong enough to take that kind of abuse.

The price tag for the repair: $3,700.

The fix: Train with a standing bag instead. They typically run $150 to $400 at most sporting goods stores. Or have a contractor inspect the area before hanging one to ensure the ceiling can bear the weight load.

Photo credit: Getty ThinkStock and iStock

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