The Five-Second Rules, and Liability Insurance Information

Eat and Enjoy: The Five-Second Rule Rules

You’re at the cafeteria about to take the last bite of your homemade chocolate chip muffin, but you drop it on the floor. Relax and enjoy: research out of UK-based Aston University supports the five-second rule, suggesting it may be okay for us to consume food that’s been dropped on the floor, providing it goes from floor to mouth in five seconds or less. Researchers tested a variety of foods and investigated the levels of bacteria contracted after 3 to 30 seconds on different types of flooring. The findings? Certain floors and certain types of food transfer bacteria more readily: Carpeting is least likely to pass on bacteria, and tiled surfaces, most likely. Not surprisingly, moist foods picked up more bacteria when they came in contact with the floor than their dry counterparts. If you picked up and ate that last piece of muffin, you’re not alone. The study found that 87 percent of people polled happily ate food they’d dropped on the floor. So, while science hasn’t necessarily proven the five-second rule is totally safe (the study still has to be peer-reviewed), it’s sounding good. But there is one exception: if your piece of muffin is covered in grime, skip that last mouthful and bake another batch.

This Month’s Smile: Signs

Signs can be a great source of humor, intended or unintended. Take these real signs posted by food-related businesses: One grocery store’s frozen food section is marked by this unusual sign: A hand-drawn picture of a grumpy cat and written underneath are the words: FROZEN…like my heart. You have to feel for the Japanese restaurant with violent customers. Their sign warns: No matter how angry you are, no flicking (sic) over tables. One Italian restaurant sold out to an esthetics clinic, which didn’t bother with a new sign. The clinic just added to the restaurant’s sign its own specialty, Laser Fat Removal. Too bad they didn’t partner up. Another had a sign outside with a mention of the day’s special: Soup of the Day: The Tears of Our Enemies. Yum!

Vacant Land Needs Liability Insurance, Too

If you own vacant land, you may assume it doesn’t need insurance, but unfortunately, that’s not true. Vacant land can be a breeding ground for liability lawsuits. You’re responsible for what happens on your property, meaning any accidents to others could cause you big headaches. Although you’re not legally required to carry vacant land insurance, doing so will protect your other assets. If someone is hurt on your property, you could be sued. Vacant land insurance will help pay for injured parties’ medical expenses, legal expenses, and certain types of property damage.

Why do I need vacant land insurance? If you suspect trespassers may be using your land, you probably need it; if you permit people to use your land, and they pay you for the privilege, you’re liable for anything that may happen to them. Even if they don’t pay, you’re liable, but not to the same extent.

What can happen?

  • Hunters and fishermen pose heightened risks of injuries or fatal wounds. Even when it’s something that could be considered their fault, such as falling into a creek.
  • ATV accidents: There were 1,701 ATV rider deaths during a five-year study, conducted by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2013. One could have been on your land.
  • Hikers unfamiliar with the terrain can be injured, with resulting liability claims.

Protect your assets

Insuring land isn’t difficult, and it’s reasonably priced, especially if it’s an extension of homeowners or farmers liability policies. However, you may also need umbrella insurance, which will add liability coverage from $1 million to $5 million. If a lawsuit maxes out a homeowners or farmers policy liability limits, this coverage kicks in. To decide if you need vacant land insurance, consider your land’s current use and assess possible risks. Also, know your state’s landowner laws. Your agent will help you determine if and what coverage you may need.