Monthly Archives: November 2011

5 Holiday Disasters Your Homeowner’s Insurance Will Cover

Every family has a holiday disaster that is terrible the first year, but as the years go on, retelling the story becomes a part of family tradition. Insurance isn’t festive, but it can come to the rescue of your festivities.

1. If you poison someone at dinner, the liability portion of your home insurance is there for you.This one is based on a true story; one year when we were up north for the holidays, we went to eat at Uncle Bill’s house for the big meal. As he always had, Uncle Bill stored the turkey outside on the porch until it was time to cook. However, that year there was an unnaturally warm afternoon, and the turkey thawed quickly and then froze again that evening. When the turkey was cooked and served, everyone (except for Uncle Bill) ended up in the hospital with food poisoning. That year we only had family members in attendance, and no one filed suit. However, if someone had decided to sue, the liability portion of his insurance would have covered him.

 

This is a bad idea.
This is a bad idea.

2. If someone steals the presents you have in your back seat, the “personal property off premises” coverage of your home insurance will cover you.
First, if you are shopping for gifts and making multiple stops, be sure to keep all of your purchases in the trunk of your car. However, if you drive an SUV, that’s obviously not an option. Unfortunately the holidays don’t just bring out the good in people, they also present an opportunity for thieving scumbags to break your window and steal all of the presents you have purchased. If that were to happen, those gifts would be covered by your home insurance (or renters insurance if you don’t own a home). I would still bring along a blanket to keep your purchases away from prying eyes, but your insurance is there for you should something terrible happen.

There are few worse feelings.

3. If your tree burns down your house, you are covered.Once again, I’m going to first give you some good advice; water your tree, check the wires on your lights for shorts, and never go old school on your tree by using candles for light. Sometimes however, even if you follow my advice, bad things can happen. If the worst happens and your tree catches fire, your home insurance is there for you with fire coverage – and if your house is burned, you will need a place to celebrate that doesn’t stink of smoke and firemen’s sweat. That’s where the additional living expense coverage comes in; you will obviously need a place to live while your home is being repaired. You won’t be celebrating at home, but you also won’t have to impose on Uncle Bill (and risk that turkey dinner).

Super Hardcore!
Super Hardcore!

4. If your party gets too rambunctious and someone gets hurt, you are covered.We have all been there; the party is bumping, the rug is rolled up, people are dancing, and then a scream as Aunt Josehine sprains her ankle and hits the floor. Luckily for you, your homeowner’s insurance includes “medical payments” coverage so you can rush her to the emergency room. The minimum coverage is $500, but more can be purchased if you are so inclined. I would certainly purchase more if you throw lots of parties – and if you have elderly aunts who like to cut a rug.

She will hit on your son’s roommate too.

5. That new car you put a bow on is automatically covered.This one isn’t actually covered on your homeowner’s insurance, but it is covered by your auto insurance. When you purchase a new vehicle, your auto insurance automatically extends to the new vehicle for 30 days. That way you don’t have to risk spoiling the surprise by adding the car in advance of giving it to the giftee. This coverage extension isn’t here just to prevent spoiling surprises, it’s to ensure that your new purchase is covered until you can get hold of your agent. This 30 day courtesy extension doesn’t just happen during the holidays either, it is available to protect you year round.

Nice choice. This IS a good idea.

These are just five ways your homeowner’s (and auto) insurance protects you against disaster during the holidays. Obviously no one wants to rely on their insurance to save the holiday, but it is nice to know it’s there if a disaster should try to ruin the season. Here at The Phoenix, we wish you a very happy holiday, and hope that you don’t have to make a claim this time of year – but if you need to, we are here to help!

5 Things You Didn’t Know Homeowners Insurance Could Cover.

Everyone knows that your homeowners insurance covers things like hail damage (mostly that here in Dallas) and fire, and theft. However, your homeowners insurance often covers much more than you think.

1. Identity theft coverage. Most people don’t know that their homeowners insurance can cover for identity thieving scumbags. Some companies’ packages come with up to $25,000 in coverage against false charges on your credit cards. Generally you don’t pay anything extra for this, as it is part the base coverage package that they put together for you.

This is just a dumb image, but how do you show identity theft?

2. Coverage for a grave marker. Tombstones are not only a little depressing to buy, but they are also very pricey. Most people invest that money when they are alive, and then they spend the rest of their lives hoping that their stone doesn’t get hit by lightning or backed over by a drunken hearse driver. Certain home insurance policies come with up to $5000 in tombstone coverage at no additional cost.

See what I did there?

3. Land Stabilization. Sometimes, like when the residents gain too much weight, the land under a house can become unstable. Some homeowners policies will cover for land stabilization when the instability is caused by a loss covered on the homeowners policy. Once again, this is a coverage that doesn’t cost you a dime, but is available to you should you need it.

4. Appliance breakage. This is a fairly new offering from insurance companies, but it can be a valuable one. This is a fairly inexpensive option on most policies, and is be a very worthwhile investment, especially if you have “vintage” appliances. For a fairly small deductible your dishwasher, fridge, washing machine, and other appliances can be covered against breakage. Against just plain wearing out, if you will.

This isn't going to be good for dog or dishwasher

5. Kidnap and ransom coverage. I have this coverage on my policy because I spend a lot of time flashing my bankroll at pool halls and telling folks that my parents are even richer than I am. That’s not true, but I like to live on the edge – and I have good homeowners insurance with ransom coverage. If they decide to just rob and murder me, my homeowner’s insurance won’t do me any good. If they kidnap me, I’m covered up to $50,000. Not too bad for the price – $0!

This has not gone the direction I thought it would.

The big home insurance package that you get in the mail goes over all of the coverage you purchased, but it’s always better to know what you are getting before you purchase; most of these coverages are freebies on “deluxe” homeowners policies – but you may not even want (or need) the deluxe coverage in the first place. Talk to your agent and really get to understand the policy that you are buying. Then make sure you have kidnap coverage and meet me at the pool hall – I hear there is a dice game starting at midnight.

Crazy Clown Good Advice About Homeowner’s Insurance in Dallas

It’s best to know what kind of insurance is available to you; many policies have coverage you may not know are there, but that are valuable. Likewise, many policies are loaded up with coverage that you may not ever need, but are still paying for. Don’t be held captive by your insurance company. Knowledge is power.