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Summer hiking and camping season is here: Ohio officials share safety tips

Summer is a popular time of year to be out and about enjoying the state’s natural wonders, highlighted by the millions of visitors welcomed to Ohio State Parks.

To help keep everyone on the path for a good time, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz and Ohio Department of Insurance Director Judith L. French are sharing important things to know about safety and insurance.

“There’s adventure in every direction in the Buckeye State – whether people are looking for hiking, biking, fishing, boating, or camping – one of our 75 state parks has something for everyone,” Mertz said. “It is important that people take the proper precautions for whatever activity they choose and be prepared in case the trip does not go as planned.”

Outdoor experiences can quickly derail if other elements are uncooperative. A storm or rogue campfire can wreak havoc on an RV/camper, tent, and campsite items. Theft of expensive gear, equipment, and bikes and kayaks could occur. And injuries happen.

“Review your vehicle and property insurance policies and talk with your agent about the possessions you use outdoors and if they are insured,” French said. “Understand and be comfortable with your coverage amounts, coverage limitations, and the deductible levels. A deductible is the amount the policyholder pays before the insurance company pays its portion of an insured loss.”

Directors Mertz and French provided the following information:

Stay Safe

  • Bring sunscreen, a first aid kit, water, and food.
  • Hiking and biking off designated trails, participating in water activities without a life jacket, and leaving campfires unattended can lead to trouble. Call 911 for help in an emergency.
  • Secure your valuables.
  • Keep campfires as far away as possible from a tent, equipment, and natural surroundings.
  • Do not use fuel-burning supplies in enclosed areas.
  • Go to ohiodnr.gov for posted guidelines and check ODNR’s social media pages for any alerts or advisories.

Review Your Insurance

  • Different protections may be applicable across different types of insurance policies. This includes auto, homeowners, condo, and renters insurance and specialized insurance coverages for RVs, ATVs, and watercraft when it comes to outdoor gear and equipment, watercraft, and vehicles.
  • Review your policies and discuss coverage approaches with an insurance agent. Shop around and compare coverage options.
  • Review your liability insurance, which can provide protection if you cause damage or injury, and evaluate umbrella coverage for greater financial protection.
  • Keep your insurance information with you. Immediately contact your insurance company or agent if an insurance situation arises.
  • If you suffer an injury and are worried about being out of your health plan’s medical provider network, new laws protect patients from receiving and paying surprise medical bills above the patient’s in-network rate from health care providers for emergency care or, in certain circumstances, unanticipated out-of-network care.

More InformationOhio State Parks information is available on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website, ohiodnr.gov, and the agency’s social media pages. If you have insurance questions and complaints, contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 800-686-1526, consumer.complaint@insurance.ohio.gov,

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